2013 Winterim: Fantastic Fractals

I had a small but talented group of students in my Fractals & Chaos mini-course this year. They used Fractal Explorer, Apophysis, Winfeed, and Chaoscope to create their final projects, which are displayed below. Enjoy!



A Benefit Of Flipped Classes

Last night, we had a massive storm system pass through Nashville, and it knocked out the power at my school. Initially, the administration planned on a 10:00 am opening with shortened blocks. By 9:30 the power was still not restored, so classes were cancelled for the entire day.

For me and my students, this was not a problem. I had uploaded screencasts covering content for all of my courses for the next two weeks. I simply emailed my students and told them to work on the problems that I had assigned for today, then watch the next screencast. They will come to school tomorrow ready to work on the scheduled assignment, as if we had never missed a day of school. I’ll answer any questions on the problems they worked on at home, but we should stay on track with the syllabus.

It is so easy to record a screencast now (www.screencast-o-matic.com), or create an asynchronous dialogue with your students (www.voicethread.com), there is no excuse for any class to fall behind a scheduled syllabus. Embrace the tools available, and be the most effective teacher you can be, even if classes are cancelled!

2013 Winterim: Light, Math & Color

I taught another three-week stained-glass mini-course this year. After my students learn the basic technique of copper-foil stained glass windows, they research a math topic, write a paper on it, and illustrate it with a window of their own design. Topics this year included systems of inequalities, the Fibonacci Sequence, corresponding angles formed by two lines and a transversal, the Four-Color Theorem, and the Pythagorean Theorem among others.

Here’s a gallery of their finished windows:

Using MathType With WordPress

\displaystyle\frac{\Delta y}{\Delta x}=\frac{2{{x}^{3}}-3x}{\sqrt{x-3}}

Only a geek would get excited about this, but ever since I started this blog, I’ve been frustrated with my inability to paste equations and expressions I create with MathType into WordPress. Today, I finally learned how to do it (thanks to the Design Science site).

Step 1: In MathType, go to “Preferences”, and choose “Cut and Copy Preferences….”:


Step 2: In the popup window, click on “Equation for application or website:”, and in the dropdown menu select “WordPress”:


Step 3: Create your mathematical expression, copy it, and paste it into WordPress. It will look like a string of text characters beginning with “$latex”, but if you preview your post you will see that it is displayed as a mathematical expression!

A couple of tips:

If you use MathType a lot with other applications (Word, in particular) don’t forget to go back to “Preferences/Cut and Copy Preferences…” and change it back to “Equation object (Windows OLE graphic)”.

If your expression is rational, it may appear small. To correct that, insert “\displaystyle\” after “$latex”:


\displaystyle\underset{x\to 0}{\mathop{\lim }}\,\frac{\sin x}{x}=1