Homer Simpson vs Pierre de Fermat, and Andrew Wiles

New video today from Numberphile:

Published on Sep 29, 2013
Author Simon Singh on Fermat's Last Theorem in popular culture, especially The Simpsons.

If you're a Simpson's fan, and you're not sure about being a Maths fan, watch this video.

Then, in the best "if you give a mouse a cookie" mode, you'll want to investigate Fermat's Last Theorem itself, to see what Simon Singh is talking about.

Uploaded on Jan 24, 2011
BBC Horizon programme. Simon Singh's moving documentary of Andrew Wiles' extraordinary search for the most elusive proof in number theory.

(You can read about the Theorem, too, on Wikipedia and on the Wolfram Mathworld site.)

Thank you Simon (and Homer) for pushing me to watch the second video (Fermat's Last Theorem) all the way through. 

It isn't a video I would have chosen to watch from a YouTube list without the Homer Simpson link. I urge you to watch it, too. all the way through.  In it, you'll see all sorts of amazing learning, teaching, sharing, understanding - in short, most of the IB Learner Profile in action - and, oh yes, some very interesting mathematics (and a superb example of digital storytelling)!

Maps & Mapping, Time and Place

It seems as though every teacher I know is heading into a unit of inquiry which at least touches on maps, if it's not totally focused on maps and mapping, or geography in general. I've been looking for resources for various ages and approaches, and have tried to pull them together here because of  Richard Byrne, who posted recently about 3 excellent sites for finding historic maps: The amazing David Rumsey Historical Collection, Old Maps Online, and Historic Map Works.  (Click through to Richard's post to read about each of these sites.)  

Historic Map Works is not as visually exciting as the other two, when you first open the page, but if you click on "Browse", choose an area, and then choose "Gallery View", you will find a lot to explore visually (which may be useful if you don't know what you're looking for by name)!

Screen shot of http://www.historicmapworks.com/Browse/antique.php?c=World

Our Primary classes looking at "Here and There" have used this wiki as a resource. Last time it was used, the central idea was "Maps are visual representations of place and help us locate where we are in relation to other places." and the lines of inquiry were:
  • How we create maps and share information
  • Maps of place through time
  • The relationship of our location to other parts of the world
A wiki for a Year 9 MYP Humanities unit, "Renaissance, Exploraion and Wealth" includes some maps for study, 14th century maps, and resources about map making.  Another wiki for a DP HL History Route 1  (Medieval History) course has a map page.

There's a YouTube playlist for Mapping our World,  Pinterest Boards Maps and Mapping and Maps for Swiss History.

All the mapping websites used in our various wikis, sites, blogs, etc., are bookmarked to this list on Diigo.

One of the aspects of collecting, or curating these resources which continually fascinates me is the many ways they can be shared, for different purposes and different audiences. We try to present them as text, as image, as video when possible, and to find resources for different levels of understanding, as well as language use.

The History of Reading and the Literate Life

Having to do with International Literacy Day, I share this TEDc talk with you, well worth your consideration.

Professor Seth Lerer is Dean of Arts and Humanities and Distinguished Professor of Literature at the University of California at San Diego. He had previously...

You'll find a quick biography of Prof. Lerer's on his Wikipedia page, and a full list of his published work on his UCSD website.

An interesting man, with interesting ideas. Here's an older video of an interview with him:

Uploaded on Apr 9, 2007
An interview with Stanford Professor Seth Lerer, discussing his new book, Inventing English.

Search for "Seth Lerer" on YouTube, and you'll find many interesting videos.
Here's one more:

Published on May 10, 2012
(Visit: http://www.uctv.tv/ ) Seth Lerer, the dean of Arts and Humanities at UC San Diego, presents how language, the written word and the recognition of the passage of time have led to the modern conception of self and the individual in this series exploring what it means to be human. Lerer's lecture is part of the "To Be Human" series sponsored by the Making of the Modern World program at Eleanor Roosevelt College at UC San Diego.

Prof. Lerer is introduced at 5:12, and begins to speak at 8:21