Tag: mathnasium of west knoxville

Ate A Bite Of Pie

By Mike O’Hern, Center Director of Mathnasium of West Knoxville

 

 

My dad was a really funny guy with a quick wit and dry sense of humor.  But he also loved the groaners.  You know, the old joke that made you groan because it was so corny.  For example, he’d say that he used to be in a fraternity: Eta Bita Pi.  That one came to mind because I was helping a high-schooler with trig and they seem to find that one humorous, and I can’t really think of anything else about trig that’s humorous. Read more →

Figuring How To Get There From Here

By Mike O’Hern, Center Director of Mathnasium of West Knoxville

 

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Have you ever tried to wrap your head around something that just doesn’t seem possible, but it is?  I remember a couple of summers ago fighting with what’s referred to as “The Monty Hall Problem” until it seemed like I was going to go nuts.  Since I don’t want you to go nuts, I won’t go into it here. Maybe in the future, I’ll feel a little less magnanimous and tell you anyway. Read more →

Cracking The Algebra Nut

By Mike O’Hern, Center Director of Mathnasium of West Knoxville

 

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My students think I work for peanuts.  Literally.  Lately I’ve begun the habit of having peanuts for a snack in the afternoon, and I guess I’m the type to become somewhat predictable because at around 3:50 or so some of them will start saying, “it’s almost time for your four o’clock peanuts!” Read more →

Gauss Who’s Coming To Dinner

By Mike O’Hern, Center Director of Mathnasium of West Knoxville

 

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Don’t you love it when you learn something new?  I was reading a book about math… “Wait.  Stop there,” you say.  “Are you really that nerdy?”  The answer is a resounding NO.  My son gave it to me because I own a Mathnasium math learning center and thought I would get a kick out of it.  As it turns out, he was right.  “Wait.  Stop again,” you say.  “You’re really getting a kick out of a book about math.  You really are that nerdy!”  Okay, you win. Read more →

Holiday Calculations

By Mike O’Hern, Center Director of Mathnasium of West Knoxville

 

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With the holidays coming soon, I naturally start thinking about math.  No, not really.  I start thinking about the birth of Christ, love and charity, family and friends, and Santa Claus, just like you.  But in this space I’m all about the math, so let’s get to it. Read more →

One Way To Break A Tie

By Mike O’Hern, Center Director of Mathnasium of West Knoxville

 

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Last month at our math learning center we hosted the 5th Annual TriMathalon.  What an absolute ball we had.  It’s a math competition, but it’s also just a big, fun event for second through fifth grade kids and their families.  We had games, prizes, and, of course, pizza (I’m not sure one could call a gathering an “event” without pizza).  Like the name implies, the competition is broken into three separate events – The Counting Game, Magic Squares, and Mental Math. Read more →

An Event You Can Count On

By Mike O’Hern, Center Director of Mathnasium of West Knoxville

 

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used to travel quite a bit for business but always tried to be home for holidays, and Halloween was one that I never wanted to miss.  I loved walking my kids around the neighborhood to build a candy stash that was mountainous.  I will also have to admit to having levied what I called a “dad tax”. I got to loot the stash with impunity for having provided protective service on the T-or-T route. Read more →

The Power Of Negativity

By Mike O’Hern, Center Director of Mathnasium of West Knoxville

 

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Remember that stuff last month about exponents?  You might remember that we discovered that if you raise any number – any number at all – to the power of zero you end up with an answer of 1.  We arrived at that conclusion by doing a series of divisions, and I think I mentioned that if we continued on that path we might discover something about negative exponents. Read more →

You’ve Got The Power

By Mike O’Hern, Center Director of Mathnasium of West Knoxville

 

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If you’ve been reading my articles for any length of time, you’ll know that I’m not big on memorizing things, but would much rather understand them.  I don’t deny that to have “number facts” close at hand is a good thing for example.  Yet, rather than simply memorizing them, a student should understand how to arrive at them.  When the inevitable lapse of memory rears it’s head, we’re not stuck and can quickly arrive at the answer. Read more →

Who Put Letters In Math

By Mike O’Hern, Center Director of Mathnasium of West Knoxville

 

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I’m not one much for the “beauty” of math, per se.  Sure, I can certainly see where that idea comes from, but my mind is more like an engineer’s than a mathematician’s, so I’m more about the “utility” of math.  Which is why my mind was absolutely blown when I took calculus in college.  I was so excited because I could immediately see what a powerful tool it is for figuring out how things work and such.  You can build an airplane without it, but if you use it, you can optimize that airplane without a bunch of trial and error.  And while trial is fun, error isn’t so great with airplanes. Read more →