Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.

Edsger Dijkstra

This page contains links to “cool stuff” that we have come across. We hope you like it.

The Cold Hard Truth about School Math | Jennifer Szydlik | TEDxOshkosh

School math is a ruthless and ineffectual substitute for the real thing. Students often experience “math as a race” where quick memorization of tools pays dividends and powerful and authentic mathematical behaviors are marginalized – along with the students themselves. Jennifer Earles Szydlik is a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, where she specializes in preparing future teachers and studies students’ beliefs about the nature of mathematics. She earned her Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of Wisconsin – Madison with a specialty in mathematics education. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.

Math Bites Goes Binary

Zoombinis – an awesome game.

Math Class Imagined by Kids (Humor)

Pixel-based Construction Ideas

To Live Your Best Life, Do Mathematics – Math conferences don’t usually feature standing ovations, but Francis Su received one last month in Atlanta. Su, a mathematician at Harvey Mudd College in California and the outgoing president of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), delivered an emotional farewell address at the Joint Mathematics Meetings of the MAA and the American Mathematical Society in which he challenged the mathematical community to be more inclusive.

The “mathemusician” Vi Hart

Building a future in science with construction-based toys. Childhood play experiences strongly shape a person’s spatial skills, according to a new CIRES-led study — those skills can be critical to success in fields like science and engineering. Young adults who played with construction-based toys such as Legos, or with certain types of video games outperformed other peers in tests of spatial reasoning — like the skill needed to mentally rotate objects. And most notably, the new research found that gender differences in spatial skills disappear when the researchers considered the impact of childhood play.

The Rubik’s cube is an excellent puzzle for exercising your algorithmic memory and spatial skills. There are a variety of approaches that can be used to solve the cube. A link to an excellent instructional video can be found here.

CodeGirl – a movie.
Join high school-aged girls from around the world as they try to better their community through technology and collaboration in this thrilling, heartfelt documentary.

By 2017, the app market will be valued at $77 Billion. Over 80% of these developers are male. The Technovation Challenge aims to change that by empowering girls worldwide to develop apps for an international competition. From rural Moldova to urban Brazil to suburban Massachusetts, CODEGIRL follows teams who dream of holding their own in the world’s fastest-growing industry. The winning team gets $10K to complete and release their app, but every girl discovers something valuable along the way.

The Art of the Brick – THE ART OF THE BRICK is a global touring exhibition rated by CNN as one of the world’s “Must See Exhibitions.” These are the first art exhibitions to focus exclusively on the use of LEGO® bricks as an art medium and artist Nathan Sawaya has taken it to new heights.

The Open University – A wonderful series of videos about coding.

Logic Puzzles

The Story of Maths – The Language of the Universe.

In this opening programme Marcus du Sautoy looks at how important and fundamental mathematics is to our lives before looking at the mathematics of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Greece. Du Sautoy commences in Egypt where recording the patterns of the seasons and in particular the flooding of the Nile was essential to their economy. There was a need to solve practical problems such as land area for taxation purposes. Du Sautoy discovers the use of a decimal system based on the fingers on the hands, the unusual method for multiplication and division. He examines the Rhind Papyrus, the Moscow Papyrus and explores their understanding of binary numbers, fractions and solid shapes. He then travels to Babylon and discovered that the way we tell the time today is based on the Babylonian 60 base number system. So because of the Babylonians we have 60 seconds in a minute, and 60 minutes in an hour. He then shows how the Babylonians used quadratic equations to measure their land. He deals briefly with Plimpton 322. In Greece, the home of ancient Greek mathematics, he looks at the contributions of some of its greatest and well known mathematicians including Pythagoras, Plato, Euclid, and Archimedes, who are some of the people who are credited with beginning the transformation of mathematics from a tool for counting into the analytical subject we know today. A controversial figure, Pythagoras’ teachings were considered suspect and his followers seen as social outcasts and a little be strange and not in the norm. There is a legend going around that one of his followers, Hippasus, was drowned when he announced his discovery of irrational numbers. As well as his work on the properties of right angled triangles, Pythagoras developed another important theory after observing musical instruments. He discovered that the intervals between harmonious musical notes are always in whole number intervals. It deals briefly with Hypatia of Alexandria.

Fractals – Hunting The Hidden Dimension

The Beautiful Math of Coral

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage – a graphic novel.
Meet Victorian London’s most dynamic duo: Charles Babbage, the unrealized inventor of the computer, and his accomplice, Ada, Countess of Lovelace, the peculiar protoprogrammer and daughter of Lord Byron. When Lovelace translated a description of Babbage’s plans for an enormous mechanical calculating machine in 1842, she added annotations three times longer than the original work. Her footnotes contained the first appearance of the general computing theory, a hundred years before an actual computer was built. Sadly, Lovelace died of cancer a decade after publishing the paper, and Babbage never built any of his machines.But do not despair! The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage presents a rollicking alternate reality in which Lovelace and Babbage do build the Difference Engine and then use it to build runaway economic models, battle the scourge of spelling errors, explore the wilder realms of mathematics, and, of course, fight crime-for the sake of both London and science. Complete with extensive footnotes that rival those penned by Lovelace herself, historical curiosities, and never-before-seen diagrams of Babbage’s mechanical, steam-powered computer, The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage is wonderfully whimsical, utterly unusual, and, above all, entirely irresistible.

Note: If you like this you might want to try the Bricklayer Level_3 special project on Weaving.