I tend to tell stories when I teach. Most of the time, they are relevant to the topic at hand. As a seventh-grade teacher, I specialized in telling a story that ended with a mathematical twist, and I was particularly pleased with myself when students:
- didn’t see see it coming, and
- wanted to argue with each other right away about how the story was going to end
Ask my college students and they would likely recognize that aspect of my teaching, although I tone it down a bit for adults.
In the past six months, I have found a wealth of examples of amazing storytellers in mathematics. I met Dan Meyer and Karim Ani. Each of them uses the language of acts for describing lessons (although they don’t quite agree with each other on the meaning). And I (along with several hundred thousand others) discovered Vi Hart. Fabulous, smart mathematical storytellers; each and every one.
Out of this rich stew of stories comes the following. It’s the first of several I’ve got brewing. Help me make them better, will you?
UPDATE: In response to initial feedback in the comments, I revised the original video and posted it above. Two changes: (1) Sloppy audio levels were fixed (this is embarrassingly easy to do in iMovie), and (2) The video ends with the two pricetags sharing screen space-for easy reference. I’m unsure whether the second change is an improvement. See comments below.