Today’s class opener features the first of many times I hope to expose my classes to the rich site MathMunch. In this week’s post, the site discusses Alex Bellos’ “Favorite Number” survery, and my classes participated by sharing their favorites on a combined dot plot. Before showing the video below, I asked my classes why they felt certain numbers would be deemed “favorites”, while others may not feel the love. The class agreed that 7 would probably be the most popular overall, with one astute observation that 7 tends to provide an anchor to interesting lists: 7 days, 7 seas, etc, and seems to have some interesting mathematical properties – like its primeness.
The students had many reasons for having a favorite number:
It’s what I wear for sports.
It’s my birthdate.
My favorite multiplication fact when I was little was 8 x 9 = 72, so 8972 is my favorite number. My dad played it in the lottery once and I won $200
In the same post, the Math Munch gang expresses appreciation for Bellos’ book The Grapes of Math. So, what’s on your math classroom bookshelf? Here are some favorites I keep around for stories, and for students to check out after assessments:
Outliers – by Malcolm Gladwell
Journey Through Genius – by William Dunham
The Wisdom of Crowds – by James Surowiecki
In Code – by Sarah Flannery
Count Down – by Steve Olson