Weekly Math Updates

December 13, 2006


  • Oak Duke Norton IV
  • Community Councils Making an Impact
  • Investigations Math Question of the Week
  • Robotics Software
  • Research Channel
  • Media Articles
  • In God We Trust Donations
  • Weekly Comic

Oak Duke Norton IV

It's a good thing the math fight is mostly over, Oak the 4th was born very early Monday morning deciding to jump the gun on his schedule inducement and arriving just after 2 am. I guess all I can say is he's the spitting image of his father...at least in this first photo.

Baby picture
Baby picture 2 (I think he could win a Larry Miller look-alike contest)

If you're unfamiliar with the origin of the Oak name and have wondered how someone ends up with a name like that,, feel free to check out the story: http://www.oaknorton.com/oaknorton.cfm

Community Councils Making an Impact

I just wanted to thank those of you that got onto your school community councils. You are making an impact. This week I spoke with a member of the ASD district community council (I don't know how one gets on that committee but it functions as some type of parent board I guess similar to the local school councils) and recommended on behalf of our local school council that Singapore math be one of the two options for the district to offer in the Spring. He told me he's heard this from other councils as well and will recommend it to ASD. Therefore, I highly encourage you to discuss in your community council meetings, suggesting to the district that they offer Singapore math in the Spring, and then contact your school's district community council member to have him/her make that suggestion to the district. The more positive talk about the program being desired in the community the better.

Investigations Math Question of the Week

Last Friday night, the firm I work for, Gregory & Swapp, had our Christmas party. Part of the evening was a visit from Santa Claus passing out presents. Before I received a "Math Investigations" book (actually unrelated to Investigations Math), I was required to answer the following "Investigations" type question:

“Mr. Sky has one rainbow, eleven clouds and a blanket of evil smog from polluting nuclear power plants. If Puff the Magic Dragon blows away seven pretty clouds, how does this impact global warming caused by the administration of George W. Bush?”

Robotics Software

I've always been fascinated by robotics ever since buying the game Robot Battle for my TRS-80 Color computer about 480 years ago. In that game you would program your robot in a scripting language and then your opponent (computer or human) would do the same and then you'd release your robots into the arena to do battle. It was good clean fun. Today's simulations have gone way beyond that. Most of you have probably seen the $200 LEGO construction set you can get that interfaces with a computer. I've never bought it but it sure looks cool. This morning I discovered Microsoft has actually released a free kit to learn to program robotics. Of course I haven't tried it yet, but it sounds worth exploring. Here's a link to the article I saw and then a link to Microsoft's site to check it out. (I think Microsoft's software will integrate with the LEGO kit as well)


http://msdn.microsoft.com/robotics/getstarted/simulation/default.aspx (there's a few screenshots at the bottom)

For another program that has had really high marks, check out Mindrover. This game has been highly touted by gaming sites and really looks polished. It appears that this software can be integrated with the LEGO system too. Download the free demo to check it out.

http://www.mindrover.com/mindrover/freeze.htm (screenshots)

http://www.mindrover.com/index.html (click logos for reviews)

Research Channel

This is kind of like YouTube for Discovery Channel fans. Over 3,000 programs you can watch anytime on a wide variety of subjects. From America's Crayfish to the International Space Station, you can find lots of cool education programs here.


Media Articles

Sorry, Kids, Piano Lessons Make You Smarter
We've all heard about these studies for a long time, but I thought I'd send this out just FYI and to archive it on my site.

In God We Trust Donations

I'd like to thank those of you that donated last week. We had a few donations and one single donation from someone for $75 and I also had a potential offer for more if I would include an ad on my weekly email so the individual could write it off as advertising. I'm really hesitant to do that, but in the interest of doing the posters, anyone that has a business that will donate I'll put an ad at the top of my weekly email. Each $100 donation will get you one email advertisement.

I'm not planning on this being a long-term thing, just to help raise dollars for a very worthwhile cause, to put the national motto in every classroom in Alpine School District, including charter schools. I hope all of you would donate a few dollars and where possible, a little extra...like say $100 :). Someone also recommended contacting John Alexander (a state legislator that runs a printing shop) and he has given me a price quote that will be a bit better than $1500 and will include a custom design. We need about $1200 more to get the 3,000 posters which would accomodate all the classrooms. I really don't want to just purchase a smaller quantity of posters and then have to figure out which classrooms and schools to put them in. Please help make this happen over the entire school district. To donate, go here:


Weekly Comic

Archive: http://www.weaponsofmathdestruction.com

Till next week,

Oak Norton


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