Friday, February 25, 2005

Lies My Textbook Told Me

Today's topic in my gen-ed class is the Golden Ratio, a topic often used to relate math to real life. The text goes on at length about the amazing properties of this number and its ubiquity. While it does hold back on some of the most fantastic claims, it doesn't really question them, either.

Which is a shame, as much of the folklore appears to be untrue (pdf).

So today in class I had my students use Markowsky's data to examine the claims made in the book. Last week I told them that they shouldn't trust everything I say; today I taught them that they shouldn't always trust the textbook, either.