Monday, April 23, 2007

Part of a Well-Rounded Education

I seem to have picked up an independent study student from among the gen-ed students. (He wants to continue this in the fall, so I made him officially sign up for credit under one of our placeholder course numbers.) What this means so far this semester is that he stops by my office for an hour once a week, and I show him something mathematical that he's never seen before. So far we've done modular arithmetic, we've written out the group multiplication tables for S3 and D4, and looked at Efron's dice.

Today I planned to do an activity on paper-cutting that's a variation on some of the Möbius strip activities (this involved taping together twisted pieces of paper with genus and cutting around the holes, sorta-kinda) and then to fill in any time at the end of the hour with some map-coloring problems.

Well, yes, we did all that. But not before I somehow got talked into teaching him how to use a butter knife to open a spring lock that has a lot of space between the door and the strike plate.