I'm usually pretty immune to this sort of thing. I don't want to dazzle my students with math. I want them to engage with math and sometimes the spectacle just intimidates them or makes math seem all the more foreign and unknowable.
Other times the spectacle is simply too spectacular not to share.
[Apologies for the repost. The original (reportedly) defected to Canada leaving me to reconstruct it from pieces. I would have let the post expire gracefully but the comments were — and I'm not kidding about this — eye-blisteringly incredible. Check them out.]
I teach Algebra 1 and Remedial Algebra 1, a schedule which offers me interesting contrasts and case studies daily. The remedial population, as you might expect, features more behavior problems, lower rates of attendance, higher mobility, higher incidence of poverty, weaker student skills, more individualized education plans on file with the district, and those students are more likely to have disliked math (or their math teacher) in the past. After three years of trial and error, I have found intermittently successful ways to remediate most of these issues.
The feature of this group that confounds me and defies my remediation is this: they are far less likely find our daily show and tell interesting than are their contemporaries in non-remedial Algebra.
What I'm saying is that, when I play, for example, this fantastic loop of time lapse photography, my Algebra 1 students sit a few millimeters closer to the edges of their seats and lean a few degrees closer to the screen than do my Remedial Algebra students. They call out observations and deconstruct the movie in ways the remedial classes do not anticipate. In general, they seem eager to engage the unknown whereas my Remedial Algebra students seem to prefer that the unknown stay unknown, that life's unturned rocks stay unturned.
Sorry if you already caught this off my tweet but these photos, like I told my students, are some of the most eerie, gorgeous media the Internet has passed my way all year.
That was my preface, but I didn't explain myself. I asked them to tell me what was so significant about the photo.
"Because they're hiding."
"Because they're on a train."
I asked them what the relationship was between those two girls.
"Mother and daughter."
I told them that the photo had rattled me so much because there is only one girl in that photo. Those two girls are the same person, separated by decades. The child grew into the adult who digitally inserted herself back into childhood portraits.
Watch this YouTube video, which is sweet and wistful all the way up until you realize it's selling flavored sugar water:
The question I asked my students was, "when did you realize it was selling you Coke?" and "how many times did you see Coke throughout?"
The kids who are unfortunate sponges for product placement didn't notice it was a Coke ad until the end. Savvier shoppers spotted the Coke billboard halfway through.
These classroom conversations are fun and useful and I'm glad we make room for them in math. I have given up posting my show and tell media here but if you'd like a feed of photos and video I show in my classes every day, I have tagged them here.