This is a total gamechanger:
If I call a business or a government agency and represent myself as a math teacher who is curious about their work, they will spend a not-insignificant amount of time answering any question I have.
I'm 100% so far on, like, six attempts. I don't know why I never tried this before.
Running list of examples that have made it to this blog:
- [WCYDWT] Pure Performance. I wanted to know the speed of the car in the video so I e-mailed the agency representing the director who then put me in touch with the visual effects supervisor.
- [It Got Away] Vermont License Plates. I called the Vermont DMV and received a trove of information about license plate issuance, including the combinations of letters they don't allow.
- [It Got Away] Ladder Spreaders. I called Werner Ladder Co. and spoke to an engineer who gave me the skinny on ladder construction.
- Partial Product. The corporate grocery store told me no way that'd let me take photos on their counter so I head over to the local grocery store on the corner where the grocer, after we worked through our language barrier, let me set up my problem.
- Guggenheim. I called the Guggenheim's public relations department, told them I thought Hans Peter Feldman's exhibit was an excellent application of math and I wanted my students to experience it. I asked them for the blueprints to that room and they sent them. They told me I couldn't pass them around, though, a request I'll honor even though it bums me out.