Suspicious Fun

Levels of classroom fun have been suspicious lately. Like, am-I-still-drawing-a-paycheck-for-this? suspicious.

I showed ’em Lokesh Dhakar’s Illustrated Guide to Coffee Drinks today which is a really cool stacked-bar graph.

He includes a pronunciation guide which was good fun for my ESL girls.

The Patter

You’re like, “So there’s your shot of espresso. How much chocolate syrup do you pour in compared to the espresso.”

The class says, “half!”

You’re like, “So if the espresso goes ‘glub glub glub glub,’ the espresso would go … ”

“‘glub glub!'”

“… and the steamed milk … ”

“glub glub glub!”

“… and the whipped cream … ”

“glub glub!”

“Ha ha you people are crazy! Whipped cream doesn’t go ‘glub’,” you say. “It’s more of a ‘kshhhh’.”

And you kinda leave it there with that surreal exchange.

The Big Conviction

Demand for nonroutine analytic skills has increased sharply.

Levy and Murnane’s The New Division of Labor.

Here’s the big conviction: the ability to interpret and create this kinda nonsense is an essential skill, something out of the new canon.

Dot plots and best-fit lines are becoming routine and sub-routine. Microsoft’s got auto-content wizards churning those out. Instead, can you take a big freaking table of data and analyze it for corruption? Using which sets? Which kinds of graphs?

Best way to practice that with high school students? Have them analyze something totally random and totally nonsensical (like coffee drinks) in a very serious, non-routine way.

Related:

  1. Dhakar also has an Illustrated Guide to Baseball Pitches that’s worth a second glance.
About 
I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. He / him. More here.

2 Comments

  1. Dan…either via the glub, glub, glub, or a kshhhh sound, do I sense the pitter-patter of a new ‘design competition’ on the horizon line?

    Something, perhaps, that echos your two comments:

    1. “Here’s the big conviction: the ability to interpret and create this kinda nonsense is an essential skill, something out of the new canon.”

    2. “Best way to practice that with high school students? Have them analyze something totally random and totally nonsensical (like coffee drinks) in a very serious, non-routine way.”

    …and gives teacher/edublogger-types the opportunity to…oh, I don’t know…’express thyself’ via analytical visual data sets in an espresso coffee cup sort of way?

    I’ll take a venti. Whatever’s strongest. “No room”. And whatever you need in the ‘help’ data set column (or pie graph slice).

    Cheers, Christian