An embarrassment of riches this week. It was difficult keeping this to five:
- Too good to be true, Scott Keltner. So is it … free … then? I give this image strong odds on provoking a class debate and highlighting some of your students’ misconceptions of percent growth.
- Car Chase, Ryan Brown. The current darling of 101questions. (12 questions, no skips, as of this writing.) Notice how the first car smacks into the second, which was hidden off-screen. That’s stylish camera work!
- Muggsy Bogues, Tony Gumbo. The question, “How much shorter is Muggsy Bogues?” is one thing. “How many different ways can you express that difference?” is another. (eg. Absolute v. relative.) Start with the first. End with the second.
- First day of school, John Golden. “Is your height linear?” It’s a striking visual and the units along the “x-axis” are identical so you have a rare moment to examine the growth of height over time using people in photographs rather than points on a graph.
- Plinko, Michael Pershan. Yeah, great cut at the end there. Where’s the wisdom in putting the biggest pay-out beneath the most likely bucket? Bowen? (Related: this image, taken from this video.)
- Counting is so last winter. You’ll notice that your first ten responses will generally come from the same ten-or-so people who have seen everything uploaded to 101questions and keep current on all new uploads. It’s interesting to watch their tastes change. For instance, counting lots of little things used to be a lot of fun for this crowd, but now, as Tony Gumbo’s Bryant Denny Stadium can attest, counting is out. (Which isn’t to say that rating won’t pick up once more casual users check in, just that the obsessives have made their decision about counting.)
- Speaking of obsessives, Andrew Stadel has written a great tutorial for getting the most out of 101questions.
- Veggie Juice swings for the fences. You decide where it lands.
- Closing. Timon Piccini’s Cab Ride is the first first act to “close,” which means 100 people responded to it. Now it goes to the very bottom of the pile on the homepage, where it’ll only be seen once people have seen everything else. Initially, I thought first acts would close in a matter of hours after being uploaded. That was naive. It took months.
Plus my own listing:
- Edmonton Water Consumption, uploaded on a dare from Sean Geraghty. My assumption is it’s going to get clobbered.
At this point, I’ve posted about 300 questions. I’ve noticed that I’ve kind of changed my approach for coming up with questions for other people’s items. Rather than try to guess the question that fits as math teacher, I’m trying to put myself in the shoes of a 9th grader and decide “will they find this perplexing”? Fuzzy pictures: skip. Small font items like receipts and print advertisements that are full of numbers and words but no overtly visual content: skip. I’m also noticing that I’m beginning to skip items that are repeats of previously seen items — even just same genre items like super large ________. Initially, the questions were leaping right out at me. But now I feel like the student who says “oh, we’re doing this again.” No longer perplexed if I know what the teacher wants me to say. (Full disclosure: 2 of my 7 uploads are “world’s largest ______” related). Am I too harsh here, or are other people taking a similar approach?
I’m also finding a difference between “perplexing” and “interesting”. There’s a ton of stuff out there that is very cool and very interesting (intricate artwork, geometric designs, etc), but there is no obvious solvable mathematical question that is just begging to be asked. I skip those every time.