Tuesday, April 7, 2015

F is for favourite things... Show your work!

A little behind but F is for favourite things. In particular, my favourite thing I found today is a site called Dear Data. In my never ending search to give mathematics education a makeover so that more students see it as a creative, problem finding and problem solving way of thinking, I stumbled on what might be the most beautiful mathematics I have in a while.

It started with my interest in data visualisation after meeting the fascinating @kamal_hothi , a data visualiser for the New Zealand Herald. He shared a link to the Factor Dance (you need to click on this link and look, trust me).

The idea of data visualisation fascinated me as it is a role than combines artistry with a solid understanding of data and often, coding too. Hence, it is another example of why we can not continue to only teach maths, but all learning areas in isolation. It is not the data that matters, but what we do with it that matters. Is it useful? How can we use it solve a problem? What problems does the data present? The Dear Data website does a beautiful job of showing creativity in mathematics, problem finding and problem solving. I think I am in love.

Image source
Please note, I could not find a creative commons or any other licence on the site. I have however emailed the owners to let them know that I am sharing their fabulous work on my site and will remove the work if they have any issues with me sharing it here. 
Additionally, many maths teachers also have an ongoing effort with getting students to 'show their work'. I have been focussing on developing this in my students lately using a SOLO rubric and the language of the Hobsonville Point Secondary School Learning Design Model. The Dear Data site includes not only beautiful, but clear examples of showing your work.

All of this makes me want to re-read my current favourite book, Austin Kleon's Show your work. It's a must read for everyone, and is cheap as chips on Amazon.com.