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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Use the Quarts, Luke

Over Spring Break, I finished a library book called Prisoner of Trebekistan. It was a pretty enjoyable read, maybe more so because I am a huge Jeopardy fan. But in it, the author, Bob Harris, talks a lot about memory devices that he used while studying for the game show. His studying led him to the conclusion that things and events that make an outrageous or hilarious impression last the longest in memory. And it seems to have worked well for him.

So it really got me to thinking what sorts of humorous things I could do to try to leave a lasting mark in my students’ memories. In other words, how many times can I make a complete fool of myself in the name of mathematic academics?

Let's start the ticker today at one.

In the interest of learning more about liquid capacity, we have been doing a brief exercise every day where we add 1 cup of water to our steadily growing supply. After four days, we have 1 quart, and then we dump that quart into our gallon jar and start filling the quart jar once again.

So far for the month, we're up to 9 cups (which also equals 72 ounces, which also equals 41/2 pints, which also equals 2 1/4 quarts).

Today, I decided to be a Jedi. I took a quick poll and verified that all of my kids were familiar with Star Wars, and then doing my best Alec Guinness impersonation, I informed the kids that our new motto was going to be, "May the quarts be with you."

After we passed that mantra around a few times, I told them we could also say, "May the fourths be with you.” Then we went over how there were 4 cups in a quart, and 4 quarts in a gallon, not to mention the fact that there are 4 letters in the words Jedi, Star, and Wars.

The kids in my morning class seemed to enjoy this, whereas most of the kids in my afternoon class looked at me as though I had lost my mind. Oh well, all it takes is that one connection.

And besides, "Which one is the more foolish -- the fool, or the one who follows the fool?"

Maybe tomorrow I'll introduce them to a Jedi's major tool… the Pint-Saber.


Anonymous said...

way to go, fearless liter!

Anonymous said...

I love this idea! I hope that your afternoon droids catch on soon. ;)

Anonymous said...

Your Jedi metrics won't work on me...

Jules said...

funny and brilliant! love it. at least you're entertained, even if the kids think you're off your rocker. :)