Posted by: rdkpickle | 11.10.2011


My amazing and talented sister created these illustrations, based on my “baby math” post, for her art class at WashU. I thought it would be appropriate to share them here.

Getting these in my email inbox was a bright spot in a long week. It seems it is that time of year when everyone (teachers and students alike) feels most run-down (Thanksgiving is so far away!) and yet there seem to be the most obligations and events. The month of November has meant: 1st Quarter grades and comments, college recommendation letters, parent/teacher conferences, Senior project mentor selections, myriad fall athletic tournaments (and subsequent student absences), covering several colleagues’ classes (Calculus, Calculus AP, Geometry), Poetry Out Loud (today), the fall play (tomorrow), and (almost unbelievably) the 2nd Midquarter coming up next week. Drafts of December exams are also due next week, and since I am teaching 2 new classes, writing those will occupy most of my weekend.

I still don’t feel like I’m doing anything worth writing home about in the classroom, but the year has been going well. Some days I feel like I’m selling math on pure charisma, but: they’re buying it.



  1. Time dilation is a real and weird thing, and your sister’s instinct to pursue novelty and activity as a counter-agent is sensible all around. Chatting with 5th graders, I’ve been able to make a rough approximation of their pieceiwse age function:
    Reasonably accurate in years down to (age of youngest sibling) – 2.

    Hyper accurate for (age of self) +/- 2. This is crazy to me.

    Reasonably accurate in years up through high school.

    Beyond that, they have a finite number fixed points that grab all ages strictly greater than the previous. These are normally defined at any older sibling ages, one catch all point for cool older adult-ey cousin, then parent, grandparent and dead. These 5 or so spots in the range eat ALL possible inputs. With a “cool cousin” point at 22, a typical 5th grader would map everything from 22+/- delta (because their floor estimation isn’t so hot either) to their parent’s age. if you’re lucky, you might get parent – 5.

    Actually, on second thought, don’t come talk to 5th graders. It’s kinda depressing.

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