Mathematics, like the air we breathe, is part of every subject we study, image we gaze on, and sound we hear. To hear someone say they don’t have the math gene, strikes me with the same sadness as to hear someone sight impaired say they will never see a sunrise. The Wolfram Demonstrations Project is now making it easier than ever before to explore computational knowledge (glasses for those who have yet to see!). The site won the 2008 Parent’s Choice Award with less than 2000 interactive illustrations. There are now over 9000.
You do not need to buy the Mathematica software to run the 3-D rotating graphics. You can download free the Wolfram CDF player and demonstrate for students from a teacher’s computer, or let them download and manipulate the images on their own. These demonstrations are not just for math teachers. It is for every teacher, every age, to begin to explore. Check out the comprehensive topics on the site:
Did you notice the Browse by US Common Core State Standards? Try it, browse for a topic your child/students are currently studying. Amazing!
Some of my favorites are below. Remember, to truly understand these illustrations, go to the site, download the player, then begin to play with the slider to make the values change. It was illustrations like these embedded within my son’s AP Physics that helped him grasp concepts quickly (sadly, the AP Calculus curriculum did not utilize them). It is illustrations like these that I can introduce complex systems thinking to the 4th graders in the Virtual Worlds Program. It is illustrations like these that begin to dispel the myth that there is a math gene. We are all wired to comprehend math, and my thanks go out to the Wolfram people for making what I have seen in complex formula quickly visible to others.
Some of my favorites to help with Virtual Worlds and the Media Lab…