Yesterday was math day at my son’s Elementary School. I only just learned now from last night’s Rachel Maddow Show why it was Math day. Yesterday was 3/3/09… where the month and the date is the square root of the year! Apparently this only happens a few times a century. The last time was 2/2/04 and the next one will be 4/4/16.

Anyways, for math day, I was asked to come speak to my son’s 1st grade class on how my Math degree has helped me in my career (I knew that darn math degree would come in handy) and how people use math in their careers. I’m posting my presentation if case you ever have a chance to present to a pre-K – 2nd grade group on any STEM subject. It is a simple presentation with more images, less words, designed to be highly-interactive. Frame the discussion around each picture then ask the class to comment on how they think Math is used in that context (or, substitute in science). You’ll be amazed at just how much these students get about these matters.

One slide has a picture of the space shuttle in orbit with the earth in the background. One kid talked about math being used in the context of impact of the sun’s heat! Which led to a brief discussion of temperature. Another kid mentioned math being used to determine avoiding asteroids and the sun, which we could then correlate to their recent exposure to geometry, insofar as angles and direction, the path of the space shuttle and how they’d need to plan in advance how it turns, et al. Another slide has a picture of a curved modern glass-facade building. One kid mentioned the use of math to determine how many windows were needed and we talked about how we’d need to carefully determine the shape/curve of the windows so that construction workers who showed up to install didn’t get upset that there weren’t the right number or the right shape. According to my son, the coolest part was when I flashed a picture of an iPhone, which led to a discussion of Wii, Computers, Playstation DS and other things which incorporate a lot of math in building the devices and the software. Such fun!

UPDATE 1: I’m still a blogging newbie and I have no idea why I seem to be having trouble uploading this presentation. If you’re interested in it, please email me at humera at humera dot com. It would be great if you would also let me know the context of your interest in it and how you could see using it.

UPDATE 2: Thanks to Natasha (see below), I figured out a way to make the presentation downloadable here: Why Math?

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If you would like to share the presentation, you can upload it to SlideShare and either display it within wordpress or link to the file at http://www.slideshare.net/

Great idea! Here it is: Why Math?