I return with even more fascinating questions in math. First off: A (possibly) torturous math game?
The last session was… chaotic. Yoyo qualified for the National Science Fair (yay!) so we had to help edit her 16-page paper down to 5 pages (boo).Jenny, Lauren and I frantically tried to help her as much as we could. We ended up practicing how to edit papers, which is useful because our own scientific papers are being published soon. Afterwards, we spent a little bit of time devising a fun way to test a certain lab skill. Our idea was making agar plates while coloured water is sprayed in the air, representing contamination. The session was exciting!
Computers are incredible. They have amazing capabilities today, and are a key part of society. But what is the underlying “system” that does all the work? Well that’s computer programming. Everyone should learn how to program. I love it. But what is programming? And why should you do it?
*Foreword: This blog post is not like my other ones. We were given specific way to write this post at our last FSL session. Let me explain. The 1st years do something called a Finkbeiner post. They have to write a blog post about a female scientist while following certain criteria. Pretty much they shouldn’t treat her as female. (The specifics are detailed in Catherine’s post). However, for the 2nd years, we have to do a REVERSE-Finkbeiner post. What is this? Well we have to write a post about a male scientist that goes against the criteria. (You’ll see what I mean soon). This is to show that articles about female scientists overemphasize the fact that she’s a woman, and focus on “female” things. We don’t find this extremely strange. But when it’s about a man, it feels very odd. It helps open our eyes to see what stereotypes are emphasized. Now because of this, this post will seem parodical and outlandish. That’s kind of the point. So keep in mind that this isn’t how I actually write, and that I know this is not how an article should be written. With that out of the way, I hope you enjoy!
Daniel Kahneman is a tough guy. He spent his childhood in Paris, France when it was occupied by Nazi Germany. He was on the run with his family throughout the Second World War. He also served in the Israeli Defense Forces as an adult. Daniel Kahneman is really courageous.
The idea that mathematics is complete and solved disturbs me. Some people think that math is just a bunch of information and methods that we learn so that we can do stuff, but it’s not! Math is a collection of mysteries and problems that are waiting to be solved. Not boring old computations! Today, I’ll share with you two of math’s craziest problems.
The last session was really fun! After working tirelessly on our 3D printed boats for weeks, the big day finally arrived. We took our boats out to the water, to see them move, if they could move at all! We had to do certain accomplishments. First challenge: if they could float in still water. Everybody passed! Second challenge: if they could move in still water. Most groups weren’t able to do this. But my group swung its not-turning propeller back and forth to make it move and the Tinkerine boat paddled forwards. The third challenge was if our boats would float in current. Jane took the “current stick” and started to make waves to see if our boats would stay up. At one point, a gear on my group’s boat fell off so we tried to get it back. That was an adventure. The Boat Competition was an absolute blast!
I am extremely indecisive. My sister jokes that if I have to choose what to eat, I’ll starve to death first. I do have trouble making decisions, but it turns out that everyone does!
Let me tell you a story (1). Imagine that you’re a flight instructor. You are teaching a bunch of students a fairly difficult maneuver. When they have all finished trying it, you praise the students who did well and you criticize the ones who didn’t. You then tell them all to do it again. Strangely enough, the students that did well the first time are not doing as well. And even more strangely, the students who didn’t do well the first time are doing better! The only thing that you did differently between them was that you responded to them differently. Thus, you conclude that praise makes people perform worse and criticism makes people perform better. Perfectly sound logic right? Well if you’ve read any other one of my blog posts, I think you get the gist by now. This logic is WRONG.
The last session was fun! First we had a talk from Sandy about how to describe science-related ideas in preparation for the Meet a Scientist Day that was on Saturday. We started off with a game in a sentence become a picture then back to a sentence and so on. Sandy explained that some concepts are difficult to depict while some are easy. For example, cancer became tumour which became multiplying donuts! We then tried our pipette painting activity with Sandy. They had great advice!. We then talked about plans and Basecamp with Jane. We talked about goals and achievements, and then thought of BlueSky projects in groups – projects with unlimited budgets. We had wild ideas. One group wanted to make a hoverboard! We made a plan for this project on basecamp, so we learned about its functions and planning. Last session was really fun, and we learned a lot!
Imagine you’re sitting at a meeting where the CEO of a department store chain is talking. He is pointing at a list of the stores with the highest theft rates. He goes through the stores, and shows that most of these stores are in rural areas. He concludes that we must increase security in rural stores. “Objection!” a coworker says, “This a complete waste of money!” You think, “What on Earth is this man saying? He’s just being over-dramatic. The CEO is very correct.” However, it’s this outspoken coworker who is the correct one (but, as a character from my imagination, he is being over-dramatic). How?…