Author Archives

I am entering my 21st year as a math teacher at Weston High School, the sole public high school in Weston, MA. It’s also my 44th year as a teacher altogether. In addition to my day job, I taught for 20 years at the Saturday Course in Milton, MA. I also teach at Harvard’s Crimson Summer Academy each summer; 2017 was our 14th consecutive summer.

Sometimes I work on educational software. I also read, cook, and continue building my model railroad whenever I can. For some reason I'm left with less so-called free time than would be ideal. Nevertheless, I manage to devote time to my wife, Barbara, and to our excessive number of cats as well.

  • Microsoft woes

    Our website looked great in Safari on Mac OS X. But then we discovered that Microsoft misinterprets much of the CSS code, so the site looked terrible in Internet Explorer on both Macintosh and Windows. Worse yet, it looked… Read More ›

  • Socially sensitive math?

    In our opening Math Department meeting, we all participated in the following activity. First we drew a two-set Venn Diagram, where one circle would contain everyone who was an oldest child in the family and one would contain everyone who… Read More ›

  • Homework

    Black-eyed Susan reports on the correlation between homework and quiz scores: So far in calculus, there have been two homework assignments and two quizzes. The students who have turned in no homework have a quiz average of 52%. The students… Read More ›

  • Late to class

    “Fed up with students routinely strolling into class well after the bell rings, high school principals across the region plan to crack down on excessive tardiness,” according to an article in today’s Boston Globe. It’s not clear to me that… Read More ›

  • How to describe a circle

    MoebiusStripper writes about MathPower 12, an all-too-popular popular high-school mathematics textbook published by McGraw-Hill. In case the student doesn’t already know what a circle is, the text provides the following explanation: The compact disc player is everywhere these days. Developed… Read More ›

  • Misunderstanding the "Law of Averages"

    An article in this morning’s Boston Globe begins like this: A Fung Wah bus, part of the low-fare passenger line fleet from Boston to New York, erupted in flames on an interstate highway in Connecticut yesterday, sending frightened passengers scrambling… Read More ›

  • Standardized tests

    In yesterday’s Boston Globe there’s an interview with Bob Sternberg, psychology professor at Yale, president of the American Psychological Association, and newly appointed dean of Arts and Sciences at Tufts. Globe correspondent Peter DeMarco asked him about the use of… Read More ›

  • Sudoku revisited

    I now think my theory about Sudoku in the Globe is wrong, or at least needs to be tweaked: IMHO yesterday’s puzzle was a lot more difficult than today’s.

  • Wikipedia

    My current favorite resource on the Internet is the Wikipedia. Considering that anybody can write and edit its entries, I am astonished that this enormous site could be not only so comprehensive but also so reliable. Of course it contains… Read More ›

  • Quicksilver

    I’m currently reading Quicksilver (William Morrow, Sept. 2003), by Neal Stephenson, previously author of The Diamond Age, Snow Crash, and Cryptonomicon, the last of which I should probably add to my list of favorite books. Quicksilver totals a mere 960… Read More ›