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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.

  • Killing five birds with one stone

    At a recent Math Department meeting, we discussed the question of whether we should offer more math electives. Currently the only non-AP electives that Weston offers are two one-semester Comp Sci courses, but we’re a small high school and probably… Read More ›

  • The T Word

    Why is it politically incorrect to point out that mathematical talent is one of the necessary components of doing well in high-level math courses? No one would expect that just any random kid could make the varsity football team. We… Read More ›

  • Does the school day start too early?

    Tracy Jan’s article in yesterday’s Boston Globe indirectly quotes Brighton High School basketball coach: To boost attendance, alertness, and academic achievement, Mahoney said, high schools should start later. High schools around the Bay State are considering the idea because federal… Read More ›

  • Disappearing statistics

    A wire-service article appeared yesterday on the Boston Globe’s website,, but now the article has mysteriously disappeared. Fortunately most of it is still available elsewhere, so we can examine its questionable use of statistics. It begins by reporting some… Read More ›

  • Not yet reading

    Yesterday we held our regular first-Wednesday-of-the-month professional development activity. This time it was a planning session for an event three months hence — a day based on Tracy Kidder’s latest book, Mountains Beyond Mountains. (This book comes with two slightly… Read More ›

  • Logs

    Why are logarithms so difficult? Algebra students who are consistently competent in other topics often stumble when they get to logs. Sure, they can memorize an algorithm for switching from exponential form to logarithmic form and vice versa, and most… Read More ›

  • An invitation from Tufts Health Plan

    The form letter begins as follows: Dear Rosalita Davidson, Do you have a plan for retirement? Remember, there’s more to consider than the size of your pension or 401(K). There’s also your health insurance. Medicare is important. But it may… Read More ›

  • We so-called experts have been wrong for almost 7 years

    Those of us who teach math and computer science have been proud of our knowledge that a kilobyte is really 1024 bytes, not 1000. So “Y2K” doesn’t really refer to 2000 but to 2048. Similarly, we believe (and teach) that… Read More ›

  • Pythagorean Theorem in so-called real life

    Reading this case might prove helpful for some students who think that math is useless in real life (at least those who plan to be lawyers or drug dealers). But shouldn’t the court have used Taxicab Geometry for its distance… Read More ›

  • Irrationality considered harmful

    “I refuse to deal with irrational numbers until they’ve calmed down,” says one Jeff Schult, who claims that math is a cult. Read the whole article. I hope it doesn’t represent what Weston students think about math. We shouldn’t use… Read More ›