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.

  • Upcoming model railroad shows

    Two upcoming model railroad shows: Tech Model Railroad Club, Saturday, November 18, at the MIT Museum, 265Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge MA, Room N52–118, 2–5 and 7–10. Free! National Model Railroad Association HUB Division, New England Model Train Expo, Saturday-Sunday, December 2–3,… Read More ›

  • Teaching linguistics in high school

    At Lincoln-Sudbury in the 1970s I taught a rotating sequence of linguistics courses along with my primary assignment of teaching math. As my undergraduate and graduate work were in linguistics, it was a natural fit. In my ten years teaching… Read More ›

  • How do you get the gas company's attention?

    So we park our car in front of the house, get out, and smell the distinctive odor of natural gas. Sniffing around, we conclude that it’s pretty clearly coming from the middle of the street. We go in and call… Read More ›

  • Numb3rs and the MAA

    The Mathematical Association of America (MAA) has generally been enthusiastically positive about the well-known television show, Numb3rs. So has the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). These reactions are to be expected: both organizations want to promote interest in… Read More ›

  • Should we rename all the Washington Streets?

    So the Cambridge City Council wants the MBTA to rename Lechmere Station because they have just discovered that mid-18th-Century local resident Richard Lechmere was a slave owner. By that theory, should they petition to have all the Washington Streets renamed?

  • Ah, that explains it

    Some thoughtful reflections on the election — from Grover Norquist, best known for being head of Americans for Tax Reform, as well as being a distinguished alumnus of Weston High School and a close Republican colleague of Karl Rove: Nobody… Read More ›

  • Yearbooks and gender

    What is it about yearbooks that makes boys unwilling to serve as editors? Year after year, when I look at the list of Weston High School yearbook editors, what do I see? Pulling out four recent yearbooks at random, I… Read More ›

  • Former students

    Now that I’ve been teaching in Weston for almost ten years, I seem to be running into a surprising number of former students of mine (from Lincoln-Sudbury, but now through other connections). Weston isn’t exactly far from either Lincoln or… Read More ›

  • Mathematica and Maple

    At Weston High School we’re considering the use of mathematical symbol-manipulation software such as Mathematica or Maple. Our theory is to pick one of these for a trial run for a year — just one copy per teacher, for use… Read More ›

  • Continuity and retention in math classes

    I’m sure we’re not alone in finding that there’s distressingly little retention from year to year in our math classes. One of the big differences between honors and non-honors (“college-prep”) classes is that most students in the former can be… Read More ›