List of "Cool Things"

How do you find "Cool Things" to share in your own classes? In this list, we are sharing a few of our ideas, with hopefully a few pointers so you can start creating your own list:

Share what is interesting and exciting to you about the world and mathematics

  • Tell stories! The students love to hear stories; stories about you, or your kids, etc., or stories about mathematics and mathematicians.
  • Read them cool things that you have recently read, e.g. from:
    • Notices AMS
    • Monthly, Math. Mag., CMJ
    • Scientific American
    • New York Times

Using Ideas from our Books for "Cool Things"

Connections with Nature

Connections with Society

  • Arithmetic is not equal to mathematics.
  • Voting and voter registration
  • Share some news from the math education world (K-12 teaching, testing,...).
  • Talk about the mathematics behind fingerprinting and how fingerprinting is not always correct.

Being a Mathematician

  • What does it mean to you to be a mathematician?
  • Colbert clip about Perlman and the Poincaré Conjecture.
  • Dance my phd example
  • Stories about how you learned mathematics and why you fell in love with it.
  • Mathematical Reviews (With Stewart quote about more mathematics in the past 50 years)
  • Fields Medal
  • Women in mathematics
  • Ask students if they know the name of a famous mathematician. They probably don't know anyone! Tell lots of stories about mathematicians, e.g.
    • Alan Turing – Enigma and leopard spots
    • Code Talkers
    • Wiles
  • Lewis Carroll was a mathematician


Cool student work

Connection with the Arts

  • Play math inspired music that a student composed
  • Look at math and art exhibit in the department hallway
  • Show Dmitri Tymoczko's space of musical chords
  • Show the space of salsa dancing – paper by Volker Ecke and Christine von Renesse

Other Cool Mathematics