Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Divine Turtle

Standing at the river's edge, the Emperor Yu-Huang watched the mighty Huang-He (Yellow River)rush before him. Evening's darkness was soon to come and this was good. The emperor had had a very difficult day.

Today, Emperor Yu had dealt with taxes, an underpaid army, and his angry wife, who said that she never saw enough of him. Looking out across the broad, dark back of Huang-He, Emperor Yu could feel his problems slip away. It was as if the rapid river were dragging the emperor's concerns along with it.

Emperor Yu enjoyed the river. He wished that he could visit it more often. Tonight, he was glad that he had walked to the river's edge alone. Huang-He (Yellow River) was something to visit by yourself. Looking out to the opposite side of the river, Emperor Yu slowly allowed his gaze to drop until he was looking at the river's edge right below his feet. It was at that moment that he saw the divine turtle.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Not for homework

A young college student was working hard in an upper-level math course, for fear that he would be unable to pass. On the night before the final, he studied so long that he overslept the morning of the test.

When he ran into the classroom several minutes late, he found three equations written on the blackboard. The first two went rather easily, but the third one seemed impossible. He worked frantically on it until — just ten minutes short of the deadline — he found a method that worked, and he finished the problems just as time was called.

The student turned in his test paper and left. That evening he received a phone call from his professor. "Do you realize what you did on the test today?" he shouted at the student.

"Oh, no," thought the student. I must not have gotten the problems right after all.

"You were only supposed to do the first two problems," the professor explained. "That last one was an example of an equation that mathematicians since Einstein have been trying to solve without success. I discussed it with the class before starting the test. And you just solved it!"

To find out if this legend is true or false, click here.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Coaching a math team

As far as I know, the Cayman Islands has never competed in math competitions abroad.

James writes in the blog The Math Coach:

I am going to coach a group of middle school kids math in the coming school year.

Our school is a private K-12 school located in California. The school was not very serious about math competition in the past. However, there are few students who are advanced in math and want to pursue math competition as an extra-curriculum activity. I proposed to the school administration to coach a math team with the purpose of building a math culture at the school. The math department was very receptive toward the idea.

In May, CTY organized a regional seminar titled "Educating Telated Youth through Math Competition and Problem Solving" at our school. The seminar educated parents about the benefits of learning math problem solving and participating in math competitions. It became the catalist for the formation of the math team.

Now, we have a group of 10-12 largely 7th graders eager to learn problem solving in the new school year and participate in math competitions. Mrs. M, a math teacher at the school, and I will jointly coach the team this year. I am very excited about this new journey.

Personally, I have a B.S. in Physics & Information Science, M.S. in Computer Science and Ph.D. in Educational Psychology. I taught at colledge for few years and conducted many training classes for businesses. I also taught my own kids math for many years. However, this is my first attempt in coaching middle school kids. I will be using this blog to share my experiences along the journey.

It should be exciting to follow James' experiences.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Enjoying math

"Math would have been a lot different for me in school if they would have touched on the art of it. Or even the practical uses. They could have brought in one speaker a month (woodworker, mechanic, artist, grocery check-out person, small business owner, interior designer, architect, doctor, dentist, computer programmer, banker etc.) and had them speak about how math relates to their profession. A fun assignment would be to have to talk to your parents about how they have to use math every day. Or to have to come up with a different practical use for math every week. I really think the art/creative aspect of math really would have touched a lot of the kids. Much more than a sheet of algebra problems."

A grown-up reflects on how she might have enjoyed math in school. Read the rest here.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Hurricane Math

Some links that may be useful to look at hurricanes from a mathematical point of view.

Disaster Math. Online multiple choice quiz on addition and subtraction.

Hurricane Georges: An Interdisciplinary Lesson.

Understanding Hurricanes and the ER-2. ER-2 is an aircraft used to collect information about hurricanes.

Tracking a Hurricane.

Please suggest other web pages by posting a comment.

CayMath's Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Why do I have to be a member to post questions and answers?

A1. CayMath Google Group is a community for math learners of all ages in the Cayman Islands. Anyone is welcome to read the questions and answers, but only those who live in the Cayman Islands can post.

Q2. Why was CayMath created when Internet services like this already exist?

A2. Ask Dr. Math, for example, is an excellent free service of a similar nature. However, with CayMath we want to create a local online community.

Q3. How much money does it cost to run CayMath?

A3: Google hosts CayMath Google Group, CayMath Public Website, and Caymath's email all for free. The answer, to two decimal places, CI$ 0.00.

Q4. Who started CayMath?

A4. Jan Nordgreen started CayMath in August 2005. He has taught math at George Hicks High School and at John Gray High School. His email is

Q5.What inspired the creation of CayMath?

A5. The editorial in the Caymanian Compass August 26, 2005, which said:

'Motivation of students is apparently an issue as is the need for some type of homework help line, not just for the students, but for parents, too.'

What is CayMath?

(1) CayMath is a Google group where anyone in the Cayman Islands between 0 and 100 years can ask and answer math questions. Wondering about math ideas? Problems with your homework? Cramming for an exam? CayMath offers free, fast assistance.

Welcome onboard! Click here to go to the group.

Anyone can read the group, but in order to post a question or answer to the group you have to be a member. To become a member, simply send an email to with your name and school (if any).

(2) CayMath is this website or blog. From time to time we will post links to stuff that may be of interest to students, parents, or teachers. If you would like to be a contributor to the blog, send an email to Of course, everybody are welcome to post comments.

(3) CayMath is a place where you can suggest and discuss Internet links related to the learning of math. Click here to go to CayMath sharealink.