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Once more: direct and inverse variation.

It’s that time of year when my beginning algebra students are asked to consider how y varies as x varies. The major challenge of the year is helping these students  believe that x and y are numbers…very powerful ones.  That y varies directly with x is well expressed by the equation y = kx. That […]

Advertising and Memorization

Educators are quick to find fault with rote memorization. Companies with products to sell, however, will spend millions of dollars on rote memorization. Mindless repetition is the essence of advertising: a good image shown many times, a good slogan broadcast over and over again. It must work. That amount of money doesn’t often lie. Yet […]


Vi Hart: Math Promoter

Vi Hart tweeted a link to this song about Phi, the Golden Mean. It’s not quite a Bach fugue, but it’s real…or is it transcendental?. I ♥ φ  Λ  I ♥ ♥

Inverse Variation

Let’s assume you have a pie to share with your friends. Each will receive a piece the same size. Is it not intuitively obvious that the size of the piece varies inversely with the number of friends: more friends, smaller piece; fewer friends, bigger piece.