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Date: Tue, 21 Oct 1997 14:14:32 -0700
To: ip@sciserv.org From: Kirby Urner Subject: Syn-l: Math Action (MAA support?) Cc: synergetics-l@teleport.com Sender: owner-synergetics-l@teleport.com Reply-To: synergetics-l@teleport.com MEMORANDUM October 21, 1997 TO: Ivars Peterson, physics writer and on-line editor at Science News FR: Kirby Urner, 4D Solutions, Oregon RE: Upcoming math show and coinciding action plan Howdy Ivars -- Thought we might time the national action below to synchronize with the public debut of the new public TV math series next April. That'll be a time of peaking viewer interest in the subject, an opportunity to take a stand for Mathematics with a capital M. Perhaps the MAA would like to help with the organization. Hey, that was a great show you guys staged for us at the Oregon Math Summit on Oct 2nd! I was in the audience (the guy towards the middle with the video camera going). My own personal account of that event is now online, in case you're curious (mentions you): http://www.teleport.com/~pdx4d/mathsummit.html I recall your saying something about the new math show containing a segment wherein some math people discuss their fascination in the fourth dimension and beyond -- "a kind of spiritual thing for them" you said. That struck a chord with me (4D Solutions is my company name), although I maybe don't see the "dimension" concept in quite the same way they do (no matter, Math offers a big world of only partially overlapping ideas -- a veritable jungle, as you say).[1][2] Anyway, I'm excited about the growing interest in mathematics and am positioning to up my level of participation, at least here in Oregon (our Math Learning Center is highly respected in these parts). I think the MAA should be proud of all we're doing out here in the Wild West to make sure that Mathematics remains the stuff of the future, not just a memory of bygone triumphs of the human intellect. With feeling, Kirby NOTES: [1] For more on spirituality and the fourth dimension: http://www.teleport.com/~pdx4d/hypercross.html [2] For more on the Jungle and Mathematics: http://www.inetarena.com/~pdx4d/synergetica/invisible1.html (a reading in the humanities -- not in competition with your book and written years ago in any case) Now, about the planned action... In circulation as of Oct 21 1997 (today): =========== Maybe when the USA prez chats with those college presidents about his reading program today he'll want to advise 'em of the upcoming national "walk out of math class day" some friends and I are dreaming about. No date specified yet, that I know of, and still thinking about what's the best age range to most closely involve. College kids are definitely on board, but I'm looking at the K-12 picture. Traditionally, the youngest get left out of any such protest action, as it can be too emotionally traumatic for them to subvert the authority of much loved teachers for a cause too nebulous to grasp (some might argue that the tetrahedron isn't nebulous, but that's a whole other thread). My feeling is 6th graders are probably old enough to get some educational benefit from a math class walk out and as news of the action spreads, I'm guessing the kids will be able to recruit a healthy number of teachers and administrators to support this 20 minute maneuver, or at least turn a blind eye. I get enough emails from math teachers today to suggest that, here in Oregon at least, the rationale for a walk out is well understood at many levels. At the high school level, we already have definite leadership emerging, with seniors knowing clearly that their educational experience has been hampered by bureaucratic suppression and meddling aimed at killing off core math department initiatives designed to empower them and boost their thinking skills -- in the area of spatial geometry especially. Our focus here should be to remind students about the norms of constructive civil disobedience. No loud or rude behavior is required. Wearing a tie might be a good idea -- but no arm bands. Pink Floyd's "we don't need no education..." theme, while clearly germane, is too aggressively hostile against most teachers, who don't indulge in sarcasm at the level targeted by that song -- different in the UK perhaps but that's not our problem. I also discourage the wearing of 'Buck U' T-shirts -- again, invective should be kept to a minimum. Kirby

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