OpenLab Assignment #2: What does this have to do with anything?

One of the standard arguments for the importance of math (which you have no doubt heard) is that mathematics “is used to describe the world around us.”  However, our current model of mathematics education doesn’t often lend support to this argument.  When you’re sitting at home with your book, struggling with a set of abstract, repetitive exercises, it’s hard to see how this stuff is relevant to anything outside of math class itself.

Assignment (Due Wednesday, June 13th, midnight).  Choose ONE of the videos below.  View it carefully at least twice, then write a response as follows:

  1. At the top of your response, state your name and the name of the video you chose.
  2. Write a paragraph in which you complete each of the following sentences, explaining in your own words.
    1. “The main idea is…”
    2. “One thing that I liked is…”
    3. “One thing that I didn’t like is…”
  3. What does this video have to do with this class (if anything)?  Why in the world would it appear here?  Explain.




  1. Vi Hart, blogger and self-proclaimed mathemusician, on “Doodling in Math Class: Spirals, Fibonacci, and Being a Plant.”  (alternate link)
  2. Hans Rosling, pioneer of data visualization, speaking on “200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes.” (alternate link)

Extra credit.  Comment on someone else’s post – do you agree? Disagree? Why?  Anything to add?

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31 Responses to OpenLab Assignment #2: What does this have to do with anything?

  1. 200 countries 200 years 4 minutes
    the main idea of this video was to show 200 years of progression for all the countrys of the world using math.what I liked was how math can bring anything to life but what I didnt like was the video didnt make me care at all.i dont know what this video has to do with the class but the reason its here is for extra credit haha

  2. sussynatalia says:

    Video: “Doodling in Math class: Spirals, Fibonacci and being a plant”
    The main idea of this video is about the numbers of the Fibonacci series that can be found in spirals shapes belonging to our nature. For instance; fruits, vegetables, flowers and even leaves pattern of several plants.

  3. sussynatalia says:

    By mistake i sent it by i havent finish…this is the second part of the my assignment…..
    What i like of this video were the jokes Vi Hart made along the way of explaining the numbers in the Fibonacci series. She said: “whenever people turn 50, you can say-Happy Fibirthday!!! refering to Fibonacci. Other thing i liked was the decorations she made on the pine cones. I didnt know there was a season for decorating them.
    I understood everything she said but the speed she talked was so fast that i had to pause and play several times in order to catch up with the details of her demonstration.
    This entire video context is about Math. Vi Hart explained how Mathematics forms part of our world, showed me a different perspective of seeing numbers, made sense of Math and concluded by saying that there’s nothing mysterious about having the Fibonacci numbers 5 and 8 in pineapples and vegetables, 13 and 144 in flowers and roses because, not having those numbers, would be a mysterious thing.

    • Tash J. says:

      I agree that the lady speaking in the video spoke very fast. I also had to listen to the video a couple of times. I didn’t understand everything she said because I do not possess her level of knowledge of Math concepts. I liked that she actually showed the patterns on the objects to prove her point. She was a good artist and used Math to create art. I liked the video, however, now I am talking to fast…

      • i disagree i thought her talking fast made it more fun to watch it went along with the excitement of the video but i didnt like the video because i felt though she related math to what she was doing it felt like a waste of time because it something non of us plan on doing

  4. quazismom says:

    Video number 2 is my pick I had to cut video number one short because it was making me dizzy. Moving right alone. I’m not sure what this video had to do with this or any other math class. I guess it was showing the correlation between the wealth and health of different countries over the spam of 200 years but (and maybe it’s just me) its seemed as though this was an economics lesson more than a math lesson.

    • Jonas Reitz says:

      I sympathize about feeling dizzy — Vi Hart definitely has that effect (I don’t think I’ve ever kept up with her all the way through one of her videos). About the second one, I think you’re right that it’s fundamentally about economics (and maybe history) — does math have anything to do with these?
      -Mr. Reitz

      • chimene says:

        In my opinion, math is the building block and the basis society’s history and culture. All around the world math has been and is being used in numerous ways primarily, to calculate distance and to measure time and seasons.

        Most of what we know about space is due to math. Math was used in wars for division and ranking, in religion and so on. Today math is the crucial point in designing buildings, developing computer programs and much more. We eat math, we sleep with math, we travel with math, and we dance to math. Every day, our bodies are simply adding and subtracting to the beat of our own math rhythms.

    • Julita Kropiwnicki says:

      I agree that video number 1 made me dizzy but on the positive note is cool way of showing Math in more exciting way than one which we learn on typical Math lessons.

  5. Tash J. says:

    Tash Joyner
    Doodling in Math Class: Spirals, Fibonacci, and Being a Plant

    The main idea is that in the universe there is evidence of order. Math proves such with the aid of numbers and patterns. One thing that I liked is how the Fibonacci number series appeared in plants and other things. The video made me think that all things in existence were created from a single source in the form of a portal and all things copy this pattern. One thing that I did not like was how fast the information was presented. After watching the video, I started talking and thinking much more rapidly. My processing of information and understanding increased.

    This video shows Math in its exciting form and shows that Math can interpret forms and shapes. Before watching the video I had no idea of the Fibonacci pattern system. The video sparked my interest to investigate Math patterns in this reality. This video showed how cool Math can be.

    • chimene says:

      Tash – I feel the same about this video! Since I’ve taken Astronomy I & II, I’ve been more interested in math, particular the concepts of distance, space and time. I‘ve also been very intrigue about math in art and design. Math and art have always been linked. I find myself often examining the pairing and repetition of art, structure and design patterns to see how objects and elements are paired or repeated. To see what I am talking about, check out some Aztec art, Mosaic art and take a look at some ethnic print fabrics; they are wonderful examples of this art form.

  6. Julita Kropiwnicki says:

    Doodling in Math Class: Spirals, Fibonacci, and Being a Plant. Video 1

    I think that, Doodling in Math Class: Spirals. The video is cool and different but one thing that I didn’t like is that made me dizzy. In addition, the video was new to me and it definitely kept me interested. This video shows Math in its exciting form and shows that Math can be explained in many forms and shapes.

    In order to do many of the operations and processes in mathematics, we need to follow certain rules. The main idea is that in math there is order of operations. There are many ways to increase math scores, and most don’t have anything to do with being smarter. One thing that I liked is that this particular video is that it keeps my interest to understand Math in more fun way.

    • carolisa says:

      I totally agree with you. This video make people so dizzy. However is so cool how she use art to relate to plant and explain the math. At first i was like what? but then i found it very interesting.

  7. Sharess isaacs says:

    Sharess (Fibonacci video)

    In my opinion the main idea of this video is to show how Fibonacci numbers can work in various different ways without us even realizing it just using random objects from nature. One thing I liked is how the video taught me what Fibonacci numbers are as I had never heard of this before. One thing I didn’t like was that the person speaking in the video spoke so fast so my understanding is still a bit unclear, however I will do some research to assist me with more understanding. The video has a few things to do with the math class as anything dealing with numbers does. She mentioned 5/8 few times which can be interpreted as Fibonacci or as a fraction which relates to what we do within the math class. She also mentioned the spirals which to me relates to the class as sometimes we find numbers that are infinite and keep going just like a spiral. I enjoyed the video.

    • Kameela says:

      I agree with comment with the person speaking too fast took me a minute to understand her explanation, I did not think of the 5/8 she mentioned as a fraction which is related to class that is an interesting take on it to me.

  8. Shardae Sales
    Doodling in math class
    The main idea is to show math is everywhere and math will be a lot easier for student if they relate it to outside world.
    One thing i liked about the video is that she compare many different pattern to help identify numbers and identify how fibonacci can show throughout many object and come out to be the same numbers
    One thing i didnt like is the way she talk so fast
    This is very important because a student like me relate to math when its taken out of context

    • You hit the nail on the head here, I agree, mathematics is everywhere and i totally agree that if we relate it to the outside world maybe even our own lives it could be probably be a simplified way to help us do better in mathematics.

    • Rosa C says:

      I agree math is everywhere. We use math in our everyday life but sometimes we don’t relate what we learned in a class to the outside world.

  9. 200 countries, 200 years, 4minutes

    The main idea in this video is how mathematics relates to studying the global health history of the world, by using statistics he is able to make a correlation on life expectancy of people, what causes people to have a shorter life span. The statistics in this video analyzes the collection of age, income and location. One thing that I liked is that it shows that the wealthier a country is the healthier the people are therefore increasing their life expectancy and if the country is poor their life expectancy decreases.
    One thing that I didn’t like is how the poor countries are affected by HIV, although we know this to be true, I always wondered why, after all they already have to deal with getting enough food to eat then having to worry about their health depreciating.
    This video has a great deal to do with this class because it shows Mathematics is needed to prove this, and with out mathematics we would not be able to know the life expectancy, or how wealthy or poor a country or person is.

  10. Kameela says:

    The main idea of video one was the explanation of Fibonacci numbers that exist in everyday nature. Fibonacci numbers to my understanding is the sum of two numbers that equals the follows number on a sequence numeral line. One thing that I liked from the video was that her explanation behind Fibonacci numbers is very clear based on her physical examples of nature; it was a great way to help a visual learner as myself. One thing I did not like from the video was that she spoke a bit too fast. The video is related to class because it uses natural numbers, whole number and integers also its main focuses which is finding the ratio between two numbers, a main concept in algebra which is one of our focuses during this semester.

  11. Natasha Jaikaran says:

    Natasha Jaikaran
    Doodling in Math class: Spirals, Fibonacci and being a plant

    The main idea of the video is that math exists in the world around us, even in what we least expect it to. Mainly, plants and nature. One thing I liked about the video was that she incorporated nature with math. This is something that blew my mind because I never thought of plants or nature in a mathematical point of view. It makes me want to look at ordinary everyday objects and find a way math can relate to it. One thing I disliked was the fast paced talking, I felt a little dizzy and could not get everything in. It related to class because numbers can be infinite and can continue to go on and on like a spiral.

    • carolisa says:

      I totally agree with you. Believe it or not, we used math everyday. I can say that math help in so many way to figure out things. Its so cool how she used math to relate to plants. I have never had that kind of thought in my mind neither.

  12. Lewis Napolitano says:

    I watched “200 countries, 200 years, 4 minutes.”
    So… I chose this video because it said “4 minutes,” and I didn’t think that I wanted to invest more than that amount of time on a math video. I’M SO GLAD I CHOSE THIS
    This video used a computer animated graph to show how the world economy and life expectancy has developed over the past 200 years, but more so over the past 100 years. There really
    I liked everything about this video (though at first I was kinda counting down in my head). It gave me a glimpse into how to make graphs more useful and highlight differences (this was especially useful because today the question “why do I need to know this?” kept coming up).
    There really wasn’t anything that I didn’t like about this video. I was able to connect this to other classes that I’ve had, and I even sent the web address to myself in order to watch it again at some point in the future. I’m majoring in Human Services, and this video showed me why I need to know math.
    Thanks for making this a part of class

  13. kevin lau says:

    video #2
    The main idea of this video was to show how much progress the world has made in the last 200 years.The graph shows how certain events impacted each countries progression.The one thing that I liked about this video was that it took a confusing problem and it made it easier f0or us(the viewer)to understand.The video also explains in depth how each country is affected by a certain event, and it also shows us how that can affect the countries progress.Their wasn’t one thing in the video that I didn’t like,i actually enjoyed watching this video because of how short and simple it was.This video is relevant to our class because it shows us how to understand the graph better by showing it to us visually(with technology). The video also breaks down the graph into smaller pieces so that we can fully grasp the concept of the graph.

  14. Rosa C says:

    Rosa Caraballo
    200 countries,200 years, 4 minutes.

    The main idea of the video is to show the history of 200 countries shown over 200 years using math. What i like about the video is the animated graph use to show the world’s economy and life expectancy, it helped me to have a better understanding of the the video.
    I like everything about the video because it was a reminder for me ( i took history a long time ago and didn’t remember much about the world history). I was able to connect this video with other classes ( history, macroeconomics and math).

  15. carolisa says:

    Hans Rosling’s 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes – The Joy of Stats – BBC Four

    I chose this video because it show how can people used math to come up with statistics. In this video also explain how long did it took the world economic to progress.What i liked about this video is that is very informative. Not only that, but is so cool how can they show the animated graph by using technology. However, what i didn’t like about this video is that it can confuse you and people can get bored easily. Overall, i think that this video help people to understand that using math is essential sometime in life. I can say that if this video wasn’t part of the assignment i would never watch this video because is not interesting 🙁

  16. marzone11 says:

    I watch doodling in math class, it was about drawing spirals when your bored in math class. While the girl is drawing these spirals she subconsciously relates it to math. I enjoyed this video because shes creates a visual experience of to thing which are so closely related, math and science. This video relates to us in class because sometimes math can be boring, but there are other ways to make math interesting.

  17. Kelly Ellis says:

    Hans Rosling, pioneer of data visualization, speaking on “200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes.” (alternate link)

    The main idea of the video was to teach us about global health. I actually seen this video before and still liked it till this day because it was really interesting to see how the economy changed over the years. I loved how he gave the different countries, population, and he succeeded in grasping my attention. I don’t have anything that I disliked about the video. It was someone who I enjoyed listening to and enjoyed seeing the work progress over the 200 years. I have seen number of problems we had in class (graphs) just as he did, and how to calculate using the graph or multiplying to get the year or cost at certain year, or even calculating life expectancy. I believe it is important that we know these things because if we wanted to watch what we eat or calculate our income to see where we stand then we can probably use this graph or make our own to come up with our own calculation. At the end I liked that his calculation was to see everyone all climbing or already at rich and healthy.

    • lsuarez0930 says:

      I agree with you. Sometimes we might wonder in class if we ever going to come across all these equations and graphs at some point in our lives outside of a classroom. And by watching this video I realized that understanding math will help you in every other subject in school such as history, or in any other typical daily activity.

  18. lsuarez0930 says:

    Luisa Suarez
    200 Countries, 200 Years

    The main idea of this video is to show the progress 200 countries have had in 200 years. Even though the subject has nothing to do with math, without using math to plot all those numbers into a chart to summarize such a long story, it would have been impossible for him to tell the whole story in 4 minutes.
    I can definitely relate this video to the class because when you understand how to read information off a chart and/or actually create a graph to show the whole picture of whatever subject is in discussion, it just makes it a lot easier to explain and understand.

  19. Benjamin says:

    Doodling in Math:

    The main idea is Math can be found in many ways and things around us, in plants, fruits, vegetables flowers etc. It it very hard to avoid math even when we try or we thing we do not like Math and want to avoid it.
    Most everything thing we do in our daily life consist of some kind of math. You buy a cup of coffee, you are ask what size, how many sugars that’s math.
    Price of an item, how much change, how much money do I have. Can I afford to by this of that. What the interest rate. I sell this or that how much profit can I make?
    I like the way the video show how many ways math can be in most thing we do and in many things that is around our.

    What does this video have to do with this class (if anything)? Yes. Some type of math comes up in all classes we take in all majors

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