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

  1. Kevin Hernandez/video 1 says:

    The main idea of video 1 was to show how math does in fact deal with everyday life despite the fact that one does not sit and analyze these little things. One thing I liked about this video was the artistic view point that the blogger took upon explaining the Fibonacci series. There was nothing that was of dislike to me. In terms of class, I believe this just works as an evidence to the fact that analyzing data takes a lot of mathematical though and problem solving.

  2. Lindsey Gershberg

    200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes

    The main idea of this video was to show how the economy, the health and the population grew within 200 countries in 200 years. I enjoyed watching this video because the graphics were so cool. Also it is very interesting to see how all of these countries really did grow within 200 years, and how wars and economic falls affected these countries. Most of the countries grew in population as well as wealth, but some of them were and still are left behind such as Africa (Ghana).
    The video has to do with our class, because it shows statistics over 200 years. How the countries grew and how they fell. The population of the countries and a direct link to the economy of these countries.

    • yasminm says:

      Hey Lindsey,

      As an extra credit, we were asked to agree or disagree with another one of our class mates and I just wanted to add that I agree with your post %100. Just like you, I thought that graphics in the video were so cool. I loved how the points would move around to show how over the years the population increased. I agree with you also, the fact that they showed how the wars affected some populations in positive and negative way was very interesting. Although I knew some of that, seeing it being taught in another way was very cool!


    • Omar says:

      Omar Husain

      Maybe this will help generate some discussion…

      I think there are limits to the kind of growth Rosling describes in the video. For example, I’ve read that population growth is much slower (or not at all) in highly developed economies compared to less developed ones. For example, population growth in India is happening much faster than in the U.S. Is this a positive trend? Or is it hypocritical for more developed countries to prevent developing nations from achieving the same kind of growth?

      Also, I think climate and geography were key factors that weren’t discussed. People in Papua New Guinea, for example, were basically living in the Stone Age into the 1900’s. The terrain there is so forbidding that people were living in isolated clusters. Also, their soil isn’t suitable for nutrient-rich grains. Being on a remote island prevented them from interacting with other cultures. I read about this in a book called Guns, Germs and Steel.

      That’s my two cents.

      • Jonas Reitz says:

        Hi Omar,
        I was also reminded of Guns, Germs and Steel watching this video. I really liked that book — it gives a great perspective on why the history of the world and development of technology happened in the way that it did.
        -Mr. Reitz

  3. yasminm says:

    Yasmin Masas

    Video #2 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes

    I believe that the main idea of this video was to show how the population and economy grew from 200 years ago to now. One thing that I liked about the video was the graph provided on how the points on the graph would move around to show how the population and economy grew over the years. The graphics used in the video really helped the person watching the video to visually understand how the population changed over the years. There was really nothing that I did not like about the video. I thought it was well put together and taught the viewers a great lesson in 4 minutes. This video indeed does have to do with our class because it clearly shows statistics of 200 countries over 200 years and how such things like war affected some populations in a good way and others in a bad way.

    • Hello Yasmin,
      Its crazy I read your post after I entered mines. We both pretty much taught the same regarding this video. We had the same understanding and points. In addition we both saw the relationship between the video, economics and statistics. Its funny, you never know which great mines think alike.

  4. Omar says:

    Omar Husain “200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes”

    The main idea of “200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes” is that people live longer in wealthier countries. The Industrial Revolution is cited as a driving factor in the shift toward increased wealth and lifespan. Countries that were late to the Industrial Revolution (or never took part at all) lagged behind. One thing I liked is that Rosling speculated about other factors influencing these trends – colonialism, war and economic depressions, for example. He also pointed out an important flaw in the study, which only looked at averages for each nation. Taking an average can hide important information sometimes. One thing I didn’t like about the video is that it just scraped the surface of a very complex issue, and provoked more questions than it answered. This can be forgiven since this was also the intent of the video.

    This video shows how careful data collection and statistical methods can reveal important trends in history, can help us predict where we are heading, and can serve as a guide for future action. It also underscores how important math and science is to economic development.

  5. Elizabeth Valladares
    Video 1 “Doodling in Math Class: Spirals, Fibonacci, & Being a Plant”

    From my perspective, the main idea of this video is how mathematics can appear in biological life. I’ve actually seen this video before, but it isn’t until now that I am taking the time to analyze it. Maybe if humans took the time to analyze and appreciate the simple patterns found in the naturally occurring, insight to some of most complex ideas and theories would be so obvious, as found in nature. One thing that I liked is how playful but informative the video was. It kept me interested. One thing I didn’t like is sometimes I couldn’t understand what the speaker in the video was saying, because she was talking so fast.

    • ehuffman113 says:

      I also though she was talking fast! It was tough to keep up with her sometimes. She made an interesting observation when she said it would be more strange if the patterns in the spiral-y plants were NOT there. I wondered what she meant by that. Would people respect the world more if they knew plant life (and by extrapolation all life) followed a mathematical pattern? It was an engaging video, but it left me with some questions.

  6. Continue… (forgot to answer question #3)
    Elizabeth Valladares
    Vide0 1

    This video relates to statistics because similar to how structures in nature follow a pattern so do we when we look at data to determine the most likely outcome or future occurrence.

  7. Rose-Mick September
    Watch video #2 “200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes.”

    The main purpose of this video was to show has math, particular statistics is used to determined how society around the world has changed in wealth and population since 400 a.c. With the use of bubble dots, viewers see the transition between what time can do when different countries choice to progress. One thing that I liked about this video is that within 5min, the author was able to capture my mine into the world of how statistic can be used to simplify something like economics. There wasn’t anything in particular that I didn’t like about this video. In addition, this video has everything to do with statistic. It uses statistic in each way to transcribe a subject which can be hard for many to understand. Especially with the data shown in different colors and a circular shape, this video makes the subjects easier for those who don’t really care for the topic.

    • isak says:

      Hey Roseseptember

      I totally agree with you, about the video, that it is amazing how in that short of time he explained the whole history, the effects, and which part to improve.

      • yarinett says:

        Hey Rose,

        I agree with what you pointed out. The way in which he gathered all that information and represented it to us within minutes was very impressive. I think if he instead would have lectured us about the history I would have probably disliked the video and not understand much. However I quickly understood what he was explaining to us by looking at the graph.

    • Lindsey says:

      Hey Rose,

      I agree with what you said 100%. What stood out for me about your comment when you said “One thing that I liked about this video is that within 5min, the author was able to capture my mine into the world of how statistic can be used to simplify something like economics.” New technology such as the board with the moving data has become very popular, you can do almost anything with technology now, than you couldn’t in the past. It was also very fast. If we didn’t have the technology we have now, someone would be sitting at their desk for weeks and months trying to draw something like what we saw in the video. Economically, we are advanced when it comes to being able to produce technology. The populations because of wealth is growing and helping out our economy.

  8. ehuffman113 says:

    I chose 200 Countries, 200 years.
    I was intrigued by the animated graph compressing 200 years into just a few seconds. It relates to statistics by showing a positive correlation between two factors, in this case, wealth and longevity, both of which really exploded post-industrialization. By showing the correlation over 200 years, you could see individual differences. The progression showed that growth isn’t strictly linear–sometimes factors such as war or disease can cause a major setback, as the narrator pointed out. I noticed evidence of many setbacks as the graphics moved through the 200 years. One country or another would drop down and then appear to bounce back up. I would wonder what the causes of the drop and rebound were. That’s the limitation of a graph like this, it can only show an overall trend over the centuries by presenting averages. The realities are more complex than two factors, even if the factors are correlated.

  9. edmundo says:

    “Doodling in Math Class: Spirals, Fibonacci, & Being a Plant”

    The main idea of the video was to show how three completely different can have a single thing in common. The narrator showed that we can draw spirals, along with plants with fibonacci numbers. By looking carefully at plants, we can see they are aligned in spiral patterns and the numbers of spirals are fibonacci numbers. One thing I liked was how the narrator gave great visual details to prove her ideas. One thing I didn’t like was that she spoke too fast, but that made it more exciting. This video can relate to the class as to show there are countless possibilities of what fibonacci numbers appear on certain plants.

    • honeypinz says:

      I agree with your post 100% it was very hard to understand what she was trying to say but her speaking this way and all the visuals she used made it a lot interesting to watch it. We sometimes do not realize the things that are around us and how we can compare it to all the mathematics that we learn. For all those people that say why do we learn math and well never use it, this video proves it! We can involve math in anything or anything that surrounds us.

  10. Diana Guaman
    Video #2 “200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 minutes”

    The main idea of this video is to show the importance of math in our daily life. Also, to show the difference of the economy and population from 200 years ago. One of the things I liked from this video was the explanation provided with graphs representing the population and the economy. I think the video was very interesting and graphs was very helpful for the viewer to understand the information being provided. Overall, I had nothing to dislike about this video because it was interesting to me and I enjoyed watching. This video is related to statistics because graphs is one of the things we use to represent probabilities.

  11. Usmaan Qureshi says:

    Usmaan Qureshi
    ” 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes”
    In my perspectives, the main idea of this video is to show the changes in the economy over the years using visual data. One thing that I liked about this video is the graph that appeared while he was talking. It made it easier to understand the point he was trying to deliver. I was able to enjoy the information and understand it. I believe this video has a lot to do with statistics. Using visual data such as graphs can help organize information and understand it.

    • Rokshana Parvin/ Video# 2 says:

      I totally agree with you because the visualizing really help you understand what he is trying to teach and catch the attention of your audience.

  12. honeypinz says:

    Honey Pinzon
    “200 Countries, 200 years, 4 Minutes”

    The main idea in this video is to show our economic history throughout 200 years and the differences that occurred. What I admired about this video was of course the graphics, it kept me actually interested in learning the information given. Its shocking how much the world has really changed. I think this video has a lot to do with class and statistics. The video shows a lot of numerical facts, and he shows how all the data collected was interpreted. It also shows the population and elements studied. I really enjoyed the video !

  13. yellow says:

    Hello my name is marlene Baptiste I am in math 1272 I pick video #1
    A.What I observed in that video doodling in math class was the different spiral that have to do with math and different design and color.I feel that in math color is very important and design.
    B. I like it some what because it bring the picture and math problem to live.
    C.One thing I did not like is the person was writing everything fast. I wanted to see everything what the person wrote in a slower pace.
    3. the video has everything to do with math and our world. It show how to use different problem in this world. It show on the internet for fun and understanding different problem of math. I learned that at math 1180 when they do use fibonacci which have to with design , finding the square and design.

  14. yellow says:

    EXTRA CREDIT- Hello kevin Hernandez I understand you pick video #1
    I agree with you 100% percent.In a math class and fashion designer, use fabonacci a lot to solve problem. I like this about the video. The video is very alive. I am aware that the person in the video was solving different problem by number or drawing different shapes. It is a form of math and shape.

  15. isak says:

    Hans Rosling, 200 countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes.

    The main purpose of this video is to show us, how people progress overtime, and what major reasons effected it, so now in the present to raise it. I really like the video, because, it uses fancy technology to show us the data, rather then boring graphing. This way when people watch the video the get out of it more, and watch till the end and get their interest of it. I have nothing to dislike this video, rather than give props to Hans Rosling. It was nice watching this video, and i caught my interest.
    This is defiantly have to do with statistics, because all it uses data to applied in the chart, and different numbers, maybe when looking in class at the data, we should have on of these things, rather then on the paper, it be more interesting.

  16. rosanna haripersaud says:

    “200 countries, 200 years, 4 minutes”

    the main idea of this video is to show how the lifespan has changed over the years.
    the thing i like the most about the video is the visual display, very helpful to understand while he explained and the way he moved things around when he talked.i believe this video has alot to do with statistics especially organizing data and plotting the graphs and showing how much the lifespan change graphically.i also thought it was pretty cool how he presented using hologram

  17. Estefania says:

    Estefania Lopez
    Video #2

    The main idea of “200 countries, 200 years, 4 minutes” is to show how lifespan and income have changed in 200 countries in 200 years. The graph in the video makes it easy to understand what Hans Rosling is talking about. One thing i liked about the video was that the graph was interesting to look at and also Rosling held your attention. What i didn’t like about the video was that he named the countries so fast that i got a little lost on which were which the first time i watched it. I see hoe the video is connected to our statistics class. its taking data and organizing it to make a connection to the world. I believe that this video proves that math helps us describe the world around us.

  18. Clark Monzon says:

    Clark Monzon
    Video # 1: Doodling in Math class.
    The main idea of the video was to introduce the audience about how animals and plants have Fibonacci numbers and how they resemble as spirals. One thing I like about this video was how the commentator showed many examples to prove her point, she showed pine cones, fruits, plants and even animals like snake and snails. I couldn’t find anything I didn’t like about the video, it was entertaining.

  19. Shaniece Pollard says:

    Doodling in Math Class: Spirals, Fibonacci, and Being a Plant.”
    The main idea of this video was showing how a simple drawing spirals can be in anything and have something to do with math. Spirals are math and are spiral can even be on fruits. I like the part when she show sprial on the pinecone and pinneapple because you never think there is spiral on these things or even pay ateention to see if they were. One thing that I did dislike when she was explaning the Fibonacci because it got really confusing when that apply to spirals.

  20. uddinz says:

    zely uddin
    The main idea is how some countries are more developed with health and economy than others when time change. One thing i liked about is i see my country (Bangladesh) name on that its pretty good that its getting healthy and rich. Statistic related with this video and class.

  21. Marie Charles says:

    Video 2 200 Countries, 200 years, 4 minutes

    The main idea of this video seems as if it is demonstrating to us how various countries’ lifespan as well as health and wealth has evolved over the years . It shows how some countries have come a very long way with drasctic increases in their health, wealth, and lifespan and how other countries have evolved, but are still at the bottom of the grid struggling to catch up.

    One thing I liked was how informative the video was I appreciated the chart because of its cool graphics that clearly demonstrated the changes of the countries. It was a good visual of getting the information accross, which made it easy to understand.

    One thing I didnt like was the fact that although the speaker stated which bubbles belonged to which country in the very begining, after a while, towards the middle of the video, I got confused with which bubble represented which country again. I wish the bubbles would have been labeled with the countries or a even if there was a key to the side of the chart distinguishing the different countries/bubbles.

    This video definitely relates with this class because this is exactly what have been learning about as far as collecting, analyzing, interpreting data to result in some type of statistical answers or facts.

  22. Lisa Gocool says:

    Video #1
    The main idea of video #1 is how spirals can be found in many thing such as pine cones, flowers and vegetables. Also how math can be applied to spiral to calculate the number of spirals in an item. The video also describes how to used graphing paper to draw a very accurate spiral based on the number of spiral on an item. The one thing I enjoyed about this video was how math can be applied to everything. I was surprised that the number of spirals in the different items had a pattern. The only thing I did not enjoy from this video was that the narrator spoke extremely fast.

    • tchoedon says:

      i am amazed that how spirals is surrounded in our daily life. i know i like the second video but after watching the first video for several times i started to related this video to our class problem.

  23. Video1 was very interesting and the main idea is that math is part life, nature, and can be applied to everything around you. The one thing i liked about the video is how she used nature and the things we see everyday and applied it to math by using pine cones, flowers, and pineapples. there was nothing i didn’t like about the video i thought it was entertaining and different.

  24. yarinett says:

    The video that I watched and will comment on is 200 countries, 200 years, 4 minutes.
    The main idea of this video is to show how through the use of mathematics we can organize years of information in just minutes. We can also use math to organize and display information whether it has to do with history or tasks that we do on a daily basics.
    One thing I liked about the video is the way in which he used history for a long period of time and briefly summarized it using a graph. For me it is easier to understand that way because I am better at understanding math rather than history. It was also more interesting for me this way. However one thing I didn’t like about the video is how the same countries kept progressing and some like Africa and Asia stay at the bottom. It is connected to our class because the information was gathered and presenting using a graph and he even mentioned that he used statistics.

  25. Rubina Aktar says:

    Rubina Aktar

    Video: 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes.

    The main idea of this video was to show how countries prospered economically and in health over 200 years. Countries in Europe had an advantage of staying at the top while countries in Africa and Asia had a longer time. It was interesting to see how wars affected countries and how some continued to remain unaffected. I liked that this information was visualized and we could see how countries progressed over 200 years. One thing I did not like about this video was that you could not really tell which country was which. This relates to a great deal in our class of how data is collected and analyzed and put into a graph so it can be visualized.

  26. Rokshana Parvin/ Video# 2 says:

    The main idea of this video was to show how much progress countries made over the 200 years, economically. One thing i really like about this is the graphics because it was easier to understand what he was talking about and at the same time digest all the information he was giving through his little presentation. I don’t think there was anything to dislike about this video i actually liked the whole presentation. i think one way this video relate to the class or any other class is the way of teaching and making students understanding the materials in a very fun and interesting way.

  27. tchoedon says:

    tenzin choedon

    Video: 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes.
    this video is trying to tell us that in 200 years how all these countries have changed and affect our life. one thing i like about this video is the way they used the graph through present technology. there isn’t any thing that i don’t like. we have been learning this kind of math in our class.

    • Henny Rodriguez says:

      I agree with your statement and also found this video was unlikeable, it was actually very interesting. And the graph was a plus, made it no way near confusing and actually made you think about how statistically the world has changed. And in fact we have used those graphs in class.

  28. Manika Nestor says:

    Manika Nestor
    I chose video # 2

    The main idea of this Video is how one may relate drawing in your notebook may relate to a math. It is here to show though some mathematics course we take may seem useless in the real world they can easily be incorporated to things we do everyday. For example what is the probability of a class of 30 student 5 random students are drawing pictures and not paying attention. I honestly believe that it may be a high number. What I like and find amusing about this video is the rate at which it was done. Most people would find it difficult to follow because they young lady was speaking so fast but i liked it because it made it easier to follow her pictures as she drew them. the only thing about this video is i never drew spirals i always did the superman sign all on the corners of my page. The only thing i didnt like was the flowers.
    This video has everything to with statics its greats just makes me want to go more in depth in the class.



    OKAY , so honestly after watching and listening to thisvideo it said blah blah blah to me. the main idea of this video is to show us that even with doodling or drawing different type of spirals has a strong interaction with mathematics. As she inputs the fibinatchi #s by putting them in the demensions of different objects . This makes us realize that acorn which is a part of nature has its different stems that we never actally put into account. what i like about the video was the way she the narrator made everything finally comes into sense and they way she spoke really quickly to grab our attention to stay with her.

  30. hiutungchung says:

    Video #1

    The main idea of this video I think it shows us how the math actually occur and around our lives. Everything have their own law. Many different things grow by their own law. I like this video because she use many examples and colors to show us how the pines, pineapple, and flowers are following the “5:8 & 8:13” ratio. The colors and pictures that she draws help to understand what she wants to tell us. One thing I didn’t like the video is she is really talking too fast. If she can slow it down, maybe it will make people understand more.

  31. Henny Rodriguez says:

    Henny Rodriguez-200 countries, 200 years, 4 minutes
    This video’s main idea is the statistical change Of countries being richer and gettin older or dying younger because of poverty. Many countries that were before poorer and would die younger are now in the category of being richer and growing to be older. Drastically since 1810, the Americas and Asia have grown to be as rich and old as European countries. I like this video because I learned something I was unaware about and actually became full of knowledge about the statistics not only in the Americas but worldwide. There wasnt actually anything I disliked from this video which is weird cause I would of thought I would of been bored by the title but I was actually surprised on how interesting it was.

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