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Saturday, April 18, 2015

The New York Times: Prof Brings Mathematics to Life by Mime

"Without saying a word, a man walks on stage carrying a case full of small plungers. Each time he reaches in the case to take some plungers out, he tries to array them in order on a table in front of him, but he always has one left over. Five, seven, 13: No matter what number, there is still that one left alone, and the man gets visibly, but silently, more exasperated at each turn." continues New York Times.

Tim Chartier practicing a skit. He and his wife perform at colleges, math conferences, festivals and schools across the country. 
Photo: New York Times

The man is a mime named Tim Chartier, whose day job is associate professor in the department of mathematics and computer science at Davidson College in North Carolina. The plunger skit and many others that he and his wife, Tanya, have developed are part of their Mime-matics business. Having learned from the master of the craft, Marcel Marceau, they use their skills in mime to teach mathematics in a decidedly unconventional way.

How best to teach math and science has, in recent years, worried educators, parents and students alike. It has become one of the most concerning aspects of the much-debated Common Core State Standards, which set benchmarks for the teaching of reading and math nationwide. The Chartiers do not claim to have a magic bullet to allay that worry, but they hope their Mime-matics business is at least one answer to the math-phobia that seems to pervade American society.
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Source: New York Times


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