Poetry, Science & Math, OR why I love the web

by | Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A 5th grade science assignment, transformed. A rant about Mother Goose. A math poetry challenge!  How did that come to be? And what does that have to do with loving the Interwebs? Read on…

I had written earlier about how my 10 year-old daughter had been writing poems on science (Scientific Poems or Sci-Po’s for short). It all started with an extra-credit assignment she needed to do for her science class, and a need, I perceived, to keep her blog (Uniquely Mine) up-to-date. She has quite a few written now. For instance here is one about a news item about scientists finding dinosaur eggs (and other dino-stuff) in India (Cluster of dinosaur eggs found in southern India), and here’s the poem:

Dino eggs found in India

Archeologists in India, blinked
When they saw things that they thought were extinct
In the Indian state of Tamil Nadu
They found dino eggs, bones, and guess what, they found dino poo!

Independently of this, Sean Nash (of Nashworld) wrote a post (actually a mini-rant) about some mathematics related poetry he had found in Mother Goose (Read his complete post here: But Math is hard.) He was complaining in part about this poem (see below) and the negative feelings it could generate in his kids (and others too) about mathematics.

I wrote a comment on his blog describing Shreya’s Sci-Po project and Sean and I went back and forth a bit on his comments page, and that, as far as I was concerned, was that. Shreya wrote a few more Sci-Po’s, Sean went on with his life, till yesterday I received a note from Sean about a math blogger who had taken the idea of Sci-Po’s seriously and in a new direction.

“Math Mama writes” is a blog by Sue VanHattum, a community college math teacher interested in all levels of math learning, and the mama of a young son. She had a new post yesterday where she mentions Sean’s original posting and my comment on his blog. Building on my daughter’s Sci-Po’s she sets up a challenge for her readers, in essence to write Math-Po’s! She asks her readers, “to write a little kids’ poem …  that tells of the beauty of math, or, that mentions math and challenge, both in a positive way.” One reader has already taken her up on the challenge and I am sure there will be more to come.

In a post written many months ago (Gandhi, ambigrams, creativity & the power of small pieces loosely joined) I had described David Weinberger’s idea of the web as being small pieces loosely connected. These small pieces are there because someone took the time to put it out there, because they care about it deeply and passionately. I had written:

This idea of people putting things out there, not because they seek to make money but rather because they want to share their knowledge, their skills, their interests, and that what they put out there is immediately and widely accessible is what makes the web so interesting.

How cool is this entire sequence of events and the manner in which the openness of the web allows for such sharing of ideas and resources. This way a parent’s rant about Mother Goose, connects with a 5th grader’s blog and leads a number of people to write some cool poetry on mathematics! What an interesting and fascinating world we live in.

Image credit:  Iconfinder & Iconspedia

A few randomly selected blog posts…

Paris City of Love

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Exploring Organizational Creativity & Mindfulness with Ravi Kudesia

Exploring Organizational Creativity & Mindfulness with Ravi Kudesia

Recently our on-going series on creativity, technology and learning for the journal TechTrends has focused on the relationship between mindfulness and creativity, particularly in educational contexts. Our first article set the stage for a deeper dive into this...

TPACK Newsletter #23: May 2015

TPACK Newsletter, Issue #23: May 2015 Welcome to the twenty-third edition of the (approximately bimonthly) TPACK Newsletter! TPACK work is continuing worldwide. This document contains recent updates to that work that we hope will be interesting and useful to you, our...

Of garbage cans and psychological media

This has been a day of sad news from Stanford University. I blogged about the passing away of Dr. Nalini Ambady (see blog post here). I will digress a bit before I describe the second piece of news because the connection to me (and my work) is much more salient. Back...

What do they know? Video projects on understanding

In my summer classes I have the participants complete a video assignment on understanding. This year as always my students worked in groups over a week-and-a-half to select their topics, develop interview protocols, video tape people as they answered their questions,...

21st Century Skills? What do they mean?

A decade into the 21st century, how are we doing with the movement to "position 21st century skills at the center of US K-12 education." The National Journal Online has been conducting an discussion on this topic... some very interesting views represented there, from...

SITE08 Keynote YouTubed!

I just found out (via These Apples are Delicious blog, and more specifically this posting: Creative Teachers) that the keynote that Matt and I presented at SITE08 is now available on YouTube! Somebody went through the effort of breaking up the video into 5 parts and...

I can resist everything except temptation (or marshmallows)

Have you heard of the marshmallow experiment? It is a pretty famous experiment conducted at Stanford back in the 60's. Walter Mischel a psychologist conducted this experiment on four-year olds in which the children were given one marshmallow and promised a second...


  1. Sacha Shawcroft

    Wow! This is pretty sweet posts, I kind of agree so I am still enjoying this.

  2. Punya Mishra

    I love it. I have to show your students’ poems to Shreya. She’ll get a kick out of it. ~ punya

  3. laptops

    i think we all love the web… there are so many reasons that i could write,so i`ll just write just one : INFORMATION ! on the web these days you can find everything from nail to airplanes and moon landings,i guess you know what i mean ,greetings



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