Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Macbeth and Probability

     Kansas City educator Michael Round of the Center for autoSocratic Excellence has developed a host of math teaching tools -- and within them he often uses rhyming verses amid his diagrams and his prose.  Here are the opening lines of an activity in which he links Macbeth with probabilities:

The Royal Route He Took:  A Shakespeare Poem 
                                                                       by Michael Round

This Shakespeare tragedy,
Macbeth, you know the name.
His eventual downfall thinking
Probability is a game.

"Probability?" you may ask.
Shakespeare plays and math?
Be still and let me make the case,
But I'll take a frequent laugh.

Returning home in Scotland,
On foot -- he had no horse.
He came upon three witches
Who foretold his future course.

"King!" You are to be!
Excited, he told his wife.
"What about the current king?" 
They schemed to take his life.

From that point on, downhill.
That's why it's a tragedy.
I'd like to take a second look,
With Probability.

Assume each time you choose,
Here or there with equal chance;
50/50 probability 
In math parlance.
. . .

     At this point in Round's tale, diagrams begin to be an important ingredient -- along with additional mathematical terminology.  And so I invite you to go here (and scroll down) for a continuation of probabilistic Macbeth.
     AND, remember that  the month of April celebrates both poetry and mathematics.  Check out other poetry conversations happening this National Poetry Month at Couplets where poet and blogger Joanne Merriam is featuring a guided tour of a variety of poetry blogs.  Posted earlier on 4 September 2011, but matching the statistical theme of Math Awareness Month 2012, is Kathleen Flenniken's poem, "The Beauty of the Curve,"  In addition, a posting of Math Awareness Month activities may be found here

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