Thursday, August 29, 2019

Enrich Mathematics Classes with Poems

    In my mathematics classrooms, I have found it a challenge to include the history and spirit of mathematics -- and its people -- along with the math topics to be covered.  Because I love poetry -- and also write some -- I gradually became aware of poems that could enrich my classes and I began to incorporate poetry in outside readings and essay topics and class discussions.

Here are links to poems that introduce the lives of four math-women:
     Sophie Germain (1776-1831)
     Florence Nightingale  (1820-1910)
     Amalie "Emmy" Noether  (1882-1935)
     Grace Murray Hopper (1906 - 1988)
And here is a poem about four influential teachers of mine; three of them math-people; three of them women.

Math Anxiety can be a hard topic for student or teacher to bring up -- but airing of views and healing might come from discussion.  Poems to consider include: 
     "Barbie Says Math is Hard" by Kyoko Mori -- a portion is found here in "Girls and Mathematics," Audre Lorde's poem "Hanging Fire" tells of a girl overlooked for the Math Team, and my poem  "Which Girl Am I?" also deals with concerns of mathy girls.  There are many hurdles that girls-in-math face; this link leads to a collection of my recently-published syllable-square stanzas entitled "Give HER Your Support."

Rita Dove's poem, "Geometry" tells of the excitement of learning mathematics; here's its opening stanza:
               I prove a theorem and the house expands:
             the windows jerk free to hover near the ceiling,
             the ceiling floats away with a sigh.

Perhaps the poems cited above will interest you and your students.
     OR perhaps you will want to browse further in this blog --
               perhaps scanning  the list of labels 
                     or conducting a Search for a topic of interest.
ALSO, I invite you to email me your questions (address at page-bottom).

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