Lawrence "Larry" Lesser is a professor in the Mathematical Sciences Department at the University of Texas in El Paso and a widely published creator of mathy poems. Here are the opening stanzas of a poem that appeared in the Winter 2021 issue of Teaching for Excellence and Equity in Mathematics (TEEM), a journal of the NCTM affiliate organization TODOS: Mathematics for ALL.
₵EL by Lawrence Mark Lesser
Cancel is from Latin for ‘make like a lattice’,
like crisscrossed wood fencing
in our backyard where we safely
dine with friends,
or like COVID-caused crossouts
a cancelled appointment (dis-appointment)
or music event (dis-concerting).
Teachers don’t like saying ‘cancel’
lest students get carried away,
cancelling sixes of 26/65,
which does equal two-fifths
but it’s ‘cause we multiplied by 1/13 over 1/13,
another name for one.
And don’t say we ‘reduced to lowest terms’
lest students think it shrank.
But context factors into when
2/5 is less clear than 26/65
for the chance of drawing a black card
from a deck augmented by another deck’s diamonds
while with y = (x² – 1)/(x – 1),
the whole limit
at x = 1.
. . . For the rest of this clever mathy poem, follow this link.