Sol Lederman, at the blog Wild About Math, had an idea of a blog-review-exchange (he writes reviews of math-related blogs, in return for math blogs reviewing his) [see his post here]. I like this idea, if for no other reason that I get introduced to new math blogs through reading his reviews. So here I go.
Wild About Math has been in existence since October 2007. His first post clearly articulated the goal for starting his blog: “This blog is the expression of a life-long passion that I’ve had for all things mathematical. My sincere desire is to share articles, reviews, and links to products, services, and web-sites that inspire people of all ages to enjoy Math.” Sol is uncharacteristic in that he was able to continually maintain the original intent of his blog for months (to the present!), without giving into laziness or devolving into a forum for personal screeds (although I do have a soft spot in my heart for the blogs with the latter).
My favorite aspect of Sol’s blog is the Monday Math Madness competition, which is alternates between Wild About Math and Blinkdagger. [The current MMM problem is here.] In recent months, besides the mini-blog-reviews, most of the blog posts on Wild About Math are related to Monday Math Madness. The problems are easy to state, range from easy to difficult, but always are engaging. The best part is that one (usually) doesn’t need more than precalculus to solve the problems, and usually less. Some of the best questions take forever to think through, even though they don’t require higher level mathematics. Those are the best kinds! I have even gotten one of my high school students hooked — and he is sending in solutions to the competitions when he has time!
Although the original intent of the blog has been maintained, the nature of the content has shifted. As I noted, in recent months, Sol has focused on nurturing his (wonderful) Monday Math Madness contests. However, before this contest started, Sol had frequently posted about everything and anything math, like neat websites about fractals or speed multiplication. To see the nature of these posts, some of Sol’s favorites in fact, you can check them out here. And I don’t know if this is still happening, because I am not a subscriber and didn’t know about this until looking through the back-blog-posts, but Sol offers (or used to offer) a supplemental periodic email called “Math Bites”.
Some of my favorite posts:
- Experience With Math Camps? (which inspired me to write my own recollections! )
- Uncountably Many Errors in In Texas Math Books (the type of information that I’d miss if I didn’t read this blog)
- Review: Numbers Juggling (a review of a math website which goes in depth – we need more reviews like these)
- A Hard But Fascinating Puzzle (a problem which got me thinking deeply!)
- TI-Nspire Inspires Math Students (a review of the TI-Nspire)
Overall, this is definitely a blog worth keeping in your reader (or putting into your reader if it’s not there yet) for the Monday Math Madness contests. I do wish, however, that at least once in a while Sol would continue to post same types of posts — the great reviews of books, math resources, and calculators, the “for fun” math puzzles, for the math news — that defined the blog before Monday Math Madness came into the picture.
 You can read it here.
Sam – Excellent review. I appreciate your telling it like you see it. I’ll write a review of your site on my blog and I’ll address the points you raise.
@Sol: Thanks. I figured I’d be at least a little analytic. I realized this sentence could have been misread
“Sol is uncharacteristic in that he was able to continually maintain the original intent of his blog for months, without giving into laziness or devolving into a forum for personal screeds”
I didn’t mean your blog was good for a few months and then turned lazy — but realized it could have been read as that! I wanted to get across that you succeeded in keeping up the original intent of your blog since you’ve started (although the content itself shifted more recently). So I modified that to say “for months (to the present!)”
I know this wasn’t the topic of this post, but what are your thoughts about / experiences with the TI-Nspire? I’ve heard raves, but I have some pretty strong Luddite tendencies when it comes to kids using hand-held technology. I’ve seen what the TI-8x’s have wrought on their ability to use their own brains. (I know, it’s not the technology itself, it’s how teachers have been using it, that being ubiquitously.) Were I to start using the Nspire in class, I think I would, for one, prohibit its use on almost all assessments.
… I really do need my own blog, don’t I. :-)
@Matt: first things first… I’m wearing you down!
But I have to say that I’m totally ignorant when it comes to the Nspire. I too have heard raves, but when it comes down to it, I’ve never played with it, and I haven’t yet seen what the range of capabilities it has.
My old department head is at a new school, which all the students have the Nspire, and he seems to LOVE it.
I’m reserving judgment until I can play around with one for a week. I’d love for TI to send me one to review, like they did with Sol at Wild About Math (hint hint, nudge, nudge, TI!).