[Edu-sig] CP4E and the Python thread

Kirby Urner pdx4d@teleport.com
Thu, 15 Jun 2000 16:41:10 -0700

I've continued to share re my "math through programming" vision 
(these days Python-centric), on the Math Forum, in many ways 
the hub website for the math educator community.

Here's an example thread:
http://mathforum.com/epigone/k12.ed.math/tahwhawar (first 
post of June 6 is almost verbatim something from here -- 
fixed a typo -- followed by two additional posts, so far, 
Brian Harvey's of June 7 and mine of June 12).

As some of you know, Python is one of several threads weaving 
in to my "PowerPoint presentation" (just came back from one of 
those seminars where all the presenters have laptops and use 
PowerPoint to help them walk through their talk).

Among other items of interest re my school of thought
(PowerPoint slide):  We...


At the Oregon Curriculum Network website we:

  *  Use Polyhedra to introduce OOP[1]
  *  Organize Polyhedra as per the Fuller hieararchy (FH)
        -- R. Buckminster Fuller being the futurist, and 
        geodesic dome guy)[2]
  *  Use a sphere packing lattice for context (not 
        just XYZ)[3]
  *  Use triangular packing (not just grid of squares)
  *  Develop Pascal's Triangle (PT) as a tandem "hub" for 
        basing math explorations (i.e. PT + FH in sphere 
        packing context)


In other words, there's an aesthetic/theme (as in "desktop theme" 
for you Windows user) which converges with Python for me (Python 
having its own thematics, e.g. Monty Python plus assorted snakes, 
and lets not forget personalities).

Another slide:


         CP4E = Numeracy + Computer Literacy

         Logic:  All need to learn some math
                 Some math means some programming (these days)
                 Ergo: All need to learn some programming

         OCN approach: (just one of a great many feasible):

               Python + Povray + HTML

         ... start somewhere, add more tools/skills as you go


Another slide:


         Math content:

         Fuller's Hierarchy (FH)
                 Volume table
                 Sphere packing context
                     FCC/HCP/BCC/SC (IVM)
                 Jitterbug Transformation
                 Angle/Frequency distinction
                 Principles/Cases distinction

         Pascal's Triangle (PT)         
                 Triangular Numbers
                 Tetrahedral Numbers
                 Fibonacci Numbers
                 Binomial Theorem
                 Pascal's Tetrahedron
                    Prime numbers in...
                    Trinomial Theorem
                 Gaussian distribution (Bell Curves)
                 Probability and Permutations


My seminars these last two days weren't anything to do with Python 
or math ed (directly), had more to do with organ transplants and 
"cadaverous livers" (there's a connection here to "The Meaning 
of Life" however, as in:  "but I'm _using_ it!").[4]

I gave myself permission to go to towards the deep end of the pool 
in http://mathforum.com/epigone/math.teaching.technology/freldskeldky
discussing in my 2nd post how to generalize from simple domain/range 
lingo to a more overview/big picture perspective, ala NASA-style 
computer-enabled countdowns (t-minus whatever) to whatever milestones 
(e.g. liftoff).  

Then I assure people I'm not trying to crush more spiritual 
vocabularies by sounding to "techno" all the time (on the contrary, 
I'm leaving that door wide open) -- a kind of reassurance I'm sure 
others would rather not see.  

Only after posting this meditation did I discover Dr. Knuth's lengthy 
lecture series on God and Computers at MIT, viewable/hearable via 
the web thanks to Dr. Dobbs Journal.[5]  OK, well that works.  Knuth 
has already figured prominently in my posts to this list.  He's a
"weighty Friend" (as we Quakers say -- nevermind that Knuth is a 
Lutheran by the sound of it). This helps provide balance/ballast -- 
I don't want my school of thought to degenerate into purely cult-like 
aesthetics (remembering what Matthias said about Pythoneers being 
cultish -- a warning from a sage).[6]

Curriculum writer
Oregon Curriculum Network

[1] http://www.inetarena.com/~pdx4d/ocn/oop.html
[2] http://www.bfi.org/
[3] http://www.teleport.com/~pdx4d/octet.html
[4] http://www.montypython.net/sounds/meaning/liver.wav
[5] http://www.technetcast.com/tnc_program.html?program_id=50
[6] http://forum.swarthmore.edu/epigone/amte/snuquoiyor
    (see Feb 1 post)