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Requesting Math Help (Vanity)
12/14/07 | self

Posted on 12/14/2007 2:03:12 PM PST by murphE

My 9th grader needs to write a 10 page term paper for her 10th grade honors math class. (Which I find strange). Anyway she is having a difficult time choosing a topic - it cannot be a biography. She was thinking about writing about math used in computer graphics, but she is having a difficult time finding sources that are written anywhere near her level. She needs at least one text as a source - it cannot all be from the internet.

Any of you math teachers, general brainiacs, computer geniuses etc. out there who could offer suggestions on a topic and or sources we'd both be extremely grateful.

Please post any questions or responses to malokitty (that's my girl)

Much thanks in advance,

murph


TOPICS: Computers/Internet; Education; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: geometry; math; mathematics
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1 posted on 12/14/2007 2:03:13 PM PST by murphE
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To: murphE; Malokitty

Ping


2 posted on 12/14/2007 2:04:04 PM PST by murphE (These are days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed but his own. --G.K. Chesterton)
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To: murphE

What about the origin of the zero?


3 posted on 12/14/2007 2:05:15 PM PST by RightWhale (anti-razors are pro-life)
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To: murphE

How Andrew Wiles cracked the Taniyama-Shimura conjecture and therefore proved Fermat’s last theorem.


4 posted on 12/14/2007 2:05:16 PM PST by coloradan (Failing to protect the liberties of your enemies establishes precedents that will reach to yourself.)
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To: murphE
She can try using this but tell her to be very careful not to plagerize.


5 posted on 12/14/2007 2:08:04 PM PST by ShadowDancer ("To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone.")
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To: murphE; Malokitty
How about Fibonacci Numbers?
6 posted on 12/14/2007 2:09:43 PM PST by Clint N. Suhks (Roses are reddish-Violets are bluish-If it weren’t for Christmas-We’d all be Jewish.©®™)
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To: murphE; Malokitty

A big field of computer graphics is 3-d modeling and CAD. There are lots of topics there: geometry, boolean logic, wireframe systems, solids, surfaces, etc. Try googling “solid modeling cad math” for some inspiration or starting points.


7 posted on 12/14/2007 2:09:55 PM PST by Lil'freeper (Don't taze me, bro!)
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To: murphE; Malokitty

A nice mathematical topic on which there are plenty of print sources is mathematical cryptology.

“Invitation to Cryptology” by Barr is a nice book, and has plenty of ideas for more specific topics, as well as setting down the mathematics to understand them.

The breaking of the Enigma cipher is an old stand-by, but a paper on public key encryption would be able to include more actual mathematics (Euler’s extension of Fermat’s Little Theorem, and its use as the basis for RSA encryption).

Of course, as I joke when I teach the subject, if you know the RSA algorithm, you might be classed as a munition and find yourself subject to export control.


8 posted on 12/14/2007 2:11:15 PM PST by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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To: ShadowDancer

One wonders why a ninth grader is in a tenth grade honors math class.


9 posted on 12/14/2007 2:12:20 PM PST by bert (K.E. N.P. +12 . Moveon is not us...... Moveon is the enemy)
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To: murphE
10th Grade, huh? Here's the best I can do (for ideas):

Sudoku and Other Diversions [Free Republic].

Don't forget to tell her that it's not considered cheating to find a source using the Internet, then go to a library and source (bibliographically) it through a hardcopy. That's commonly referred-to as "doing your homework."
10 posted on 12/14/2007 2:12:30 PM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: murphE
Here's an interesting mathematically-oriented game (although probably more geometry here, rather):

Planarity.

11 posted on 12/14/2007 2:18:13 PM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: Clint N. Suhks
I was going to suggest the same thing. The Fabulous Fibonacci Numbers

Here's another good idea: Divine Proportion: Phi In Art, Nature, and Science

12 posted on 12/14/2007 2:18:52 PM PST by BubbaBasher (WWW.TWFRED08.COM)
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To: RightWhale
What about the origin of the zero?

That would be a great topic. She could bring in the Babylonians, Mayans, Hindus ...

By the way, do you know which number divided by zero is not undefined, and why?

Answer Here

13 posted on 12/14/2007 2:19:07 PM PST by Red_Devil 232 (VietVet - USMC All Ready On The Right? All Ready On The Left? All Ready On The Firing Line!)
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To: murphE; Tijeras_Slim; Constitution Day; hellinahandcart
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Oooh! Haven't had to do one of these in a looong time!

14 posted on 12/14/2007 2:20:30 PM PST by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: murphE
My 9th grader needs to write a 10 page term paper for her 10th grade honors math class.

Suggestions:

1) The Fibonicci thing indicated in another post.
2) PI - Teachers LOVE PI...
3) "Math in Everyday Life" - Many highschoolers take the attitude of "I'll never use this stuff." (Those people, as adults, are now stuck with bad home loans.) Inability to assess simple Time Value of Money problems causes MANY bad financial decisions. Geometry is very useful in construction, home repairs, and a million other things. Algebra solves many day to day problems. What mix of a and b to make the desired output, etc.

15 posted on 12/14/2007 2:23:23 PM PST by Onelifetogive (* Sarcasm tag ALWAYS required. For some FReepers, sarcasm can NEVER be obvious enough.)
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To: murphE; Malokitty
Perhaps you might consider using a simple Excel spreadsheet to demonstrate the magic of compound interest. Say you invested $20 dollars today - what will it be when you are ready for college at, say, 5% annual interest? 10%? What if you compound it monthly? What happens if you let it be until you're 65? Use the graphing function to show how it goes up. Research the current annual rate you could get with a savings account at your local bank and plug that number in. A CD? An average mutual fund?

Prepare to be amazed... ;-)

16 posted on 12/14/2007 2:24:51 PM PST by Billthedrill
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To: murphE

pi or i (square root of -1) would both be interesting


17 posted on 12/14/2007 2:32:47 PM PST by Irxfxs
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To: RightWhale
What about the origin of the zero?

That would be easy...The zero was created by an Islamic mathematician, and since then, Islam has contributed ZERO to civilized society! Leave the rest of the pages blank...

18 posted on 12/14/2007 2:42:26 PM PST by Captainpaintball
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To: ShadowDancer

As tempting as that sounds, I have a bad feeling that’s not exactly what my math teacher had in mind.


19 posted on 12/14/2007 2:46:57 PM PST by Malokitty
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To: Irxfxs; Onelifetogive; Red_Devil 232; BubbaBasher; 1rudeboy; The_Reader_David; Lil'freeper; ...
Thank-you all for your help and ideas. I’m am going to look them up and hopefully find an easier topic. I want to do well on this to bring my grade up a bit. Once again, thank you for your assistance.
20 posted on 12/14/2007 2:46:58 PM PST by Malokitty
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To: murphE

I had an OpenGL book when I was in college. I might still have it. If I do, I’ll post back with the title and author.


21 posted on 12/14/2007 2:52:07 PM PST by JamesP81 (The over-commercialization of Christmas: maximizing what doesn't matter, and minimizing what does.)
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To: murphE; Malokitty
How about: "Why 'imaginary' numbers are real," (a discussion of complex numbers and how they show up in everyday life)

Another interesting topic might be a discussion of fractals, with a side-track into visualization of fractals.

Or, more generally, visualization techniques for mathematics in general (see, e.g., this paper to get a sense of topic).

22 posted on 12/14/2007 2:55:26 PM PST by r9etb
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To: murphE

Can it be on statistics? I would think a statistical analysis on the election of 2000 would be interesting. Perhaps that could be a topic. Of course I am horrible in math and actually had to take statistics twice at Florida State...does not accept a D. lol.


23 posted on 12/14/2007 2:58:02 PM PST by napscoordinator
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To: Captainpaintball

Actually, zero was stolen from Hindu mathematicians when Moslem mathematicians read their stuff after the genocidal Moslem conquest of India.


24 posted on 12/14/2007 3:12:13 PM PST by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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To: murphE

How about the Fire Control Solution used by our Battleships in WWII?


25 posted on 12/14/2007 3:28:13 PM PST by Deaf Smith
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To: ShadowDancer

That’s about my speed.


26 posted on 12/14/2007 3:29:09 PM PST by murphE (These are days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed but his own. --G.K. Chesterton)
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To: murphE

Mine too as long as the counting doesn’t go past the number five on the cover.


27 posted on 12/14/2007 3:32:53 PM PST by ShadowDancer ("To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone.")
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To: bert
One wonders why a ninth grader is in a tenth grade honors math class.

Unlike her mother, she's kinda smart. = ) She has an A- average in this class, but she'd like an A. Math is her most challenging class.

28 posted on 12/14/2007 3:33:24 PM PST by murphE (These are days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed but his own. --G.K. Chesterton)
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To: murphE

Have you considered gaming math? Explain how the math of slot machines work. It’s simple really.


29 posted on 12/14/2007 3:34:02 PM PST by ChiefChris
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To: murphE; Malokitty
I have your term paper here.

There is a group of about 300 FReepers that use their computers to help crunch proteins to advance medical research such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and many cancers.

In nature, misfolded proteins cause a slow buildup of poisons that eventually kill us. Computer simulation is the least expensive and quickest method to prove a conclusion.

The latest thread is here:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1929553/posts

A better thread with additional links is here:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1906532/posts

The main page at Stanford University is here:

http://folding.stanford.edu/

From the front page of Folding@home:

“Folding@home is a distributed computing project — people from throughout the world download and run software to band together to make one of the largest supercomputers in the world. Every computer takes the project closer to our goals. Folding@home uses novel computational methods coupled to distributed computing, to simulate problems millions of times more challenging than previously achieved.”

Here are ideas concerning the paper:

1. This paper on MATH touches dozens of other disciplines, among them applied math, math and computers, pure scientific research, applied research, genetics and many more.

2. You will be able to show the interdisciplinary aspects of math and how it can advance other research beyond expectations.

3. Grab a PS3, load up F@H, and use it in your discussion. Talk about how the Cell processor uses math to speed up calculations to the PetaFLOP range. Also make for lots of pretty pictures, and all kids like game systems. Compare a PS3 running F@H with a desktop computer to see which is faster.

4. There is lots of material to pull from, lots of graphics to pretty up the report, and even Youtube videos to help explain the process if you make a multimedia presentation.

5. Show how you can combine all of the computers in the entire district into a gigantic supercomputer that will help cure someone’s grandmother’s Alzheimer's. This generates lots of statistics that can fill Excel sheets forever.

Some FReepers, Klutz Dohanger and josephw (I think) are education professionals that have converted computers to run F@H in the background. Klutz is the #82 folder in the entire world, and our team is #52 in the world. Many schools and colleges fold.

6. Look here for papers and results from F@H:

http://folding.stanford.edu/English/Papers

If you can understand these papers, then help explain them to us. Seriously.

“- 54.Calculation of the distribution of eigenvalues and eigenvectors in Markovian state models for molecular dynamics
- 53. Heterogeneity Even at the Speed Limit of Folding: Large-scale Molecular Dynamics Study of a Fast-folding Variant of the Villin Headpiece
- 52. Control of Membrane Fusion Mechanism by Lipid Composition: Predictions from Ensemble Molecular Dynamics.
- 51. Persistent voids: a new structural metric for membrane fusion.
- 50. Protein folding under confinement: a role for solvent.
- 49. Automatic State Decomposition Algorithm.”

And there are lots, lots more where these came from.

8. JMOL. Using math to simulate atomic scale interactions inside a computer. Look here:

http://jmol.sourceforge.net/

9. In high schools, pretty pictures mean a lot (and take up space in a long report). There are dozens of images that can be used on Google. I still like the idea of a multimedia report. It is an honors class after all.

10. Ping generally and grey whiskers, who currently work with math or remember the math from long ago.

11. Ping me for questions that stump you.

In all seriousness, you could write a paper, come up with experiments that can be performed in the school that cost nothing except time, involve many branches of science, look good in a multimedia presentation, show how every day computers can be made to serve a higher purpose, start a race with other schools and universities across the world, and, if all else fails, you can tug on their heartstrings showing how this work can help save their GRANDMOTHER.

Hope that it helps.

30 posted on 12/14/2007 3:36:11 PM PST by texas booster (Join FreeRepublic's Folding@Home team (Team # 36120) Cure Alzheimer's!)
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To: texas booster

31 posted on 12/14/2007 3:40:02 PM PST by texas booster (Join FreeRepublic's Folding@Home team (Team # 36120) Cure Alzheimer's!)
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To: Captainpaintball

That would be easy but it is not true.


32 posted on 12/14/2007 3:40:39 PM PST by RightWhale (anti-razors are pro-life)
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To: murphE; Malokitty
Check it out:


33 posted on 12/14/2007 3:43:19 PM PST by Momaw Nadon ("...with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.")
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To: RightWhale
That would be easy but it is not true.

Whoops! you are right, post 24 is the correct version...

34 posted on 12/14/2007 3:44:52 PM PST by Captainpaintball
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To: murphE

I did one on how to lie with statics. Knowing how makes you question what you hear others claim.


35 posted on 12/14/2007 4:10:39 PM PST by ThomasThomas (An investigative journalist is one who uses spellcheck.)
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To: ChiefChris

Would that be enough for ten pages though?


36 posted on 12/14/2007 4:20:36 PM PST by Malokitty
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To: murphE

A lot of these ideas are interesting, but may not be at all what the teacher actually wants. Is the teacher looking for equations/proofs or exposition? If the latter, then Wiles’ proof of Fermat’s last theorem would be an appropriate topic...if the former, then the teacher would expect the student to actually understand Wiles’ proof...in which case it would not be a good topic.


37 posted on 12/14/2007 5:19:19 PM PST by scrabblehack
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To: Malokitty

This is actually a very interesting subject. I had a client who was very involved in the gaming industry in Las Vegas - he was in charge of programming the slot machines and making sure they worked. This sometimes involved his being dragged out of bed at 3 AM to fly across country to fix machines for which only he had expertise/passwords/OK from “management.” In addition to the actual math involved, you might want to get into the “sub-culture” issues a little. You could get into the probabilities at the other games (blackjack, roulette, etc.) if you needed more. Good luck. All these posts have been very informative and inspirational, and I don’t even like math.


38 posted on 12/14/2007 5:46:51 PM PST by PinkChampagneonIce
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To: murphE
She was thinking about writing about math used in computer graphics, but she is having a difficult time finding sources that are written anywhere near her level.

One of the classic papers on ray tracing I think is quite approachable: Turner Whitted's 1980 paper An Improved Illumination Model for Shaded Display.

She could also use the Wikipedia article on ray tracing to find other material on developments in the area.

39 posted on 12/14/2007 6:05:13 PM PST by snowsislander
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To: ChiefChris
Have you considered gaming math? Explain how the math of slot machines work. It’s simple really.

Great idea! Once you understand probability, you will never look at a casino the same way again!
In the early 70's I spent a year working as a math & science paraprofessional at a junior high school in the northern suburbs of Chicago. I was only a few years older than the students I was helping to teach!
Brought an antique Mills 5 cent machine to the school and showed the kids the calculations and math principles that ultimately proved that the jackpot was statistically only going to occur once in every 8000 pulls of the handle.

I often wonder where some of those students ended up!
(Carlton Washburne Jr High- Winnetka, IL 1972-1973 school year)

40 posted on 12/14/2007 6:38:28 PM PST by Knute (Tell me again ONE good reason I'm living here in Wisconsin??)
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To: murphE; Malokitty

Lots of ideas on some of these sites:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=math+%2B+%22term+paper%22


41 posted on 12/14/2007 8:40:09 PM PST by LibFreeOrDie (L'Chaim!)
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To: martin_fierro

Good post.

I thought I was having flashbacks from 2005, Korea.


42 posted on 12/14/2007 8:42:31 PM PST by Jet Jaguar (Who would the terrorists vote for?)
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To: murphE
Kids with math skills need cultivation....future will belong to them...

Was just looking at these:

The Mathematician's Brain: A Personal Tour Through the Essentials of Mathematics and Some of the Great Minds Behind Them (Hardcover)
by David Ruelle (Author)


43 posted on 12/15/2007 11:32:30 AM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (No Burkas for my Grandaughters!)
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To: Malokitty
See above link at post # 43 for text for the books. Math , just about any math and the required logical thinking will put you ahead of the competition....it is super important.

I worked with a student with a student using the book....The Story of Numbers....How Mathematics has shaped Civilization...seemed to be a book that was at about the right level ...by John McLeish...

She really enjoyed it,....we did puzzle how the babylons taught their children to do fractions in a base 60 number system....

Link to Amazon:

The Story of Numbers: How Mathematics Has Shaped Civilization (Paperback)

44 posted on 12/15/2007 11:46:36 AM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (No Burkas for my Grandaughters!)
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To: murphE
Abbott and Costello: 13 X 7 = 28

Abbott and Costello" Give Me My Money

Unknown movie: 5 in to 25 goes 14 times!

-PJ

45 posted on 12/15/2007 11:58:21 AM PST by Political Junkie Too (Repeal the 17th amendment -- it's the "Fairness Doctrine" for Congress!)
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To: murphE

Check out the Trachtenberg system. Interesting story behind it, too.


46 posted on 12/15/2007 12:02:28 PM PST by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly.)
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To: Irxfxs; murphE
I agree ... write a paper on pi and the day you have to present it, bring in a special pie for the teacher and the class ... they'll love it and the it will blow the teacher away.


47 posted on 12/15/2007 12:13:33 PM PST by Daffynition (The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear.)
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To: murphE
If she is interested in Pixar-style computer graphics, I suggest "The RenderMan Companion" by Steven Upstill.

The math can get a little complicated at times, but the book does show how math is useful in creating popular movies like "Ratatouille".

48 posted on 12/15/2007 12:16:00 PM PST by HAL9000 (Fred Thompson/Mike Huckabee 2008)
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To: The_Reader_David
Of course, as I joke when I teach the subject, if you know the RSA algorithm, you might be classed as a munition and find yourself subject to export control.

Didn't the government drop that, or is it still causing Phil Zimmerman problems, all these years later?

Mark

49 posted on 12/15/2007 3:25:55 PM PST by MarkL
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To: MarkL

I don’t know, but it’s still a good joke.


50 posted on 12/16/2007 10:22:06 AM PST by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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