I have long been a fan of really elegant proofs. One of the best is Euclid's answer to the question: How many prime numbers are there?

cool proofs

Here is how my grade eight science classes go:

teaching, time management

For the non scientists out there, the alkali metals (the first group of the periodic table) are very very reactive. They don't occur in their elemental form in nature, because they react so rapidly with water or even air (oxygen). But, because I am teaching chemistry, the periodic nature of reactivity, and similar chemical properties of families, we (along with another crazy teacher in my science department) have decided to order lithium, sodium, and potassium for a demonstration of the high reactivity of alkali metals.

fun, chemistry, lab

When I tutor students, I get to know them quite a bit better than the ones I teach as part of a class. They open up to me about anything and everything, and sometimes this lets me understand them better. I learn from them, just by listening. A thing that came up during one of my tutoring sessions (with a girl named Erin) was the use of names. She was complaining that one of her teachers only used terms of endearment to her students, instead of their proper names. So instead of calling Erin: Erin, she would say: "Sweetheart", or "Dear".

[img_assist|nid=717|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=202|height=262] [img_assist|nid=718|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=202|height=262] My young kid, 3 years old, loves to play on the computer. He likes to type, draw, color, whatever. The Internet is pretty sparse for good children's games, but I came across a site that seems have a lot of high quality activities. The website is in Polish, but the games are obvious.

Check out dzieci.wp.pl.


When doing labs in the classroom, I need to be prepared to the nth degree. With the limited amount of time during a class (for setup, experiment, clean-up), for a smooth lab I need to be very organized. In fact, I do the lab myself ahead of time; I figure out what can go wrong, and then fix it before it gets to the kids. Actually, most of the time, I can't even predict what will go wrong when the students start playing around with the equipment, so I have to be flexible, very decisive when the time comes for the unfortunate event of a problem. In fact, things going wrong is a good thing.

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There once was a fantastic television show called MacGuyver, which followed the adventures of the most exceptional problem solver you can think of. The show was not about characters or drama or action, although each episode had little bits of each. The show was about heaving MacGuyver ever-more-difficult problems to solve with ever-fewer resources.

"Problem Solving"

Here's a tough problem: Suppose you are the publisher of a paper and you want to get an estimate of the quality. In particular, you want to estimate how many unfound grammar and spelling errors remain in a paper after it has passed through your editing staff. How, you might ask, could we possibly know how many errors haven't been found if we never find them? That sounds so obviously impossible that it's stupid to ask! Right?


The online ordering for The First Book of Hexa-Trex Puzzles is up and running. These books would make a fantastic stocking stuffer for any puzzle-loving family member. We send them out within 24 hrs.

Please let me know if you run into any problems.


Today my engineering friend let me in on a secret: 

What is the only thing students need to learn in high school (speaking in terms of math)?

TRIGONOMETRY - identities, half angle formulas, trig addition formulas, etc.