Saturday, February 25, 2012


    For the last several weeks, I have been subscribed to the Math Dude podcast. In the first podcast I listened to “How to Memorize Numbers”. In this episode, math dude gave his listeners some tips on how to remember numbers by turning them into phrases. As an example, he said imagine you need to memorize the number 54,321. Using the Major System, you’ve converted these digits into the series of consonants “l-r-m-n-d”. Then, because you’re clever, you add in vowels and one “h” to turn this into the fairly memorable phrase “alarm hand.” He says that in order to remember this, the trick to doing this is to not actually try to remember the semi-memorable phrases you come up with, but instead to turn those phrases into impossible-to-forget mental pictures. For the previous example “alarm hand”, math dude says to think about waking up to the sound of your alarm and opening your eyes to see a huge hand hovering over you. The end result is that you’ll have turned your number into an out-of-the-ordinary mental picture that you truly can’t forget. At the end of the episode, math dude gives a couple practice problems.

Math Dude here!


The next episode I listened to was called “What is scientific notation?” In this episode math dude talks about what scientific notation is and how we can use it. The idea behind scientific notation is to write all numbers as decimal numbers times multiples of ten. In order to understand this, you must realize that any number that’s greater than or equal to 1 can be written as: some number of 1s (meaning 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and so on up through 9), plus…some number of 10s (meaning 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, and so on up through 90), plus…some number of 100s (that is 100, 200, and so on through 900), plus…some number of 1,000s, plus…some number of 10,000s, and on and on up to some multiple of as large of a power of ten as needed. For example, a number like 4,250,000 can be thought of as: 4,000,000 + 200,000 + 50,000 = (4 x 1,000,000) + (2 x 100,000) + (5 x 10,000). Math dude goes on to explain how to write large number in scientific notation and gives a practice problem of the day.


The last episode I listened to was called How to Convert Between Fahrenheit and Celsius. In this episode math dude explains how we measure temperature through a thermometer. The thermometer is scales on it that is marked in either degrees Fahrenheit or degrees Celsius, depending on where you are. In order to convert from Fahrenheit to Celsius, the quick and dirty tip is to remember that temperature in degrees Celsius = (temperature in degrees Fahrenheit – 32) / 1.8. For example, to convert a temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit (which is the boiling point of water) into a temperature on the Celsius scale, simply subtract 32 from 212 to get 212 – 32 = 180, and then divide this number by 1.8 to get 180 / 1.8 = 100 degrees Celsius. In order to covert degrees Celsius to degrees Fahrenheit you must first multiplying by 1.8 and then adding 32 to the result, like this: temperature in degrees Fahrenheit = (temperature in degrees Celsius • 1.8) + 32. Math dude ends by giving a few practice problems. 

Here is a short tutorial on how to covert from Celsius to Fahrenheit!  



Overall, I think the math dude podcast is good for students because they are able to learn a lot if they pay close attention. One problem I could see is that math dude talks fairly quickly and it is easy to get lost. I can see students have trouble keeping up and understanding what he is talking about all the time. I feel like this would be better for higher grades.


Grammar Girl!

The next podcast I am subscribed to is called Grammar Girl. In the first episode I listened to, called When to use Articles Before Nouns, grammar girl talks about the fact that with countable singular nouns, you have to have a determiner. Use whatever determiner you need; in particular, use “the” if you’re distinguishing the noun from other things; use “a” if you’re not. With proper nouns, plural nouns, and mass nouns, determiners aren’t necessary, though you can still use them depending on the meaning you’re after. Remember not to use  “a” or any other determiner that implies counting with a mass noun.


The next episode I listened to was called Why are British English and American English so Different? In this episode, grammar girl discusses how American English is different from British English because of the revolutionary leanings of a dictionary writer (Noah Webster), typesetting conventions, geographical separation, and the opinion of one influential style guide author.


The last episode I listened to was called Sentence Fragments. Grammar girl begins talking about fragments. A complete sentence must have a noun and a verb. Verb is an action word. The subject is doing the action of the verb. Imperative sentences are a command, such as “Run!” There are some tests to determine if the sentence is a fragment. First, ask yourself is there a verb? If there is not a verb, it is a fragment. Another way is to determine if it is a fragment, you can ask yourself if there is a verb but no subject- is it a command? If not, it’s a fragment.


Overall, I think that Grammar girl is a good podcast. She talks slower and makes the episodes interesting. She is easy to understand and give a lot of good pointers. I would definitely recommend this for students.

Here are the websites for these podcasts!

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