Monday, February 04, 2013

Dot Product

We're in our vector unit for precalculus, and today we learned about the dot product and its uses. Nothing too mind boggling, but here's the worksheet for homework:

Also, I'm liking my precalculus class for 2 more reasons. One, I don't know what it was, but when I was asking for homework one time about 2 weeks ago (have I mentioned this already?) .... (alzheimer's...)... I said, "make sure your name, date, social security #, mother's maiden name, and favorite ice cream flavor is on your sheet" just as a joke (except for the 1st 2 things, of course). Then when I was grading their homework, I saw that a couple of kids had actually answered my ice cream question. So the next class, I made sure to mention it, and we had a smile.

Then at the end of that class, another kid, while they're handing in the homework asked, "what's the question?" ... so I came up with ... I don't know actually, but last time's question was, "what do you want written on your tombstone?", and today's question was, "on a desert island, what would be the one treat you would choose to be stuck with?". So I guess that's our thing now, and it's kind of fun to read their responses (the ones that answer).

The second reason I'm liking them, is that they play along with my tangents. When I first introduced vectors, I mentioned that they allow people to space travel and build rockets and so on, and then we got on a tangent about the International Space Station and such, and I mentioned I'm "reading" "Packing for Mars" on audio books for my commute, and told them some things I'm finding out from Mary Roach. So what I love about this class is my question #12 from the above homework about bring me one interesting fact about the ISS (and I added to it, and some "wonderings" .... like, what do they do with the "waste" ... if you know what I mean). And I know that when we share out next class, they'll have found some interesting things (I'm doing the homework, too), and we'll all have a snippet of more information than we otherwise would have. 


  1. Hi. Bad news: don't ask for social security numbers, even as a joke. Good news: there are lots of (silly) math jokes about vectors - I'm sure you can find some your students will like - or groan at.


  2. Hi Jerry. Thank goodness my students know I'm joking about the SSN (or, I could just use it for my nefarious purposes mwa ha ha ha). ... I like the joke idea, though.