Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Cheap Laugh

Yes, in an instantaneous decision while discussing zeros of polynomials today, I went for the cheap laugh. We were discussing a 5th degree polynomial (most have 5 "wiggles") and they can have at most 5 distinct places they cross the x-axis. We were discussing one that touched/crossed the x-axis only 3 times. There's bad picture above.

I was trying to get them to notice that the last 2 places were "alike" and the first one was different, so that they could generate an equation. ... I hummed (badly) the Sesame Street song, "One of these things, is not like the others. One of these things, just doesn't belong...". I paused, they didn't get it. Then I asked them to notice how the graph was "touching" the x-axis, so I said, "one of them is touching it inappropriately." They finally got it.


  1. Sesame Street no longer sings the verse about something Not Belonging to a Group. I guess the blue circle's feelings were hurt.

    Lovely ASCII graphics for the curve. Nicely done.

    DId you read the FoxTrot comic today (01-11-2006)? My engineer husband and I wondered if Jason's cereal spelled anything in ASCII. It does. :)
    The link is usually only good for a fortnight.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Lovely non-ASCII graphics, too.

  4. Anonymous9:42 PM

    Thanks, Heidi. I guess I didn't REALLY remove your comment intentionally; I re-edited the post to upload a Photo (obviously freehand) picture as a *.jpg file. (woo hoo! I can quit my day job and become an artist :) )

    Thanks for reminding me of Foxtrot. I used to read it constantly when we got the paper. I love that you can read them on the web now.

    Ms. Cookie