Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Happy Square Root Day!

That’s right – another random calendar date is cause for a celebration of mathematics.

According to today’s Boston Globe, Square Root Day was invented by a California teacher who wanted to promote some enthusiasm of … well I’m not quite sure, but you can read the little blurb yourself. Dates like 3/3/09 come around only nine times in a century, so there’s that.

I support teachers who are tireless in their efforts to actively engage the minds of their students, and I certainly appreciate how difficult it is to sometimes generate enthusiasm in children who may actually fear mathematics. I can even see the fun in an exercise trying to find all the “Square Root Days” in a century. I’m just not sure how promoting celebrations on specific dates through a forced association with a mathematical process accomplishes that goal. (Not to mention that the kids in the second half of the century get totally ripped off.)

Could it be possible that I’m just no fun? Nah.

Take Pi Day – that’s a different story. Actually, it’s remarkably the same story. But Pi Approximation Day, and Mole Day – now those are funny.

I guess the difference is that those are celebrated by students who already understand the importance of numbers and are just using the dates as excuses to get geeky about it, not as a substitute or odd incentive for math mastery.


Speaking of Pie and randomness, have those of you who use Site Meter ever wondered what browsers your readers use?

Me neither, but apparently, 7% of my readers need to upgrade their Internet Explorers.


Stephen Bourque said...

Hmm. Your browser pie chart looks very similar to a "peace" sign.

And personally, I would have called 03-03-09 "Perfect Square Day," not "Square Root Day."

(How are those for geeky observations?)

LB said...

It's funny - I made those very same observations, I just did not put them in writing.

I guess that means you win the "I Know How To Have Geeky Fun" prize for today. Congratulations!

And if I may make one final observation on the matter, you would be one stellar mascot for "Perfect Square Day".