Peter Rowlett

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Woken with a desperate urge to listen to @TimHarford chatting with @stecks and me about auction theory? Then the latest episode of Mathematical Objects is just the thing!…
My son: “Its teeth are a trillion per cent venom!” Me, a spoilsport: “Do you remember what ‘per cent’ means?” Him, a comic genius; “Erm, I’m not 100 per cent sure.” #tmwyk
We ran the first of these talks today. The second is on Wednesday next week. Subscribe to the mailing list to get the link for next week and the recording from today when it’s ready.…
Your favourite maths jokes please. I thank you.
We have our exam board this morning which is a big, serious, long video call so I’m doing some important prep work first.
“21’s one of my favourite numbers! Even though she seems to be prime, she can still make a rectangle!” This came up while playing Multi, though it seems we’re getting towards territory #tmwyk
Particularly this year there are a lot of COVID-related honours and I don't know if I've included all those who are doing mathematical or statistical work on COVID - let me know who you think I should add to the post.…
Thinking about mathematical entries in the Queen's Birthday Honours list for the @aperiodical, as I have since 2013. I've never particularly liked the link to politics, royalty or empire, but I do like the public recognition of "extraordinary contributions and service of people".
“Not just ‘off the scale’, but ‘super off the scale’. That’s one more than ‘off the scale’!” - my son. #unitchat
You may think this is the result of some #tmwyk play, but no. He did all this without prompting - you’re looking at a control panel for a rocket, an alien village, and some space ships.
Looking forward to presenting at the Teaching and Learning Maths Online meeting this afternoon. The topic is 'Planning ahead with a bag of new tricks, what does this mean for your mathematics teaching?'… (includes info on registering to attend for free).
(Also pictured: his logo for the dinosaur Avengers team he made up.)
My son found this pattern (left) in the kitchen floor: 12321. I asked him if he could think of a bigger pattern like it and he drew 23432. This is totally cool, but surprised me because I expected 1234321. He saw the three-level-ness as an intrinsic part of the pattern. #tmwyk
Playing Turing Tumble for the first time in ages. “I always look out for faces,” he said.
Also punching out our Multi game pieces has left us with these fab circles to do something with!
Since we just opened our Multi game, we’re left with this. So: How many do you see? How did you count them?
Enjoying playing Multi with my son. He’s making good strategic decisions. He says he’s being a trickster like Loki. #tmwyk
I want them to learn general things about modelling & solving problems, to broaden their awareness of different parts of maths and to develop their confidence & ability to learn new maths when they need it, not that I think they’ll all be searching game trees when they graduate.
Just I see people giving contrived uses for specific bits of topics. I teach my undergrads various modelling topics using sometimes obscure bits of maths and recreational maths topics in combinatorics and game theory, not because I think they’ll mostly end up using those topics.
“When will I need to use [specific thing]?” The answer is mostly “you are learning a bunch of specific things so when you need a new specific thing in life or work you have the ability and confidence to self-learn & use it”, not to defend the utility of every specific thing.
Listening to @peterrowlett talking about his difficulties memorising times tables as a child (& his strategies for subverting that) and thinking "yes! That's me! I did exactly the same thing!"…
Retweeted by Peter Rowlett
Our Recreational Maths Research Cluster now has a simple little website. Check it out for details of our upcoming talks!…
My son invented an experiment. He said that since shadows are long in the morning and long again in the evening, his theory was that at lunchtime your shadow will be as big as you are. So we tested this. Both our shadows at noon were about 2/3rds as long as we are tall. #tmwyk
We are planning two free online talks on history of recreational mathematics on 17th & 23rd June. To register, subscribe to the mailing list at and we'll share joining details nearer the time. Also by joining the list you can access videos of past talks.
A "+1" for this. Personally, as a learner I hate it when I'm given another video to watch. If it's not live I'd much rather reading material. Videos aren't universally The Best Way To Teach Online.…
Retweeted by Peter Rowlett
My point, I think, is that there's a bit of groupthink about 'online teaching means making videos', and I don't think it has to. The right tool for the right job, etc.
Maybe I should have done more. But, then, like my teaching is mostly not me standing at the front lecturing, so my online teaching is mostly not based around information transmission either. Partly moderated by the sort of thing I'm teaching.
All videos were recorded in live classes. • 19:53 about problem-solving for my recreational mathematicians; • total of 63:06 in six software demos for my 1st year programmers; • two videos 7:53 and 8:30 going over the requirements for 2 of the 15 assignments I set this year.
Seeing stuff about videos being so valuable. I got a bloody lovely email this week from a student saying a bunch of them were talking about the year & sharing positive views about my delivery. I delivered 228 hours of classes this year. Videos? Nine, total of an hour & 39⅓ mins
The HE maths online teaching practice group TALMO is running a workshop 9th June 'Planning ahead with a bag of new tricks, what does this mean for your mathematics teaching?' at which I'm giving a short talk about our problem-solving exam. Free. Register:…
Nice chat to start the week with @alomshaha about his upcoming making book Marvellous Machines. Talk of reusing packaging to make things reminded me of this castle my son and I made last summer.
Hey teachers and TAs, We need your help to find out what you know about dyscalculia? Check out this link to our survey. @JCBahnmueller @KMorsanyi…
Retweeted by Peter Rowlett
I got to talk about my favourite shape to @stecks and @peterrowlett and it was so much fun! Listening back to it has made me smile 😊…J
Retweeted by Peter Rowlett
OMG the new series of @MathsObjects is here! In Episode 1, listen to us attempt to describe elaborate geometrical constructions without reference to diagrams:…
Retweeted by Peter Rowlett
Enjoyed listening to @ch_nira interviewed by @jimalkhalili on The Life Scientific today, and a nice mention for @IMAmaths. I first met Nira through the IMA early career members group. I listen to the podcast, or you could listen in 20 mins on Radio 4.…
My son asked about my day so I told him I had a nice chat (undergrad project viva) with a student of mine who did a project about women who were mathematicians a long time ago. He asked if she did “the lady who worked out how to fly rockets” (Katherine Johnson). #WomenInMathsDay
For those unfamiliar with the source text, “inside-out things” is a manifestation of topology from Molly and the Mathematical Mystery by @DrEugeniaCheng
My son has invented “The Infinity Stone of Maths” (one of a series he’s invented). He said it can do “all the maths things: double, halve, add, minus, multiply, divide.” I asked what are other parts of maths. He said “shapes” and “inside-out things”. I suggested patterns. #tmwyk
Next I said I have five eighths of a googolplex. He was unsure about this. He said “you’re making them harder!” (Shocked: me?) I asked how many eighths in a whole. He said he didn’t know, then went “wait, two halves, three thirds, four quarters so it must be 8!” #tmwyk 3/3
I said I have half a googolplex, he said “half a googolplex”. I said I have three quarters of a googolplex, he said a quarter of a googolplex. So it just turned out we were doing fractions to 1 with everything turned up a googolplex! 🤣#tmwykk 2/3
This morning’s walk to school was mostly focused on ‘what do you need to get to N?’ We were playing N=100 recently (“I have 73”, “I need 27”, etc.), but he insisted on N=a googolplex. Well… #tmwyk 1/3
None of this today for me and the boy. Extraordinary times, and all - I voted by post last week in order to keep my distance, so he doesn't get his regular trip to see the excitement of democracy in action. #LocalElections2021…
On the walk home from school, we were doubling and halving. (He can halve odd numbers well.) I asked him which is easier and he said halving. He proposed halving 3.5. He thought it might be 1.5 or 2. #tmwyk
Wow, quite a reaction to this! A quick flick through looks like responses mostly fit into these categories: • LEGO Women of NASA; • Einstein; • all people are mathematicians, so any person; • something something blackboards; • maths thing that isn’t a mathematician figure.
(Though to be honest he asks for a different toy something every day and doesn’t seem to be keeping track!)
My son says “for my birthday, could I have some toy mathematicians?” Like he has toy doctors, toy knights, toy superheroes, etc. I’m at a bit of a loss! Any ideas?
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