Written by: STEM Facilitator Carlos Matallana

The afternoon of November 4th, 2015 at Funston Elementary, we were excited to have a visit from Mr. Binod Pant. Binod is a Mathematician that teaches at the University of Illinois in Chicago. He shared with us his personal experience working with numbers in forecasts, trends analysis, and how all the data we produce in our daily routines generates information about our habits. “How do we produce data? What is data anyway,” asked Edwin Barrera. Binod reply instantly, “Data is all the information we generate when we use our credit cards, our phones for text messaging, for calls or to navigate through the web.” “Oh… Does it apply when we play video games,” Edwin persisted. ‘Yes,’ answered Binod, ‘If you notice whenever you finish a level in any video game on your phone, a video or a flashy ad shows up. That ad is based on the data you generate. They don’t need to know your name to know that you are a teenage boy who likes certain video games rather than others,’ concluded Binod.

After we finished our introduction the facilitator lead the team towards the Gym. ‘Math in the gym? That’s odd’ whispered David, one of the students. In the gym we sat on the floor in a circle and made some exercises that required logic more than skills of actual math. The first question was: If today is a Tuesday, what day will it be in:

(a) 8 days?

(b) 35 days?

(these two were the easiest to resolve)

(c) 141 days?

For this one we had to talk about Multiples of 7 and elaborate further in mathematical reasoning and some physical activity since the goal was to finish half of the math exercises then, Binod suggested,  we would have a 20 minute soccer break. After the break we came back to Math reasoning for another 30 minutes.

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