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Interdisciplinary Lectures and Programming


Mathematics and Music: A Mathemusician's Formula for a Hit!

Presenter: Larry Lesser, PhD. aka The Mathemusician

Wednesday, March 18, 2015, 12 PM - 1 PM

The focus of this presentation was to increase awareness and motivation in mathematics/statistics, as an award-winning songwriter, Professor Lesser has tapped and merged two of his great loves –math and music. His thoughtful and entertaining math songs have attracted international media coverage ranging from Australia’s largest newspaper to Jamaica radio! His songs have additionally yielded statistically significant learning gains in an NSF-funded randomized experiment, and led to plenary presentations for national audiences ranging from mathematics teachers to mathematicians to statisticians. 

Lesser’s math-and-music outreach has been featured in the European Journal of Science and Mathematics Education and Journal of Mathematics and the Arts as well on TV and YouTube. Lesser has internationally published 60 math/stat lyrics as well as some of the first juriedcomprehensive articles in Mathematics Teacher in 2000, in Teaching Statistics in 2001, and in Journal of Mathematics and the Arts in 2014, discussing the use of songs in mathematics/statistics class. As the Mathemusician (some say “the Weird Al Yankovic of mathematics/statisticseducation”), Lesser incorporates guitar in his interactive classes, and keynotes facilitating explorations, and performing raps and parodies, creatively adapting popular lyrics towards content such as infinity, pi, problem solving, graphing functions, as well as even more worldly applications such as understanding the lottery!


Dr. Skateboard’s Action Science and the Masters of Physics

Presenter: William H. Robertson, Ph.D. aka Dr. Skateboard

Wednesday, February 18, 2015, 12 PM - 1 PM

The focus of this presentation was centered on the purpose, history, development and implementation of Dr. Skateboard’s Action Science, which is a science curriculum supplement that focuses on physical science in skateboarding and BMX. The presentation will cover motivation, engagement, mastery, active learning, goal setting, and how action sports can be used as mechanisms to teach and to inspire young people to pursue goals in science and overall in their education. It will culminate with a viewing of the documentary film Masters of Physics, which chronicles the work of Dr. Robertson in the local El Paso community.  

The use of action science as a method for integrating transformative education is an approach that appears to be enhancing the interest and motivation of students in science. It is the purpose of Dr. Skateboard’s Action Science to positively impact achievement for middle and high school students in the area of physical science knowledge and skills. By immersing students in a science learning approach that is based on action sports, and focuses on the goals and objectives in physical science, the process skills and overall content knowledge of the students have the potential to greatly increase. Studies have shown that students who are involved in active learning in meaningful contexts acquire knowledge, and become proficient in problem solving. Thelong-term prospects of this approach seeks to determine how the implementation of curriculum approaches built around student interests such as skateboarding and bicycle motocross (BMX) can impact student achievement in the area of science content and conceptual understandings.