Saturday, April 30, 2011

Some Anna art

Anna is quite the artist for an 8-year old. First, here's a picture of Donald Duck she drew. She found a picture on the internet and asked me how to draw it. I told her to pick one line to start with, maybe the top of his beak, and then make one curve at a time. She got to work and was quiet for a long time. When I checked back I couldn't believe it. She was finishing the coloring and this was the result:

Here's another picture that needs mentioning. She proudly showed me her upside-down picture. The waves become birds, the clouds in the mountain valleys become snowy peaks, and the sun becomes a flower. This was her original concept

Friday, April 29, 2011

Leke med matematikk

I had for a long time wanted to put together entertaining school shows. Today I did a series of 3 math entertainment shows at an elementary school for grades 1.-3., 4.-6. and 7.-9. Each 1/2 hour show, all 3 somewhat different, were a mix of storytelling, music, drama and magic. Oh, it was such good fun. The teachers were impressed that even the oldest kids, which were a rowdy and difficult group this year, were fascinated and attentive. After one of the shows, a line of kids came up for autographs, so I really got to feel like a movie star! It was a high-energy day, and I'm still on fire with the energy!

PS: I'm available for birthday parties.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

Back from Germany last night, just in time for the Easter Bunny visit. The grown-ups were exhausted from the flight from Münich and the long drive back from Oslo, but luckily the bunny still had energy to hide eggs in the middle of the night.

Here's Maggie on the hunt:

The kids with their finds... their faces say it all don't they?

And here's an Easter greeting from Maggie:

We survived! God Påske, alle! Happy Easter, everyone!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Something very Norwegian

Spotted at a 7-11: you can buy a waffle with brown cheese. I just don't think you'd see this offered at 7-11s anywhere else in the world.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The artsy and shady side of Oslo

I was in Oslo earlier this week for a conference. I gave the hour and a half plenary session talk entirely in Norwegian which felt good.

We stayed at the Radisson BLU hotel near to the train station in the heart of Oslo. I looped around the wrong side of the train station and was approached three times by scary people making offers. "Speed eller dope?" and other propositions with vocabulary I hadn't heard before but could guess at the meaning. I hadn't seen this side of Norway before!

The hotel is next to the Spektrum, a big theater home to the glitziest shows. The Eurovision competition was held there a couple of years ago. There's all kind of interesting brickwork on the building which I had fun studying, and plenty of other artworks in the area.

Close by is also a pleasant street of residences and grocery stores called Grønland. There are several circus statues of clowns and a monkey. A large plaque in front of one of the clown statues announces this location as the first meeting place for the Salvation Army in 1888. What the Salvation Army has to do with clowns is a mystery to me.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Cutting a cake

The international school had a conference these past two days. I gave a talk on "enquiry maths". One of the parents did a problem solving talk that had a very nice finish. The problem: cut a cake into 8 equal pieces with 3 cuts.

The classic solution is to quarter the cake in the regular way and then make a horizontal cut through the middle. After this solution was offered, the speaker produced a cake and a knife and asked for a demonstration. Of course with the frosting and the marzipan flowers on top, the pieces were anything but equal.

After some hemming and hawing, someone came up with another solution. Cut the cake into quarters and then stack them, making a final cut dividing them into equal slices. Again, he produced a cake and asked for a demonstration. After the stacking, the flowers were crushed and the pieces looked horrible.

Another solution? At last, someone suggested lining the slices up on the table and making a very long cut through them. The problem is that that's a tricky cut to make, unless you have... a sword! He pulled out a sword and finally we had a wonderful solution.

It was a well-planned demonstration of the difference between mathematical and practical solutions, and a perfect marriage of the two.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Awesome book title

At the dentist for the kids' appointment this morning, we were all fascinated with this book:

Translated: "The little mole who wanted to know who had pooped on his head"!

In fact, the book was superb. The mole visits all kind of animals to accuse them of pooping on his head, and he ends up learning all kinds of things about different kinds of animal poop. Who'd have thunk it would be so good?