Discrete math demonstration ideas...

Aaron Bloomfield asb at cs.virginia.edu
Mon Jan 30 19:46:46 EST 2006

Hi, all,

    I'm trying to form a collection of demonstrations for discrete math 
topics, and thought I'd solicit suggestions from this list.

    I'm looking for ways to demonstrate concepts to students in a 
discrete math course (and CS1 / CS2 courses as well) using physical 
objects.  For example, using a phone book to illustrate a binary search 
(I rip it up in the process), or using a conch shell for illustrating 
the growth of the Fibonacci sequence.  I envision these as different 
from KLAs (http://sequoia.cs.berkeley.edu/kla/index.php), which 
generally require class participation.  And I see them as different than 
the nifty examples as well (as those tend to be interesting problems 
that require solving).  My thought is to use all three of these (nifty 
examples, KLAs, and the demonstrations) together to help form a more 
compelling lecture.  Essentially, I'm looking for ways to demonstrate a 
concept to a class using physical, real-world objects, but without 
having to directly involve them in the demo.  And something that, with a 
bit of showmanship, can really "wake up" the class -- such as blowing a 
conch shell or dramatically tearing a phone book to shreds.

    Any thoughts or suggestions?  Do such lists exist anywhere?  I 
couldn't seem to find any.  Of course, I'll make the ensuing list 
publicly available.



Aaron Bloomfield, Assistant Professor
Department of Computer Science, University of Virginia
asb (at) cs (dot) virginia (dot) edu

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