I’m in love with a suitcase; ‘Readymade’ Suitcase Project (Part 1)

My job affords me the opportunity to travel all over the country and observe teachers putting their best feet forward. Problem is, I’ve never been much of a traveller. I’m terrible at packing. Therefore, I could really use something like this:

This is a project suggested by Readymade magazine. I don’t want to gush too much, but I absolutely love this suitcase. Seriously, I would marry this suitcase like that girl did the Eiffel Tower if it were legal. I want one. Unfortunately, the whole point of Readymade is to get you to make your own stuff. So it looks like I’ll be tackling this project.

I don’t have a cool, classic hard cased suitcase like this, so I’m going to have to buy one at a thrift store or something. How big of a suitcase will I need?

A single robot-made rainbow ; what does it mean?


This amazing video of a rainbow-painting robot. (h/t: Science Friday.)

Guiding Questions

  • How much paint did this guy need of each color?
  • What’s the radius of the rainbow? or, What’s the length of the arm that moves in a semi-circle that paints the rainbow?
  • Which color will run out soonest? And how much sooner?
  • What would the rainbow look like if he peddlded while the spraypainting arm was in action?
  • Could we do this for our integrated Math-Science Engineering final project?

Suggested Activities

To be decided, but here’s a screen shot if it helps.

Let’s crowd-source this ; School closure predictor

A couple weeks ago a fellow New Tech math guru and I travelled to Bowling Green, KY to observe some teacher activities. Sadly, school was iced out such that there was a round of early school closures on Day 1 and total shutdown on Day 2. We had some great collaboration and were able to hash out a bunch of ideas, but basically we could have done that in a more temperate climate.

Also, several other New Tech employees were on trips visiting schools whose school days were cancelled. Basically the last two weeks were a series of boondoggles.

Maybe if we had a tool like this, we could have saved ourselves a trip, and New Tech a lot of money.

Predicting the weather is hard enough. Predicting the reaction of humans to the weather is another level of complexity. Now, I’m not sure how accurate this tool is.

Pythagoras and Plants ; Aunt Bitty’s Gardens

Continuing from last week, we have another potential Pythagorean’s Theorem Project/Problem. This one was sent in by Steve.



Launch: My Aunt Bitty has a business creating “designer gardens”. These are beautiful little triangular gardens that fit into a particular space–usually the corner of a yard. You tell her your space, and she tells you just how to put in the rocks and plants to make it beautiful.

She is making models of different sized gardens that she wants to sell–and she has a problem.

My $100 Super Bowl Pick Pack

Now that we’ve heard from Drew, I’ll toss out a few picks that I think are smart mathematically.

(Editors note: Don’t gamble on sports. Don’t do it. It’s incredibly stupid. Never, ever use real money to bet on sports. This is for entertainment purposes only.)

1) $20 on 71-75 total points (1/100). We discussed this at length on Friday and Saturday in the comments section, but here’s my quick justification: almost 2% of all 2010 regular season games end in that point range. And while Super Bowls are usually low scoring (I think, I haven’t done the research), that’s great value to me. Potential payout: $2000.

One person’s $100 Super Bowl Pick Pack

(note: that does not imply that he’s picking the Pack.)

Based on our discussion on Friday’s Super Bowl prop bet post , we thought a fun, and possibly marginally educational, activity would be to let students (and teachers!) have $100 of “money” to bet on the myriad of Super Bowl odds, with justification.

Here’s a set sent in by Drew.


Ok so here is my $100 Super Bowl Pick Pack.  I made these picks with the following criteria:

  1. Only had $100.
  2. More fun to cheer FOR things than against – willing to acknowledge an entertainment value.
  3. If I win a bet, I want to come out ahead overall.
  4. I have no freakin’ idea what will happen, so I need to do some hedging.

I am going a somewhat strange direction with these picks.  The most interesting bets for me are the MVP best.  Now historically, QB is the MVP a disproportionate % of the time – and this Super Bowl seems particularly quarterback driven.   However, to bet either Rodgers (7/4) or Roethlisberger (7/2) as part of a hedge ties up too much money to do much else.

The Super Bowl is 100/1 odds to be in the 71+ point range; is that a good bet?

ESPN.com columnist Bill Simmons and fellow sports gambling addict Cousin Sal had their annual Super Bowl prop bets podcast where they discussed the best gambling deals of this Sunday’s Super Bowl (if gambling were legal, *ahem*). Aside: if you haven’t checked out the list of potential bets for the Super Bowl, you should (how long will Christina Aguilera hold the word “brave” in the National Anthem? over/under is at 6 seconds).

Anyway, one of Simmons’ prime suggestions was the bet of 100/1 for the number of total points scored being in the 71-75 range and 150/1 in the 76-80 range. So you plunk 10 bucks on each of those and a $20 bet could net you $1000 or more in the event it’s a high scoring game. The logic Simmons mentioned was this: “if these teams played 100 games, they would score over 70 points at least once.” That totally makes sense to me. In fact, the two teams playing in the Super Bowl, Green Bay and Pittsburgh, played in 2009 and scored a total of 83 points (which, strangely enough is too much for the bets he suggested). But if you wanted insurance against that you could put another $10 down on the higher point total range, but it’s starting to add up.

Again, this makes total sense to me. It seems like every other week in the NFL there’s some wacky game that sees both teams score over 35 points. Why, it happened just a couple weeks ago. And while it’s not likely to happen, it sometimes does, and at 100/1 odds that’s some pretty good winnings.

But is it good math?