Note: This post is an assignment for a School Library Media/Materials course.

Baker, H. (2014, February). A love poem for lonely prime numbers [Vide file]. Retrieved from: https://www.ted.com/talks/harry_baker_a_love_poem_for_lonely_prime_numbers

lonely prime

Cameron, C. (2013, November) A-rhythm-etic. The math behind the beats [Video file]. Retrieved from: https://www.ted.com/talks/clayton_cameron_a_rhythm_etic_the_math_behind_the_beats


Munroe, R. (2014, March). Comics that ask “what if” [Video file].  Retrieved from: https://www.ted.com/talks/randall_munroe_comics_that_ask_what_if

comics ask what if

Qualitative Analysis (Text Complexity measure analyzed using SCASS/Achieve the Core):

These Ted Talks are moderately complex.

Text Structure: Organization: The organization is evident and generally sequential or chronological, but connections between some ideas or events are implicit or subtle. Graphics, tables, charts, and drawings support or are integral to understanding the text.

Language Features: The language is largely explicit and easy to understand with some occasions for more complex meaning, some more abstract, ironic and figurative language is used, especially in the context of poetry.  The vocabulary is contemporary, familiar, and conversational. Sentence Sentences are simple and compound sentences, with some complex constructions.

Purpose: Purpose: Implicit or subtle but fairly easy to infer; more theoretical or abstract than concrete. Implied but easy to identify based upon context or source

Knowledge Demands: Ability to understand the talks relies on common practical knowledge and some discipline-specific content knowledge some talks include a mix of simple and more complicated, abstract ideas. Understanding would be best at the high-school level. There are few references or allusions to other texts or outside ideas, theories, etc.

In the case of Ted Talks, the media’s grammar (construction) is more subtle than in films or other video. There is no editing in these videos to convey a specific story. With Ted Talks, the grammar is conveyed through lighting, camera angles (including shots of the audience’s reactions) and any visual media the speaker provides. In the case of speaker provided media, it is presented on a large screen behind the speaker. The size and position of the screen tells of the content’s importance.

Curricular Content standards:

AASL 21st Century Standards:

1.1.1 Follow an inquiry-based process in seeking knowledge in curricular subjects, and make the real-world connection for using this process in own life.

1.1.5 Evaluate information found in selected sources on the basis of accuracy, validity, appropriateness for needs, importance, and social and cultural context.

2.1.3 Use strategies to draw conclusions from information and apply knowledge to curricular areas, real-world situations, and further investigations.

2.3.1 Connect understanding to the real world.

3.3.4 Create products that apply to authentic, real-world contexts.

4.1.1 Read, view, and listen for pleasure and personal growth.

Common Core Standards:

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSN.RN.A.2 Rewrite expressions involving radicals and rational exponents using the properties of exponents.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSF.BF.A.1.A Determine an explicit expression, a recursive process, or steps for calculation from a context.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSF.BF.A.1.B Combine standard function types using arithmetic operations.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSF.BF.A.1.C Compose functions

I chose to review three math-based Ted talks instead of one because I fell down a Ted Talk hole and found that I couldn’t choose just one to review here. I felt that all three were important to highlight and so I have reviewed all three. The curricular implications of these talks are multifold. Aside from the math involved, one talk can also be related to music and by extension because of its focus on rhythm, poetry. The talk about poetry not only shows math in a new light, but also relates to the talk about rhythm and music. Both these talks can be used in math classes to show how math relates to other disciplines, how all education is interrelated. The third talk by Randall Munroe (Comics ask “what if?”) shows how math is used to answer everyday questions, hence answering the age-old question of students everywhere “when am I going to use this in my real life?”