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

math mutation

Seligman, Erik (2014, March 23). Nonrandom randomness. Math Mutation Podcast. Podcast retrieved from:

Seligman, Erik (2015, March 22). Deceptive digits. Math Mutation Podcast. Podcast retrieved from:

Seligman, Erik (2014, November 23). Psychochronometry. Math Mutation Podcast. Podcast retrieved from:

Seligman, Erik (2014, July 6). Four dimensional Greek warships. Math Mutation Podcast. Podcast retrieved from:

Seligman, Erik (2014, April 13). Voyages through animal space. Math Mutation Podcast. Podcast retrieved from:

Seligman, Erik (2014, October 23). A heap of seagulls. Math Mutation Podcast. Podcast retrieved from:

Seligman, Erik (2014, December 27). Big numbers upside down. Math Mutation Podcast. Podcast retrieved from:

Seligman, Erik (2015, April 12). Answering all possible questions. Math Mutation Podcast. Podcast retrieved from:

Note: Eight episodes of this podcast were analyzed for this assignment despite the citation. Analysis is based on multiple episodes and curriculum specifics will vary from episode to episode.

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

Text Structure: Connections are among an expanded range of ideas and over multiple episodes, processes or events are often implicit or subtle but can also be sequential. Organization is very complex and contains multiple pathways and exhibits some discipline-specific traits. This is an audio podcast and has no text features or use of graphics. There is a companion website that has the audio script and links to references, but it is not essential to understanding the content. Text and graphics can be accessed through the companion website and will enhance the reader’s understanding of content is accessed.  Graphics used on the website are mostly supplementary to understanding the text of the podcast.

Language Features: Language is conventional and conversational and very easy to understand. Vocabulary is contemporary and familiar with some discipline-specific language. Sentences are mainly simple and compound sentences, with some complex constructions.

Purpose: The purpose of each podcast is explicitly stated or fairly easy to infer; the content is more theoretical or abstract than concrete for some of the episodes.

Knowledge Demands: This podcast relies on moderate levels of discipline-specific knowledge, a basic understanding of math concepts is needed to follow the episodes and it includes a mix of recognizable ideas and challenging abstract concepts. There are some references or allusions to other texts or outside ideas, theories, especially on the blog in the reference areas.

Curricular Content standards:

AASL 21st Century Standards:

1.1.2 Use prior and background knowledge as context for new learning.

2.1.1 Continue an inquiry-based research process by applying critical-thinking skills (analysis, synthesis, evaluation, organization) to information and knowledge in order to construct new understandings, draw conclusions, and create new knowledge. 2.2.2 Use both divergent and convergent thinking to formulate alternative conclusions and test them against the evidence.

2.2.3 Employ a critical stance in drawing conclusions by demonstrating that the pattern of evidence leads to a decision or conclusion.

4.1.4 Seek information for personal learning in a variety of formats and genres.

3.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to organize and display knowledge and understanding in ways that others can view, use, and assess.

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

Common Core Standards (based on episode referenced above, other episodes may have different content standards):

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSS.MD.A.1 Define a random variable for a quantity of interest by assigning a numerical value to each event in a sample space; graph the corresponding probability distribution using the same graphical displays as for data distributions.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSS.MD.A.2 Calculate the expected value of a random variable; interpret it as the mean of the probability distribution.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSS.MD.B.5 Weigh the possible outcomes of a decision by assigning probabilities to payoff values and finding expected values.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSS.MD.B.5.A Find the expected payoff for a game of chance.

I found this podcast to be approachable, yet frustrating. Trying to fully understand math using only audio is difficult for me and I feel that the content would be better represented using a video format. This is a possible curricular activity, where students could listen to the podcast episode (each is about five minutes long) and create a companion video to display the contents visually, including the math involved. The short format of the podcast is practical for use in the classroom.


Math Mutation Blog

Math Mutation facebook

Seligman 4 Schools Blog