What would you tell the emerging math class?

What would you tell the emerging math class?

Summary: I'll be talking to a large gathering of middle-school math and science students about career opportunities? What would you tell them? Your suggestions welcome!

TOPICS: Tech Industry

Dan Farber pointed to BusinessWeek's story about the growing demand for mathematicians. Congressman Adam Smith has asked me to address several hundred middle school math and science students at an Intel-hosted career fair next Friday.

What would you tell kids who are interested in math, physics, biology and other sciences if you had 15 minutes to get 200 to 300 kids excited about their future? I'd really like to hear your ideas, too!

Topic: Tech Industry

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  • Keep going back to the basics for directions.

    Math is a base subject therefore it, along with the other base
    subjects such as language and art, hold the keys to all other
    disciplines. About 80 to 90% of students stay away from majors
    that require a lot of math or a lot of writing. Those choices are
    life limiting. The more you attack your weaknesses: The more
    choices of life directions you have.

    Math is usually the trade secret of many trades and professions
    and few ever realise that potential of that very basic subject. The
    cry of return to the basics are heard with regularity for all kinds
    of endeavors. Math is a basic-embrace it.
    Johnny Hamilton
  • We need more scientists!

    Not only is the IT world developing and creating new opportunities for employment, but the fields of semi-conductors, renewable or clean energy and the engineering skills that are required to achieve so-called sustainability, we need to encourage students to love math. We need to go way beyond the basics and tell students what quality of life they can expect with application in the more difficult subjects. Also these subjects should be taught with more hands-on and real life experiments to make them interesting.
  • material possesions

    i help grade papers in the columbus public schools. the ONLY thing that would impress them is the material gains of an excellent position.
    their math skills? heaven help us as they don't know an odd from even number in 5th and 6th grades. guess that comes from politicians writing the curricula.
  • love the basics, avoid the engineering

    Bottom line, so many high cost jobs (e.g., those requiring advanced mathematics like engineering) are going overseas I would recommend that the students focus on Business Applications of mathematics, specifically accounting and other non-deeply-technical applications, so they can port from one business niche to another when that particular market segment gets hit with an outsourced trend.
  • Thanks for asking!

    738 free words, unedited

    (this is unedited...but I'd tell ANY youth this if I had a chance:)

    What you practice often, will form what you become.

    So make sure you really enjoy what you do.

    Remember NO TWO DAYS of your life will ever be exactly the same.
    Even rock wall builders come to enjoy striations and varieties in rock and soil. You can be amazed by listening to anyone.

    Your patience will let them GIVE you their best story. Free!

    Never second guess and try not to interrupt so much. Conversations are more stimulating than monologues. You'll someday be AMAZED how efficiently you'll shut up someone who was about to tell you something really FUNNY, or really WISE.

    Or stupid, but it's NOT a perfect world.

    ABOUT these amazing devices and entertainments:
    WONDERFUL. I don't think God'll GET ya for HAVING A NICE, comfortable life. BUT if you practice a donation of ten percent to SOME greater good, you will teach yourself the blessing of knowing how to let go, just a little bit. If you push yourself and donate just a little more, ANONYMOUSLY, you'll learn true joy. It is in sharing our many blessings. It most assuredly is NOT in being harsh, hard or judgmental.

    If you can give anonymously, you can learn to GIVE without strings.

    So what if the receiving individual 'misuses' your gift? It's on him. What are ya, a worrywart now?

    Don't sue anyone. At least, not unless you are willing to devote YEARS of your life to mining this current suffering of yours.

    It's NOT trivial. Work it out. BUT soon as possible, GET OVER IT and let your GREAT CREATOR work through your energy.
    Don't BURY YOURSELF in what will ultimately become only a small part of your very broad, long life experience.

    When possible, choose to work outdoors.

    Remember, God gave YOU free will. And, more than any previous generation, a TOOL in computers and internet, collective HUMAN genius, to WORK and PLAY WITH.

    Use it wisely. Like words, it's easy to misunderstand, and it's a LOT more powerful than my Daddy's Harley HOG was, okay?

    I had to crash a few bikes or cars or trucks, and some hard drives. I suffered a LOT of really embarrassing moments. Some hurt, especially when I realized I'd hurt someone else.


    maintaining your interest in, and care for, the experience of actually LOOKING in another human's eyes.

    If you never know you hurt them, you can and will find you're wreaking greater harm than you realize.

    This is the great curse of the amazing internet tool. The worst of the Age of Aquarius generation made mathematics do funny things like bamboozle the secretary.

    Especially if we were mad at her.

    When we got over it, we bought a dinner and shared a laugh.

    Try, among your great gifts and pleasures, to remember to be kind. Touch and hug, and practice safe sex, whether that means condoms, abstinence, marriage. Follow your bliss.

    And remember, above all, that as wonderful as the laws of mathematics, physics, and the physical and spiritual universe have become, even as interesting as it all is,

    God also uses greater forces than we can ever harness; case in point: war. Or Hurricane Katrina.

    SO remember the INTERNET is power because it enables us to communicate, develop and grow.

    BUT GOD is ultimate; however you see our creative energy force. LIVE WITH IT, and have fun.

    Try to be a kind witness for whatever your life experiences are. This will bless you with people who are kind to you if you don't age well.

    YOU can choose to age gracefully. GROW stronger as you are created to.

    Drink clean water. It's a great medicine, after all.

    And just once in awhile, thrill an older person by asking him or her, "So, hey granny, wanna get real and share the hot advice you ever got? I'd LOVE to know what it was."

    BUT not when you're in a hurry. Take a deep breath first, and get ready to LEARN something! You'll be amazed how much fun she'll have learning what YOU want to talk about, too! Be a friend. Keep in touch. BEST OF LUCK in the amazing age that has followed our Age of Aquariums...

    (if they're awake, they'll laugh...feel free to borrow freely and discard the icky stuff.)


  • math facts

    1. Mathematics is intensely theoretical at the level where it becomes useful to your future. Sadly, a lot of middle school math curricula now are "discovery-based", which means that the theories are buried in real-world exercises that may or may not help bring the truth to light. Stick to the basic principles of algebra, geometry, and calculus and you will not be disppointed in the long run. Don't feel compelled to relate every mathematical concept back to the real world. Love math for itself - for its basic truth and beauty.

    2. You can't use physics to learn math. But you CAN use math to learn physics. In fact, you have to. At the college level, physics and engineering classes require a comfort level with math - especially calculus, differential equations, and statistics - that would make your high-school physics teacher wet his pants. If you can't hack differential equations, your future in engineering is pretty bleak - but by comparison, if you CAN understand diffEQ and matrix algebra and statistics, you can write your own ticket in the engineering world.

    3. Disregard the previous responder who thinks all the practical use of math and engineering has moved overseas. Knowledge, and the pursuit of specialized skills in math and science, knows no borders or limits.

    4. Here's a practical tip for your math studies. Don't give up when a new concept seems difficult to grasp. Math is full of "a-ha!" moments where a newly-introduced idea causes several previously confusing ideas to fall into place.
  • for your next class

    sorry just saw this....

    if you have the opportunity again

    encourage them to get really active in chess - amazing the ecosystem that is in place...see...

    and secondly encourage them to travel and enjoy working overseas (and selling American product and values)