Natalie, a marine biolost (in prep.), is graphing her life with numbers she grabs off facebook, her dive computer and anything else that strikes her. See graphingmylife.blogspot.com.
How fun is this? And a great early warning for newbie TAs in certain modules.
Lekowala pointed me to a blog just now and it struck such a familiar note. I used to make simple comparisons in school, before I encountered statistical tools. I’d compare reading rates by authors, genre and page lengths when we maintained reading lists in Sec 2, compare popular music selections between friends from different backgrounds, speeds and inter-station timings of underground and overhead MRT trains when it first opened and of course, cycling stats.
These days we are surrounded by even more data and Natalie is only doing a better job at all this, she is doing that rare thing as well, blogging.
I regularly encounter undergrads who restrict all mention of biostats to the confines of their module. Natalie’s exertions point to a way to tease the conversation into daily life. They’ll certainly find it fun to use data they are already generating and make comparisons. I’ll buzz their lecturer with this.
If we enhance conversational stats and hence literacy, it will help reduce numberophobia in biology students and facilitate their discovery of numbers in their environment when they tackle their ecology projects.
What was it Darwin wrote? “I have deeply regretted that I did not proceed far enough at least to understand something of the great leading principles of mathematics, for men thus endowed seem to have an extra sense.”
Just numbers first, equations later.