Saturday, November 14, 2009

We STILL Use Math Every Day: Using "Numb3rs" in the Classroom

Last year, Texas Instruments announced they would stop updating the "We All Use Math Every Day" website, but stated that the site would remain up as an archive of all of the lesson plans that had been developed.

Recently, a reader emailed to tell me that the We All Use Math Every Day website was down. I emailed Texas Instruments and received this response:
Thank you for contacting Texas Instruments.

Texas Instruments is no longer affiliated with the television series "Numb3rs".

We have the activity exchange containing hundreds of free activities covering numerous subjects, including Numb3rs/We All Use Math Everyday activities at the link below:
If you search for Numb3rs, you'll see that all of the old activities are still available.  Unfortunately, the curriculum alignment for each episode seemingly disappeared into the abyss with the rest of the WAUMED site.

Luckily, I had saved a copy of the Numb3rs Activities Curriculum Alignment document, which I am now sharing publicly on Google Docs.  The PDF contains the episodes broken down by subject and specific topic, with direct links to the activities on TI's Activities Exchange.

Now you might be wondering, as I was, why TI would change their minds about the WAUMED website.  I realized the answer as soon as I visited the CBS Numb3rs site to find an episode guide: the show's partnership with Wolfram Research.

Wolfram Research provides the math behind the show, and although I don't know how long they've been doing so, they basically took over writing curricular connections for each episode at the beginning of Season 4 (about the time WAUMED ended).  With this year's release of Wolfram Alpha, their continuing line of Mathematica software, and their growing number of educational offerings, TI has to see Wolfram as a comptetitor.  No wonder they didn't want to have any lingering connections to the show.  (Hopefully they won't also delete all of the old activities from the Exchange--but I have a feeling I should start downloading those as well!)

So if you still want to use Numb3rs in your classroom, here's your definitive list of resources: