Below are video clips of an interview with Dr. Lindi Wahl, Applied Mathematician, Western University.
The interview was conducted after most of the activities Dr. Wahl discusses were implemented in several grades 1-4 classrooms.
Dr. Wahl completes the activities, discusses and extends the mathematics involved, and makes connections to her work in mathematical biology.
1. Growing pattern #1
- “I study patterns in biology. All mathematicians study patterns. And this is a beautiful one.”
2. Growing pattern #2
- Dr. Wahl builds and plots a second growing pattern.
3. Constants and variables in my work
- “I think one of the more interesting things we can see here is that there are parts of the pattern that change and parts that don’t change.”
- “Here we have it separated really beautifully, because we can see the red dots don’t change and the blue dots do change.”
- “And that’s actually an important part of what I do in my work.”
- “If I put the pointer through all the top red dots I’ve got a perfect straight line there, and it’s very steep.”
5. How bacteria grow
- “In my research I study bacteria and viruses and bacteria and viruses don’t generally grow in patterns like these. They grow by dividing in two. … We have a curvy shape, so it’s a completely different pattern.”
6. Using symbols
- “We’ve represented these patterns in our little blocks, and we’ve also done it on the page (using bar graphs), and the way I would do it as a mathematician is to use symbols.”
7. Beautiful expressions
- “One thing that is beautiful and exciting for me as a mathematician is this formula right here for example: 2 to the exponent x.”
- “And the neat thing about it is that we’ve done this representation with the blocks and with the dots, but we can sum it all up, we can encapsulate it, in just these two little symbols.”
- “These two symbols here capture everything about this entire pattern.”