Using vegetables as learning objects

Tall, Dark, and Mysterious talks about Vegetables of revolution:

Well, I continued, You have a function, like say this one – at this I traced an outline of the squash with my index finger – you rotate it around the x-axis, so it traces out a three-dimensional shape, like this squash. I turned the squash in my hand, and said, That’s what I said before, “symmetric vegetables”. This one is perfectly even, see? – turn it around and it doesn’t wobble. Same with this carrot.

At this his eyes widened. Oh, yeah! he exclaimed. Cool! I remember that stuff now. He paused, and then said, less confidently, Well, kind of. He thought about it for a moment again, and then added, Probably would remember more if we’d used vegetables.

That’s it. Next time I have to teach about volumes of revolution, I’ll use vegetables.

Published by

Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the University of Quebec (TELUQ).

2 thoughts on “Using vegetables as learning objects”

  1. Glad you liked it; the actual class went really well, too.

    However, if you do decide to do this, allow me to share with you some tips, which I learned only by experience:

    1. If the garbage can in your office only get emptied once a week, discard of your used vegetables elsewhere.

    2. Take the kitchen knife that you used to cut your vegetables home immediately, or at least hide it from view. Whatever you do, don’t leave it beside the pile of ungraded calculus tests. Otherwise your students or colleagues might notice it, and wonder if you’re really that stressed.

  2. 2. Take the kitchen knife that you used to cut your vegetables home immediately,

    So did you cut the actual shells/washers out of your vegetables, then?

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