What exactly is a mathematical algorithm? Well, simply put, an algorithm is the process of steps or calculations that must be done to find a solution to a problem or situation. That probably doesn’t sound too exciting. But guess what? Math is Everywhere and so are algorithms! Now here are 5 super awesome algorithms that you probably use every day!
Ads are legit everywhere and since we're CONSTANTLY bombarded by them, the messages they produce have a lasting impact. We really think the media has a responsibility to provide us with messaging that helps rather than harms, but sadly, that's not the way it works! The good news is that not all ads are created equal. In fact, we've even found a few that ACTUALLY aim to empower women. We're super obsessed with the crazy power that the media has over us and have been advocating for POSITIVE media messaging forever and ever and ever. Well, Rome wasn't built in a day, but at least we've found a few bricks and mortar. Check out our list of 5 ad campaigns that use their power for good instead of evil, and actually aim to empower and inspire women!
1. Always, “Like a Girl”
At the start of their ad, Always asks: “What does it mean to do something like a girl?” The response to this question is at first disheartening: girls of older ages mimic, based on learned stereotypes, what it means to them to “run like a girl”, “fight like a girl”, and “throw like a girl”. Plot twist: challenging these stereotypes adopted by older generations are younger girls, girls whose reactions to these questions are without influence from others; these younger girls simply demonstrate how to run and fight the way anyone would. These girls have the advantage of not yet being jaded by stereotypes and media that tell girls to be a certain way – we could learn a thing or two from them! After breaking the news to the older girls about how the younger girls reacted to these questions, the older girls reflect upon their initial reactions and change their responses to reflect who they truly are. In fact, when asked if she would change her answer to the original question, one of the older girls responded with: “I would run like myself." We LOVE this campaign - love yourself for YOU, embrace yourself AS YOU, and don't let anyone tell you WHO YOU ARE!
2. Dove, “Choose Beautiful”
In Dove’s “Choose Beautiful” video, women are given two doorways to walk through, each labelled differently. One doorway is labelled “average” and the other doorway is labelled “beautiful”. The video shows most women walking through the “average” door and then captures their reasoning behind this choice. According to the women featured in the video, the reason they chose to walk through the “average” door was because they were constantly put down by others, by media which dictates what "beautiful" is SUPPOSED to be...so they simply didn't feel entitled to walk through that doorway labelled “beautiful”. The message of the video is simple: rather than choosing to listen to what others say about your beauty, it is important to define beauty for yourself; a woman should #choosebeautiful - we LOVE IT!
3. P&G, “Thank You Mom – Strong”
P&G’s “Thank You Mom – Strong” campaign, demonstrates the amazing amazing power of mothers. In a world where we often forget to recognize the power of our amazing moms, P&G highlights the importance of mothers in their child's lives! So often moms are portrayed as nagging, frantic women who can't seem to get it together - totally unfair and untrue! Alternating between flashbacks and current moments in athlete’s lives, this advertisement demonstrates the lasting impact that THEIR moms had on their super awesome lives. Showing a side of the mother-child relationship that isn't usually portrayed by mass media, this campaign praises mothers and challenges the stereotypes we have about the roles they play in our lives.
4. Always, “Girl Emojis”
By interviewing girls of all ages, Always uncovers a problem with emojis: they fail to truly represent women and the roles they play in society. Okay, let's face it - we all love a good Emoji, no argument there! But the representation of women in emojis fails to be diverse; female emojis lack representation in a variety of professions and most of the female emojis are wearing PINK - like really guys?! It may seem like a little thing, but it's just another way that stereotypes are reinforced LITERALLY at the tip of our fingers! The solution? Always asks girls what Emojis THEY would want to see. The answer to this question is super-empowering and brings a huge smile to our faces here at TMG. They want to see female cops, cyclists, lawyers, doctors...they want to see THEIR life dreams reflected on their phones, not the archaic dreams of he status quo. Plain and simple, this ad is awesome.
5. Dove, “Beauty on your own terms”
This awesome ad opens with women reciting the same old same old:
“how can she be a lawyer?” “only skinny girls can dress well” etc etc ugh
The messaging women have had to swallow their entire lives piles up and totally makes the viewer feel completely dejected and...gross! Just when it feels like this ad CAN'T possibly redeem itself, the tone completely changes. Instead of succumbing to the bombardment of insults they've received their whole lives, these women speak back and stand up about the injustices they have faced. Words of retaliation are sung, fists are raised, stands are taken. SUCH a kickass campaign - guaranteed to pump you up and change your mind about what we are all truly capable of!
Our advice after watching these advertisements? Talk and think about these videos! Share them with a friend, a family member, your network. What are they telling you about your belief system? What are they telling you about YOUR idea of what it means to be a girl? Finally, use your newfound wisdom to challenge the gender binary, challenge stereotypes, challenge others and most importantly - to challenge YOURSELF!
Okay guys, this is a big one for us. Last year, one of OUR role models, Mayim Bialik, invited us to write a piece for her incredible and inspiring site, GrokNation. Today, she’s making a cameo on our blog as an ever-fab Guest Guru! Aside from being a kickass leading lady on The Big Bang Theory, she's one of the big players in the movement towards encouraging women to pursue #STEM. Mayim is an advocate that we totally look up to and wish we could hang out with on the daily - for real. We’re so pumped that she took the time to answer some of our burning questions! Q: Let's start with this: what is the absolute coolest thing about math and/or science?
A: Well, it's hard to pick one thing! I think the coolest thing about math is that it is a completely arbitrary set of names and labels we have given to a system that literally runs the universe. Instead of calling things one, six, and 500, we could also call them polkadot, badger, and violin. Math would still be math because it just IS and we find ways to explain what it is with words and symbols and labels.
Q: Why should high school kids stick with math and science instead of dropping them at the earliest opportunity?
A: The majority of jobs available to young people in the future will require some background in math and science. In addition, some of the higher paid jobs and jobs in the fastest growing most exciting markets require math and science. Plus, understanding math and science sets you up for understanding the world in a whole different way even if you don't choose to go into those for your career. It can help you plan for your life including finances, buying a house, and general decision-making. Also, it gives you an appreciation of the universe that can really change your perspective on life in great ways.
Q: I love love love that you're passionate about finding ways to encourage young women to enter STEM - that's what I'm all about! What are three things that you think we all could be doing that we're not?
A: More positive role models, more mentorship programs, and more funding from the government please!
Q: Girls often develop the belief that they're inherently bad at math much more frequently than boys do. Why do you think that is?
A: Girls and boys brains do tend to work differently, and this means that sometimes the female brain appreciates being taught in ways that have typically been designed to teach male brains. Sometimes, girls need to be able to picture themselves as a mathematician or a scientist in order to be able to understand why the skills are even important to put in effort to learn. Also, girls tend to be more social, more verbally sophisticated, and more interested in different kinds of activities than these classes sometimes lend themselves to. Creative teachers and more funding for math and science in schools would help this a lot.
Q: I really really believe that a huge part of why girls aren't inspired to pursue STEM is due to the fact that popular media doesn't exactly paint STEM as inspiring or welcoming for girls. What do you think?
A: I think we definitely see a lot of stereotypes of females in the media when we think about women in science. In addition, our culture in general reveres youth and beauty over praising and understanding the kind of people who pursue a life in math and science. So I don't know that I would blame the media, but I think the media is part of a larger problem we have in our culture with what we value and how.
Q: Do you think that your character in Big Bang is finally a step in the right direction for popular media and representations of women in STEM? Have any young women reached out to you about our character?
A: A lot of people think the characters on the Big Bang theory are stereotypes and possibly negative stereotypes of nerds and geeks. I personally know people like all of the characters! and while Bernadette is a microbiologist who wears more attractive clothing and cute headbands and Amy is more of a modest dresser, we are showing two different kinds of females in science and I love being a part of that. Also, all of the characters on the Big Bang theory who are scientists enjoy their lives, enjoy the way their life is structured and have friends and successful relationships. I think that is very important to show on television.
Q: Lack of confidence is a major issue when it comes to girls pursuing STEM. What advice do you have for parents of young girls who develop a fear of math in elementary school?
A: Reinforcing that boy and girl brains alike can and should learn math is very important. There are a lot of programs online that parents can be involved with alongside their children to encourage them to build positive skills especially in the math department.
Q: How do you feel about the word 'nerd'? Yes or no and why?
A: I fall under the category of nerd and geek so I say yes! I have been called a nerd a lot in my life by people who were being mean, but now the culture has shifted, I kind of like being called a nerd. I love all sorts of nerdy and geeky things and enjoy my life a lot because of those things.
Q: Is there hope? Seriously - do you think things have improved in terms of female participation in STEM fields, and do you see them continuing to improve?
A: I think there is definitely hope. You and the work you do give me hope!
Can you think of someone who you would love for us to feature as a Guest Guru? Holler at us: email@example.com!
Photo Cred: James Banasiak
Hello all! I think there is little else that is more enticing to me than ice cream (OK, I’ll admit it - crème brulee might top it, and realistically it is just a different version of sugary-creamy goodness). So what better scenario could I have this week then being able to make ice cream with my coworkers during a team building exercise?
And the more surprising part? I had 3 experienced, full grown adult, male engineers ask me why salt was needed to make the ice cream.
So, let’s talk science!
First of all, remember that this is when you are making ice cream by hand. Good old hand-crank, churn for long time, until the cream mixture freezes. The salt is required for the ice on the outside of the hand-crank machine.
OK, now back to the why…
Let’s talk about melting and freezing. They actually happen at the same temperature. For example, if I’m a solid and I want to become a liquid, I have to get enough energy (typically in heat form) to raise myself to my melting temperature. If I’m solid ice, I need to get up to about 0 °C. However, getting up to that temperature won’t automatically turn me into liquid (which is why you can still get ice, or snow, on days that are 0 °C). Liquid molecules have much more energy than solid molecules, which is why they are fluid and can’t hold their form. With all the energy required to go into the phase change, there is no temperature change occurring during the phase change.
So what about the salt?
Well, for ice cream, this melting / freezing point is actually at a lower temperature than 0 °C. The sugars and fats in the ice cream mixture require a colder temperature to freeze than pure water molecules would alone. This requires more than just ice to cool the ice cream mixture (otherwise the ice would melt before the ice cream is frozen).
Salt is the key! Salt itself has a much higher melting point than water, so making a salt-water solution will lower the point at which the solution melts!
But, in turn, it’s actually important for the salt-water mixture to melt. Why? Because the energy needed to change the salt-water mixture from solid to liquid needs energy (remember, the phase change we talked about?). That energy comes from the environment. And in what form? Heat. In other words, taking heat from the surroundings to melt the salt-water mixture ultimately makes everything colder, including the ice cream mixture – which needs to be colder than 0°C to freeze.
It’s not magic, it’s SCIENCE! And delicious science at that.
Oscar season is just around the corner and thanks to Oscar-nominated movie Hidden Figures, TMG is buzzing with excitement about this year’s red carpet. Telling the story of three African-American women who are BOTH mathematicians and scientists at NASA, this movie is extremely empowering. TMG is OBSESSED with the fact that this movie showcases the incredible abilities of women in STEM – we LOVE girl power! As if watching women crush and crunch numbers like total BOSSES wasn’t reason enough to see this movie, we are providing you with 5 MORE reasons to go and watch Hidden Figures. 1. Math and Science are Relevant
Showing you that math and science have USEFUL applications outside of the classroom, Hidden Figures makes you realize that what you’re currently learning is relevant to not only a potential future career but also relevant to your understanding of what kind of theoretical work is applied to NASA’s space missions.
2. Math and Science are Cool
Hollywood is cool, right?! And sexy, sparkly, glamorous, Hollywood is talking about a movie that features math and science. Therefore, Hollywood is making math and science cool. SO, be cool and get in on the Hollywood buzz!
3. Learn About History
Want to sound knowledgeable about American history? Go and watch Hidden Figures! Because this movie is based on a true story, you will come out of this movie knowing SO much more about an important (yet underrepresented) part of American history.
4. Strong Acting
Featuring fierce and fiery performances by Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae and Taraji P, this trio of women is one that will keep you riveted from beginning to end. With Oscar nominations to prove the star-quality of their performances, the acting in Hidden Figures will NOT disappoint.
5. Feel-Good Story
A lot of movies currently in theatres are super-heavy tear jerkers that have you leaving the theatre in a bit of a slump. If you want to be picked up, enlightened and empowered, this movie is the one to watch. Hidden Figures will make you laugh and cheer loudly for these amazing women, you will feel GOOD after leaving the theatre.
If you think about it, we have really given you 6 reasons to go and see Hidden Figures. So, get off of Netflix and get into a theatre to watch this empowering, inspiring and educational piece of highly talked about art that ACTUALLY features STEM!!!
What even IS a "Guest Guru"? Let us tell you! There are so many amazing people with so many incredible voices out there, that we wanted to dedicate a part of our blog to giving these voices a platform. Our new "Guest Guru" feature is our way of showcasing the amazing awesome people and places that we've had the chance to discover, to create a community of shared experiences. You know what they say: two minds (or like, a million minds) are better than one! Our Guest Gurus might be featured once, twice or on an ongoing basis if they want to share as much as possible with you! We know that we don't know EVERYTHING, and we're excited to collab with people that know stuff that we don't so that YOU, in turn, can learn from them as much as we can. We hope that you enjoy our very first Guest Guru post! If YOU have a great idea for a Guest Guru that we can feature on our site - email us at firstname.lastname@example.org! The more the merrier - enjoy the ride!
Hello TMG readership!
To my knowledge, I am the first guest-blogger to join the TMG family! I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to share this space with you all.
My name is Liz. I am a full-time chemical engineer, working in a manufacturing plant. More importantly, I am a lifelong lover of math and science. More accurately, I am a 100% geek. Put whatever you want in front of it – math-geek, science-geek, music-geek, theatre-geek, board game-geek – I am EXTREMELY passionate about a lot of things.
That being said, I wouldn’t have loved math and science as much as I do just from my teachers at school. I was lucky enough to have an amazing tutor outside of school from grade 5 until I graduated high school that went above and beyond the normal school topics. He taught me to LOVE math contests and actually get pretty good at them (did you know you could get medals for MATH?!); he shared his love of astronomy with me (did anyone else see the recent super moon????); but most importantly he would teach me math in a way that made it relevant to me. He taught me that before Pythagoras existed, Ancient Egyptians would use knotted rope to create the right angles needed when building the pyramids using known ratios (later known as Pythagorean Triples). And in an unforgettable moment, he brought this demonstration to my house, and almost got my entire living room wet – but to this day I can recall the formulas for spheres, cones and cylinders without hesitation!
I am hoping through these semi-regular blog posts that I can bring some relevant news or related topics to your attention to help get YOU excited about math and science! I’ll even talk about my work, what I’m getting excited about day-to- day, and I can even answer questions!
Stay tuned, and get excited for this collaboration!!!
The holiday season is officially here and we could NOT be more excited about it. At TMG we go ALL OUT for the holidays. Right now our tutoring spaces are covered in beautiful lights and candles that smell like candy canes and gingerbread and learning and math. Sort of. The “24 days of TMG” (an advent-calendar of brain-teasers and math and science related problems) is in full-swing and the overwhelming response is a sure sign that people SECRETLY love math:) Our space is SO incredibly decked out that it feels as though we're basically in the North Pole. And it's freezing outside, so that helps. For me, gift-giving is so much fun because I LOVE giving someone the perfect gift! For others, though, I understand that gift-giving can be stressful because oftentimes it's difficult to figure out what someone wants. If you’re having trouble thinking about what to get that math and science loving person for the holidays, look no further! We said we were pumped about the holidays and we mean it. We want to help YOU find the BEST, COOLEST and CUTEST gifts for that math and science loving someone. And so, we're pumped to present....5 Awesome Gifts for Math and Science Lovers!
- The Perfect Mug
Who wouldn’t want to drink their coffee out of a mug that displays its chemical properties? While getting your daily dose of caffeine, study this super cute mug and learn all about caffeine’s chemical molecule. This mug is a great gift for a coffee-addicted, anecdote-loving individual.
- The Science of Spice
Spice up someone’s kitchen with this super-cool spice rack. By turning cooking into a mad science experiment, this gift can totally be the perfect laboratory for the person who loves cooking AND science.
- This Totally Adorable Tote
The cuteness of this tote is just CRAZY. An adorable image of an angle, coupled with a stellar pun, makes this tote a great buy for anyone who loves a good math pun.
- The Cutest Curtain
Have I mentioned that we LOVE puns at TMG? Well, we do. We love them A LOT. Perfect for your special someone, this shower curtain adorably displays your affection for your perfect ten.
- The Sassiest T
Perfect for the math genius know-it-all, this t-shirt says it all. Andddd...also perfect for the person who needs a little self-esteem boost, this t-shirt is a great test-taking good-luck charm.
6. Bonus bonus bonus
Okay so we said this was our Top 5, but there's a sixth! We've JUST opened up our TMG Gift Shop! The perfect one stop holiday shop, we've got cozy sweats and cute totes, but best of all...math-inspired chokers and necklaces
The CRAZIEST thing happened to me the other day. While strolling by the Mt. Pleasant bookstore Mable’s Fables, I stopped in my tracks at the sight of a beautiful window display showcasing children’s books that promote women in STEM. For me, the existence and promotion of “Rosie Revere, Engineer”, and “Ada Twist, Scientist”, in the window of Mable’s Fables is one of the biggest advancements in the field of women in STEM since, like, EVER and I could not be more excited to feature information about these books and their author on this week’s TMG blog.
Andrea Beaty is a total super-star talent; prior to writing children’s books, Beaty attended school in Illinois where she studied Biology and Computer Science. After that, Beaty worked at a computer software company where she helped people with their computer problems and worked loosely as a technical writer (which proved to be great training for writing children’s literature). Not only is Beaty a talented children’s author, her background in STEM demonstrates that there is no such thing as a math or science mind. Thus, Beaty’s interest in multiple disciplines proves the TMG philosophy that there’s no such thing as a “math person” to be true.
Beaty’s “Rosie Revere, Engineer”, tells the story of a little girl named Rosie and her dream to become a world-class engineer. Rosie is starry-eyed—she views both ordinary and unordinary objects with great wonder and sets out to turn said objects into great inventions. In this work, Rosie fears failure and is guided (as a child should be), to celebrate her creative mind. Not only does the book praise Rosie’s willingness to invent and become an engineer, when her first invention fails she is encouraged to try again because the only true failure is to quit. Rosie’s story is one that should be emulated by us all—we should all strive to create new things despite the fear of failure and, in the face of failure, continue to create.
Not only is Beaty the author of “Rosie Revere, Engineer”, she is the author of a slew of other children’s books including “Ada Twist, Scientist”. The themes present in “Rosie Revere, Engineer”, are continuously present in that of “Ada Twist, Scientist”; curiosity is privileged, perseverance is emphasized, and girl-power is demonstrated at every turn.
TMG loves these books by Andrea Beaty as they teach children lessons that we try to instill in our students. So, remember: you have the power to create whatever you wish and face your fears because the sky is the limit! For more information on the author and her amazing books check out www.andreabeaty.com