find the value of pi -- starts 3 point 1 4 1 5 9.
A good ol’ fraction you may hope to define, but the decimal never dies ....”
-- from Larry Lesser’s “American Pi”
photo © 1999 Lauren Davis
Lesser performs during the
keynote presentation for a district-wide in-service for
ABOUT THE MATHEMUSICIAN: To support his mission in increasing awareness and motivation in mathematics/statistics, Professor Lesser has tapped and merges two of his great loves – math and music. An award-winning songwriter in general songwriting contests, Lesser has also won awards for his educational songs and song videos in national contests sponsored by the American Statistical Association, the National Museum of Mathematics, the Consortium for the Advancement of Undergraduate Statistics Education, and the Quantitative Literacy SIGMAA, and a video of songs was shown at the 2014 international Bridges conference. His thoughtful and entertaining math songs have attracted international media coverage (including Australia’s largest newspaper and newstalk radio interviews from El Paso to Jamaica!), yielded statistically significant learning gains in an NSF-funded randomized experiment, and led to plenary presentations for national audiences ranging from mathematics teachers (e.g., an SRO audience of 800+ at the opening plenary of the 2009 NCTM regional conference in Nashville) to mathematicians (e.g., opening banquet at 2008 MAA summer meeting) to statisticians (e.g., 2013 USCOTS banquet).
Lesser’s math-and-music outreach has been featured on TV (KCOS, KFOX, KDBC, KVIA), in journals (e.g., EJSME and J. of Mathematics and the Arts), and in institutional media (e.g., pp. 9-10 of COS newsletter; the closing story of UTEP newscast).
Lesser has internationally published 60+ math/stat lyrics, some of the first juried comprehensive articles (in Mathematics Teacher, Teaching Statistics, and Journal of Mathematics and the Arts) on using songs in math/statistics class, and his newest NSF grant involves the creation of interactive songs to be assessed for effectiveness in helping students learn introductory statistics. As the Mathemusician (some say “the Weird Al Yankovic of math/statistics education”), Lesser incorporates guitar in his interactive classes and keynotes, facilitating explorations and performing raps and parodies, creatively adapting popular lyrics towards content such as infinity, pi, problem solving, graphing functions, as well as worldly contexts such as the lottery!
LESSER’S “PROFESSOR BIO”: see paragraph at end of http://www.math.utep.edu/Faculty/lesser/