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 award-winning “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 to motivate learning mathematics/statistics, Professor Lesser integrates two great loves – math and music! An award-winning songwriter in general songwriting contests, Lesser has also won awards for educational songs and song videos in recent national contests (ASA, National Museum of Mathematics, CAUSE, QL-SIGMAA) and a video of songs was shown at Bridges 2014. His songs have yielded statistically significant learning gains in an NSF-funded randomized experiment, helped land a new NSF grant to write interactive statistics education songs, and have 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 conference in Nashville) to mathematicians (e.g., opening banquet at 2008 MAA summer meeting) to statisticians (e.g., 2013 USCOTS banquet) to general audiences (e.g., 2015 MoMath event).
Lesser’s outreach has helped yield teaching awards and has been featured in print media (e.g., Australia’s largest newspaper), institutional media (e.g., my college newsletter or the closing story of my university newscast), discipline-based media, and mass media from El Paso to Jamaica! While most of his focus has been at the secondary and postsecondary level, Lesser has also produced material for younger audiences, ranging from an appearance on a regional PBS-TV children's show to writing a "math and music" issue of The Mini Page, an educational supplement in 500 newspapers with some 20 million readers.
Lesser has internationally published 65+ math/stat lyrics, some of the first juried comprehensive articles (in Mathematics Teacher, Teaching Statistics, EJSME, J. of Mathematics and the Arts, and J. of Mathematics Education) on using songs or guitar in math/statistics class, and in his newest NSF grant he has written (or co-written with composer Dominic Dousa) 11 interactive songs (and coordinated the writing of 10 more) to be assessed for effectiveness in helping students learn introductory statistics, as part of broader work on educational fun.
As the Mathemusician (some say “the Weird Al Yankovic of math/statistics education”), Lesser incorporates guitar in interactive classes and keynotes, facilitating explorations and performing songs spanning content such as infinity, pi, problem solving, graphing functions, as well as worldly contexts such as the lottery!
LESSER’S “PROFESSOR BIO”: http://www.math.utep.edu/Faculty/lesser/ (at the bottom)
LESSER’s “SONGWRITER BIO”: http://www.math.utep.edu/Faculty/lesser/songwriter.html