When I plan a lesson, I often forget to check iTunes University for offerings to incorporate in my math classes. There are always courses and classes being added so its worth checking out.

Over the next two days, I'm going to suggest several with interesting activities or topics for the classroom.

The first is Curious Math: Foundations of Math by Orr and Kyle Pearce. The class was designed to bridge two different math classes in Ontario. It is a combination of iBooks, 3 Act tasks, and some have a teachers manual to accompany them. This course covers measurement, proportional reasoning, graphing, linear relationships, and algebraic representations.

Some of the activities are only for iPads but most can be downloaded onto a computer so if your school has bandwidth issues, you can download many of the videos to your computer to show. I checked out a video showing a young man beating the world record for number of claps per minute. He set a new record but I cannot believe how fast he was able to clap. Over 800 claps in one minute. It was awesome. This was part of a 3 act task. I'm wanting to do it with my class.

The second is from the The University of Oxford called The Secrets of Mathematics. This series of lectures discuss a variety of topics from symmetry to modeling genes, to What maths really do for a total of 38 different lectures. Each lecture lasts about an hour, some more, some less. I began listening to one called The Sound of Symmetry which covered symmetry in nature. For me, I found it fascinating.

Other lectures like The Mathematics of Visual Illusion, or The History of Mathematics in 300 stamps, along with Maths in Music caught my eye. I want to watch these myself and learn more. In fact, I can use these lectures for learning to take visual notes before I try to explain it to my students. I have a purpose for watching these.

I will not have more than 45 minutes in a class period for watching these so if I break them in half to show, I can get through a few and expose students to a different perspective on mathematics. I think we need to do this so students see mathematics is not always solving equations per-say.

Check out the first lecture in the Beauty of Mathematics from Aspen Ideas Festival called A Mathematician Reads the newspaper. It is an hour long lecture where a mathematician shows all the ways math is used in newspapers. This might help answer "When will I ever see this?"

Open University has a wonderful class called Exploring Mathematics: A Powerful Tool which explores ways math is used in the real world. I watched a short introductory video which touched on specialized bamboo scaffolding in Hong Kong and predicting climate change. The bamboo scaffolding caught me right there. Other topics include How Math Helps Dolphins, a five minute video examining the use of statistical modeling to determine endangered species survival rates.

Open University has a second class in this nature called Exploring Mathematics: Maths in Nature and Art. Some of the topics include How a sundial works, Manufacturing patterns (designing carpets), spirals in nature, and the Lure of fractals. Every video comes with a transcript in this and the previous one. In addition, most videos are under 10 minutes long.

Tomorrow, I'm going to look at a few more classes, collections, and podcasts created to show students that math is related to real life. Let me know what you think. Have fun exploring these.