*r dr r*: Engaging Students with Significant
Mathematical Content from “The Simpsons”

Sarah J. Greenwald

Appalachian State University

Andrew Nestler

Santa
Monica College

Second only to “Ozzie And Harriet” as the longest-running sitcom of all time, “The Simpsons” has established itself as an award-winning pop culture phenomenon, both in America and internationally. It is also one of the most literate television programs on the air, containing many references to subject matter and scholars from various academic fields, including mathematics. Since “The Simpsons” has been airing in prime-time for most of our students' lives, they likely are familiar with the program and its large cast of characters, including a resident mathematician. For these reasons, and because it contains so many instances of mathematics, from arithmetic to calculus to Riemannian geometry, this program is an ideal source of fun ways to introduce important concepts to students and can be used to motivate students and encourage deep understanding.

http://www.mathsci.appstate.edu/~sjg/talks/mathfest2001simpsons.html Html version of this handout with working web links

http://www.mathsci.appstate.edu/~sjg/talks/simpsons/ Text transcript of the talk

Fox’s official “The Simpsons” website http://www.thesimpsons.com/

Andrew’s guide to appearances of mathematics and mathematicians on “The Simpsons”

http://homepage.smc.edu/nestler_andrew/SimpsonsMath.htm Html format

Sarah’s Geometry of our Earth and Universe segment which includes labs and writing projects on Homer changing dimensions http://www.mathsci.appstate.edu/~sjg/talks/earthanduniverse.html

Sarah’s select text of math and “The Simpsons” http://www.mathsci.appstate.edu/~sjg/math/mathsimpsonstext.html compiled with permission from The Simpsons Archive at http://www.snpp.com/

Sarah’s The Use of Letter Writing Projects in Teaching Geometry, PRIMUS, Volume X Number 1, March, 2000, p. 1-14 http://www.mathsci.appstate.edu/~sjg/papers/geompaper899.pdf

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