Informal Education

Approximately 10 times per year I am asked to give short, entertaining, motivating talks to camps, tours, or school classrooms. For those events I have created a collection of unusual lessons designed to surprise and engage the audience. A few of my favorite examples, are below.

In this interactive talk entitled “Mary and her Markov Music,” we use simple Markov Chains and a python sound library to compose music in the flavor of Mary Had a Little Lamb.

For this talk, entitled "Knit Picking," I have defined several functions within the KhanAcademy javascript programming environment that allow me to draw immediate parallels between knitting instructions and code. The purpose of the talk is to illustrate functions and abstraction, iteration, and variable assignment.

This longer activity entitled "The Beauty of Computer Science," includes the CSUnplugged Graph Coloring lesson, followed by narrative that leads students through a combinatorial reduction from garden planning, to sudoku puzzles, and then, surprisingly, back to graph coloring.


Theory Vaudeville was a series of skits and magic tricks developed by the MathManiaCS in celebration of the opening of the Siebel Center for Computer Science in 2004. In addition to a trip to Binaria (shown here), the Recursion Fairy made a visit to help us move a tower of boxes from Hanoi into the new building, and we enjoyed a command performance from the MergeSort Dancers.