I am b5ecoming th8e center of some circ5le,
all p9oints equi05distant from72 me,
interc2hangeable. I a2m zero-
ing in on random355ness.
"Crop Circles5" in Pilgrimís Guide, 2006
The opening NEWS story for this week's web site descibes Jessica Goodfellow and her mathematics-laced poetry. An interesting feature of her chapbook Pilgrim's Guide" is Goodfellow's inclusion of the element of randomness. Her story underlying the process is fascinating, with her trying to type whilde holding her young child Taiyo on her lap:
"He was busy banging the number keypad while I typed, and I got tired of stopping to delete his insertions, so I decided to just finish the project and come back and delete all the numbers when he was asleep. When I returned to do that, I was surprised at how readable the document was, with its 'random' number additions; it was actually a challenge to find them all because my eyes would just skip over them without any loss of comprehension. That got me thinking about all the randomness that occurs in our lives and how we process the information without letting it overwhelm or deter us; in many cases people don't even take any notice of it.
Thus, in writing the full poem (above is an excerpt), Goodfellow used a random number table to chose the digits she would insert in the poem and another random number table to determine where in the poem the digit(s) would be inserted. Maybe you should have your students try this?