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I Was 19th But Now am 320th!

Warning: On first view, you will conclude that this week's website has absolutely nothing to do with teaching mathematics, let alone mathematics itself. YET...I expect you will play with it...and perhaps even show it to others!

B.R. (Bellingham WA) sent me the link stating it was a "fun tool to look at name frequency over time..." So, I clicked on NameVoyager and started playing:

  • Find your name by sliding the mouse cursor over the graph
  • Shift the mouse horizontally to see how your name frequency changed over the years of your life
  • Now, type in your name (upper left hand corner of graph)..tada!
I found this website fun to play with, noticing that my name was quite common prior to my birth year and it has been a steep down hill since then.

Plus, I find that the graph itself is a fascinating visual display of data, which could prompt some discussion amongst students (or even fellow teachers). Some "good" questions:

  • Find a name whose curve is bi-modal? Tri-model?
  • Find a name whose curve is constantly increasing? Constantly decreasing?
  • Find a name whose curve is similar to the normal curve?
  • Find a name whose curve has constant slope of zero?
  • Find a male name and a female name whose curves would be symmetric with an appropriately placed horizontal line?
Note: I did not say that these questions had answers...but they seemed like good questions!