Monday, October 30, 2023

May I have a Library Card? (NCTM Day 2)

After a busy first day in DC and a fairly decent night of sleep, we woke up on Tuesday for another day of sightseeing, but what a day it ended up being!

Knowing how much I love to read, Cindy suggested we check out the Library of Congress.  Since I'm always happier when I'm surrounded by books, I quickly agreed and to be honest, this has to be one of the most beautiful buildings I've ever explored!

When we arrived, we found out that entrance was by ticket only, so Cindy quickly signed us up and we waited for about 15 minutes before getting in line.   

Once we were inside, I was just awe-struck by how gorgeous it was.  

While at the Library of Congress, we saw the Gutenberg Bible, walked through the Visitor Overlook over the Main Reading Room, and saw a few other exhibits, including Thomas Jefferson's personal library...

I thought this would be a pretty quick trip overall and we had plans to go to the National Air and Space Museum that afternoon, but our plans were definitely changed!

While we were in the Overlook, we noticed a sign that said "Anyone 16 and older can apply for a reader's card to use the Library's general collections here."  Are you kidding me??? I can have a library card for the LIBRARY OF CONGRESS?!?!?  Sign me up!!!

Once again, I was completed enthralled with the floors... I could do an entire geometry unit just on the floors of the Library of Congress!

Anyway, while I'm wandering around taking photos of the floors, we find some docents and ask them about obtaining a library card.  It took a while to get clear(ish) directions, but finally we were off to the basement to get a library card!

After we got our cards, we were standing at the entrance to the Main Reading Room, wondering what we could do with our newfound treasure, so we asked the security guard where the Math books would be located.  JUST as we asked him, one of the research librarians was walking by and stopped because she heard us mention "math".  Turns out, she was a former HS Math Teacher and she asked us if we would like to see her research... Umm YES!

Y'all - we got a BEHIND THE SCENES tour of the Library of Congress!  She took us to her office to show us some of her research, then took us down the stacks to see the LoC collection of math books!  

*Pinch me now*

Eventually she took us to the floor of the Main Reading Room (again, having an urge to watch the National Treasure movies when I saw the doorway in the central desk!)

I was totally in book heaven.... I could have easily stayed there for days and it will be a memory I will forever treasure and definitely the highlight of my DC trip!

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Welcome to Washington DC! (NCTM Day 1)

 Whew!  That 3am alarm was just a BIT too early for me!  This is Fall Break, y'all - why am I awake?!?!?

Off to the airport we go.... and several hours later, we're in DC!

Finding your way through a new airport is always a challenge, but thankfully Cindy met a nice local person that helped us navigate to the Metro Station at the airport.  After purchasing a $20 Metro Card, we were ready to go..

In my state, we really don't have a great public transit program, so this was my first subway type experience.  (Although I'm still not quite sure how to navigate it all - very thankful for Cindy!)

My first photo of DC is of the Washington Monument from the Metro window moments before we go underground...

After dropping our stuff off at the AirBnB, we were off to explore!  A quick hop back on the Metro and to the Archives we go!

I have never been a huge history buff, but the architecture of DC is just beautiful.  

I also had to snap a photo of the Capital as we crossed Pennsylvania Avenue... 

(Math side note - I really want to know the algorithm they use to calculate the pedestrian crossing times for each street.  There really didn't seem to be a pattern that I noticed.)

In the National Archives, we spent some time wandering through the Records of Rights exhibits, seeing the Magna Carta and a timeline of our nation's civil rights history.  It was an emotional roller coaster as I saw how far we've come and how far we still have to go.  

In the Archive Rotunda, we saw our nation's founding documents and I just can't even describe how it felt to be standing in front of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  

I will also admit, I had a huge desire to go home and watch National Treasure with Nicholas Cage after visiting the Archives, especially when I noticed they had a reproduction Resolute Desk in the gift shop!

From there, we went to the National Mall and walked down to the Gallery of Art for Cindy to look at an art installation she had discussed in one of her classes....  We were getting pretty hangry by this point since neither of us had eaten since 4am, so I'll admit I spent way too much time looking at the geometry in the floor pattern and not as much on the art around us...

What math do you see?  Here's what I saw...
- Parallel Lines cut by a transversal (which happens to be what we are learning in Geometry)
- a parallel based proof of the Triangle Sum Theorem (yup, already planning it!)
- Triangle Midsegments
- Congruent Triangles
- A Tessellation (of course!)
- A nice discussion of the rigid transformations

(I might have taken about a half dozen photos of the floor....)

From there, we headed on down the mall to find something to eat.  There were food trucks at every museum entrance, but they seemed to mostly be drinks and ice cream.

We popped into the Museum of Natural History and finally got something to eat at their coffee shop, then managed to make it over to the Museum of American History 30 minutes before closing time.  We did get to see the Star Spangled Flag exhibit, the pop culture exhibit, and the first ladies exhibit.  

I quickly went through the Presidential exhibit hoping they might have a copy of President Garfield's proof of the Pythagorean Theorem, but if they did, I didn't see it :(

However, I did get to see President Lincoln's top hat just as the docent told me it was time to leave.... 

Stay tuned for Day 2 - it was *amazing*