The Only Winning Move is Not To Play, unless…

My morning started with an edchat on Twitter.  I’m @MathEdisonHSNJ.  I spent the morning creating an unholy Ed-Pile of motivational quotes with other educators. It was exactly as awesome as it sounds, and my quote reservoir has been refilled substantially. Check it out here.
But as I went back to my twitter feed to check on a notification, I saw the post of an educator I follow, Lindsey Lipsky (@lindseylipsky).  Here’s what she tweeted this afternoon. Screenshot 2015-02-21 at 4.52.09 PM


Being the general math nerd that I am, the tweet sent me into an internet investigation, searching for the mathematical dimensions of a Dot (could have just asked Lindsey to measure, I guess), because I wanted to find the volume of the shape for my students, since it’s clearly not a cone, or a cylinder, or any general geometric shape, despite the claim by the Tootsie company that it’s “cone shaped.”

That hunt took me on a winding road through Youtube, math puzzles, the Tootsie Co website, and into a head to head Tic Tac Toe match with Lindsey, and ultimately here, to start this blog, Unanswerable Questions. Here’s how we got there.

After seeing Lindsey’s post and searching for what seemed like an endless 10 minutes online, I came across this video:

At 0:25 he shows the back of the box, which has a math game on it, so naturally I snapshot it and tweet a copy to Lindsey. She responds to me with a photo of the back of her box: 

So we begin to play a virtual game of tic tac toe, which ends in a tie (go figure)

Screenshot 2015-02-21 at 3.44.49 PM


The unexpected game of strategy held between me and a colleague living 800 miles from me brought us both to the same place…how can I make this into a lesson on probability for my students?

At which time, Lindsey inspired me to come here:

For some time now I’ve been thinking about Unanswerable Questions as a means to developing statistical thinkers.  I’ve used them in my classes, like “how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop” and “how many people in the world look like me?” Students dive deep into the internet to find information that can help get closer to an answer to the unanswerable.

But today, Unanswerable Questions became a blog of mine.  This will be a place I share my lessons, my thoughts, and stories like today’s about a game of tic tac toe and a new friend.  You see, this morning I asked myself, “what do you think you’ll learn from your #edchat talk today?”  The search for an answer to that Unanswerable Question brought me here.

So thanks Lindsey.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.