Prime Numbers & Poetry

I will admit – it’s the holidays and I am in a quandary of what to write about. I’ve decided to cheat a little, and look for inspiration elsewhere – i.e., searching Ted Talks for a math-related topic that I find interesting or inspiring. In my perusing of Ted Talks, which I do every couple weeks since there are so many interesting topics and people to learn from, I found one that I had watched a couple months ago.  It struck me as a great one to share for two reasons. 1) It involves poetry & math, so it’s a lovely cross-curricular exercise if you were to use it with your students; and 2) the math poem, when you listen to his subtle innuendos and wording, teaches quite a lot about prime numbers. It’s really very clever.

I am sharing the whole video, though only the first poem is about math – prime numbers to be exact. I’d suggest listening to it a couple of times in order to really catch the very clever way in which Harry Baker brings in understanding about prime numbers through his love poem called “59”.  If it helps, you can use the transcript of the video to see the words of the poem.

I hope you enjoyed this fun poem. If you have never listened to a Ted Talk, I highly recommend doing so.  I used these with students because there are many out there that are relevant to many subjects and are engaging and thought provoking. They are great conversation starters or reinforcement or introductions to new ideas.