Proofs have a Presence in our Every Day Lives
Whether we think so or not, proofs do have a presence in our every day lives. Recently, I was randomly browsing Twitter and saw a tweet from Jimmy Fallon saying that he was on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee with Jerry Seinfeld. (available on Netflix) Of course I clicked because I love these two guys! Jimmy and Jerry take a drive in a Land Rover to take Jerry's Boston Whaler boat out for a spin. Early on these two comedians get lost trying to find a dock. They needed to back up the trailer which sparked an observation about angles and geometry.
Jimmy Fallon: “This is a lot of math. A lot of angles.”
Jerry Seinfield: “This is math. Angles and geometry. And so is comedy, by the way. Comedy's all angles and proofs. Remember writing proofs? That's stand-up. You say something ridiculous and then you prove it to be true. Stand-up comedy is proofs.”
Let's see if there is proof to what Jerry claims. Here is a short skit from The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Jerry claims that we all basically live in our own garbage facility. Starting at minute 2:20. “Your home is a garbage processing center where you buy new things, bring them into your house, and slowly crapify them over time.”
Let's see if I can prove it to be true for myself.
Given: Your home is a garbage processing center where you buy new things, bring them into your house, and slowly crapify them over time.
or in an “if, then” statement
Given: If you bring a new item into the house, then the item will eventually become garbage.
For my proof, I can only use my own personal experience. I went to my garage and looked around at items. At the bottom of the stairs, I saw an old and tattered navy blue rug. I thought about its existence in my home. Look at the two-column proof below that does prove what Jerry Seinfeld stated. The statements came from the video above.
While my item did not go per se to a closet or cupboard, it did go to a room that guests do not typically go into. He wraps up his bit with a funny observation about the words garage and garbage. Jerry said, “The word garage seems to be a form of the word garbage.” If I was better at etymology (the study of the origin of words), I may just try to prove that there is a connection!
Do you think other comedians have come to this conclusion as well? Explore the possibility with your students.
Here are some questions to ask:
- What other comedians use this format?
- Can you write the if, then statement from Jerry Seinfeld in the following statements; inverse, converse, contrapositive?
- Can you find another stand-up comedy routine and write a given statement?
- Can you prove that given?
Proofs are in our every day lives and can go beyond just solving geometric proofs. We can use reason and logic to solve crimes, find errors in our banking, prove that words have different connections, and even that stand-up comedy is a form of proofs. I hope you'll consider using some other unconventional ways of exploring proofs with your students.
This post is part of the Math is Real Life Blog Link-Up.
Head over to view more great math ideas.
Did you enjoy this post? Consider checking out my Geometric Proof Attack Sheets for students.
Image Source: Thomas Hawk on Flickr.com. Edits made: Blue circle and Jerry Seinfeld quote. Thomas Hawk, Jerry Seinfeld, and Jimmy Fallon do not endorse this post…although it would be cool if they read it.