Humor

“The wise teacher… knows that 55 minutes of work plus 5 minutes’ laughter are worth twice as much as 60 minutes of unvaried work.” — Gilbert Highet, in The Art of Teaching

statistics edutainment column (with Dennis Pearl) in Teaching Statistics (those without individual or institutional subscriptions can access author-accepted versions here)

Lesser use of syndicated comic strips for statistics/math lessons (“panel discussions”):

(2018). Classroom notes: ‘One in ten’. Teaching Statistics, 40(1), 33-34.
(2016). The stature of salary: Raised expectations or a tall tale? Mathematics Teacher, 110(3), 168-169.
(2015). Normally speaking. Mathematics Teacher, 108(6), 408, 410.
(2012). Lottery lunacy. Mathematics Teacher, 106(2), 93-94.
(2010). The high school weirdness factor. Mathematics Teacher, 103(7), 474-477.
(2008). ‘Safe Havens’ graph. Mathematics Teacher, 101(9), 690, 692.
(2007). A round this date in time; Pizza pi, anyone? Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, 12(7), 383, 387.

selected other STEM education humor-related items:

Lesser, L. (ongoing).  20+ cartoon captions (largely from winning blind/peer-judged contests), 1 puzzle, 30 poems, 40 jokes, and 65 songs in CAUSE collection of statistics educational fun; also, I post many of my stats/math songs HERE, such as the humorous “Talkin’ Real-Life Problem Blues” (a winner in the National Museum of Mathematics’ 2018 Open Set math song contest)

Lesser, L. (2021). ASA Gives Back Hallow-Meme contest winner, Amstat News, no. 534, p. 5.

Lesser, L. (2021). 2020 Questions. Journal of Irreproducible Results, 53(2), 8.

Karaali, G. & Lesser, L. (Sept. 2020). A modest proposal. The Mathematical Intelligencer, 42(3), 55-56. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00283-019-09961-0

Lesser, L. (2018). Gender neutral design [joke], CAUSEweb

Lesser, L. (2016). The square root transformation [joke], CAUSEweb (also in Radical Statistics)

Lesser, L. (Nov. 2015). invited performance at Open Set, National Museum of Mathematics, New York City.

Lesser, L. M. (2015). Inequality Proof. Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, 5(2), 185.

Lesser, L. M. (2014). Dicey Simulation Examples Made While ‘On a Roll’ in Pair-a-Dice. Journal of Irreproducible Results, 52(3), 15.

Lesser, L. (2014). Celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day. Authored text and idea of cartoon for John Landers to draw for display at worldofstatistics.org on Random Acts of Kindness day in 2014.

Lesser, L. (June 2013). One mean class [dramatic sketch]. Statistics Teacher Network, no. 81, p. 20.

Lesser, L. (May 2013). Banquet performance, 5th biennial United States Conference on Teaching Statistics, Cary, NC.

Lesser, L. (2012). Using snakes to constrict statistics anxiety. Teaching Statistics, 34(3), 111.

Lesser, L. M. (2010). Watch your language when teaching mathematics! Journal of Irreproducible Results, 51(1), 8-9.

Lesser, L. (2009). Composing Connections: Mathemusician Merges Math and Music in the Music City!, opening plenary session, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Regional Conference & Exposition, Nashville TN.

Lesser, L. (2008). Even More Fun Learning Stats. STATS, 49, pp. 5-8, 19, 27. [issue is at https://www.CAUSEweb.org/cause/archive/stats/STATS_49.pdf ; https://www.causeweb.org/cause/filebrowser/download/354]

Lesser, L. (2007). Learning Stats is FUN…with the Right Mode. STATS, 48, pp. 7-11, 21, 26-28.  [issue is at https://www.CAUSEweb.org/cause/archive/stats/STATS_48.pdf  ; https://www.causeweb.org/cause/filebrowser/download/347 ]

Lesser, L. (2007). “The Like-hurt scale of pleasurable pain” & “The tuna fish scale.” Journal of Irreproducible Results, 50(4), pp. 10, 13. [they won first place and honorable mention, respectively, in the JIR’s national humor contest on scales of measurement]

Lesser, L. (2006). Resources for Humor/Fun/Motivation in the Mathematics/Statistics Classroom.  Handbook of the 17th annual meeting of the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor, p. 87.  Princeton, NJ: AATH.

some cautions on using humor:

Lesser, L. (2016; Winter 2015-16). Sounding off on stereotypes. Noticias de TODOS: News from TODOS Mathematics for ALL11(2), 1-3 https://www.todos-math.org/assets/documents/noticias/noticiasv11n2winter2015.pdf or https://toma.memberclicks.net/assets/documents/noticias/noticias_volume11_2.pdf [related to my piece in Dec. 2022 Mathematics Teacher: Learning and Teaching PK–12, 115(12), 915-920, https://doi.org/10.5951/MTLT.2022.0218, introduced by Tabatha Ridenour’s summary of the July 5, 2022 MTLT Journal Club meeting which discussed — after my intro video — my April 2014 Mathematics Teacher article]

Lesser, L. (April 2014). Staring down stereotypes. Mathematics Teacher, 107(8), 568-571. This Mathematics Teacher article (with introductory video) selected for July 5, 2022 MTLT Journal Club meeting. Article will appear (augmented by summary of journal club discussion) in Mathematics Teacher: Learning and Teaching PK–12.  

Lesser, L. M. (2003). Further Comments and Cautions on Using Humor [letter about Friedman et al. article]. Journal of Statistics Education, 11(1), 1-2.

BACKGROUND on my jocuLARRYty:  I’ve created (usually intentionally) humorous items in the context of math/statistics (part of a larger body of “educational fun” work), informed by books (e.g., John Allen Paulos’ Mathematics and Humor) and Sam Cox’s comedy course that yielded a 4-minute set at Austin’s Laff Stop. My humor activities beyond STEM include an article in an international humor research journal, winning Best Humorous Song at a statewide music contest (and having that song also be a Semifinalist in an international contest), winning a 2018 Moment magazine cartoon caption contest, having humorous songs (“Earthwoman”, “Big Bad Grad School Blues”, “Freedumb”) played on FM radio, being a Semifinalist the year I entered the O. Henry Museum Pun-Off World Championship, and giving an AATH workshop.