How to Interview a Math Concept

square interviewPrepare for the Interview

Here is one way to prepare for the interview:

  • Pick a math concept (like the number pi, the fraction 1/3, the Venn diagram, the triangle, or the hexagon)
  • Make a knowledge web for your topic.
    • Use a large, blank sheet of paper
    • Write your concept in the centre
    • All around your concept, write all the things you know and can find out about it (use your textbook; use Google; ask your peers)
    • Then write as many other things that your concept connects to (for example, the hexagon is found in beehives and in floor tiles; where else?)
  • Make a list of questions and possible answers, using the ideas from your knowledge web. Good interviews offer some controversy and surprise. For example, here's a possible Q&A for the hexagon:
    • Interviewer: Hexagon, is it true that you are a honey thief?
    • Hexagon: Of course not. Where did you get such a crazy idea?
    • Interviewer: Tell us the truth, Hexagon. Why have you been spending so much time in beehives?

Write your Interview

Now you're ready to write the interview:

  • Sequence your questions in an order that tells a good story.
  • Refine your Q&A.
    • Be concise in your questions and answers.
    • Use expressive language.
    • Show humour and emotion.
  • Test your interview with a friend.
    • Read it aloud, with one of you playing the role of the interviewer and the other playing the role of the Hexagon.
    • Reverse roles and try it again.
    • What works well?
    • What needs improvement?
  • Write a brief introduction.
    • Tell us where the interview is taking place: where does the Hexagon live? Mathville? Flatland? Shapeville?
    • Tell us one piece of information about the interviewer: for example, whom does she work for?

Perform your Interview

Here are some ways to perform your interview:

  • Create a dramatic reading of your interview.
  • Record a radio show performance of your interview.
  • Write your interview as a comic strip, with appropriate pictures/expressions for different parts of the interview.
  • Use Story Telling software, like Photo Story, Movie Maker, iMovie or iPhoto, to create a multimedia performance of your interview. The Scandal about Pi interview was created using Movie Maker.
  • Write a poem or song based on the interview. For example, see the poem/song I am Too which is based on the idea of the Real Square interview shown above.
  • You might want to create a classified ad for your concept. See the examples below:
  • You might also want to create a poster for your concept. See two samples below. See also a pdf handout on this theme.

Share your Interview

Share a performance of your interview in our Math Performance Festival.