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NEW People's University “Mathematics 1: Making Sense of Math” to begin February 6


“Mathematics Fun” is NOT an oxymoron.

The new People's University, “Mathematics 1: Making Sense of Math,” a mini four-class series, will begin at the Ohio County Public Library on February 6 and continue to meet for four consecutive Tuesday evenings at 7 pm, ending February 27. Each class will be approximately 60-90 minutes in length. Instructors Jeanne Finstein and Libby and Robert Strong will teach us how to understand mathematical terminologies and functions covering a variety of fascinating and fun mathematical concepts, from Möbius Bands and Universe Modeling, to Dimensionality and Black Hole Mathematics. It’s not as intimidating as it sounds – trust us! You will walk away from this series with a recognition of mathematical patterns, some neat math tricks in your back pocket, and a good grasp of how complex mathematical equations work, all while saying, “Gee, that was really fun!”

People's U: Winter 2018 - Mathematics 1: Making Sense of Math

The full schedule for People's University “Mathematics 1: Making Sense of Math” is as follows:


Class 1: February 6, 7 pm – Mathematics Fun and Games

Instructor: Jeanne Finstein, Ed.D.

“Mathematics Fun” is NOT an oxymoron. Class 1 will highlight some interesting patterns of rational numbers and we will learn some tricks that aren’t part of a typical math class–for instance, did you know you can use your hands to multiply by 9? (Jeanne will teach us why 9 is her favorite number.) Participants will also play a few math games that can exercise the brain and/or provide some interesting and educational ways to entertain children or grandchildren.


Class 2: February 13, 7 pm – Mathematical Concepts 1

Instructors: Libby and Robert Strong

  •          Pain, Bread, Carré, and Squares: Serendipity favors a teacher in need – Math terminology in a finite Universe.
  •          Tri-Gon-O-Metry and the Pythagorean Theorem: Complex Math is far easier than you think – just triangles, circles, and shadows.
  •          The Möbius Band – Modeling the Universe: Music of the Spheres? Paradox? Slight-of-hand? Sneaky Math Trick? Or, just maybe, a mind-numbing underlying Universal Truth doubling the number of types of known objects in the Universe? You Decide.

Class 3: February 20, 7 pm – Mathematical Concepts 2

Instructors: Libby and Robert Strong

  •          Dimensionality and the Tesseract: Becoming familiar with Dimensions–and their extensions–is just the start of, well, understanding everything in the entire Universe – period!
  •          Scaling the Universe and Scientific Notation: How big is big, how small is small? How do we measure bigness and smallness?
  •          Black Hole Mathematics and Universal Implications: The mathematics of Black Holes implies a Universe both simple and awe-inspiring yet understandably grand. Why do Black Holes form? What is Space-Time?

Class 4: February 27, 7 pm – Mathematical Concepts 3

Instructors: Libby and Robert Strong

  • The Drake Equation and the Search for Life: West Virginia’s Greatest Equation that no one has ever heard of. What is Your number of extant communicative civilizations in the Milky Way Galaxy?
  •          Zeno’s Paradox, can’t get there from here: What is a “Pair of Ducks?” How come Zeno said you can’t get there from here and yet you obviously can? What is motion? If you can attend, you will find out.
  •          Phi, Pi, fo, fum… : Most numbers are used merely for counting. A few numbers are ancient Rock Stars, Giants in the field of Math, possessing mysterious and beautiful natures.

Instructors for People’s University “Mathematics 1: Making Sense of Math”


Instructor Jeanne FinsteinJeanne Finstein is probably more well-known for her talks on Wheeling history. However, her professional career was spent as a mathematics educator. She has a Bachelors in Mathematics Education from WVU, a Masters from Wheeling Jesuit, and a Doctorate from WVU. She taught at Triadelphia High School, Wheeling Country Day School, and Wheeling Park High; worked as a curriculum developer at the NASA Classroom of the Future; and was a co-founder of Polyhedron Learning Media, an educational software development company. She is a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and is an officer in the West Virginia Council of Teachers of Mathematics, an organization that awarded her its Distinguished Service Award in 2016.


Instructors Libby and Robert StrongLibby and Robert Strong own and operate SMART Centre Market, Wheeling's Interactive Science Store, in the historic Centre Market District and run the SMART (Science, Mathematics, Art, Research and Technology) Center program, providing hands-on science and mathematics outreach for camps, school programs, teacher workshops, and community events. Robert Strong worked as a physicist in a research laboratory before starting the SMART-Center in 1994 and has been a classroom science and mathematics educator. A West Virginia Wesleyan graduate with a degree in Physics, Robert also holds a Master's in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota. Libby Strong holds a master’s degree in Secondary Education with science emphasis from West Virginia University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Science from Lee University. Certified in Chemistry, Biology, and General Science, Libby has worked as a middle and high school science teacher, college-level science and education instructor, and a professional developer for regional and state teachers. She is the Program Coordinator for the SMART-Center and serves as project director for the WV-Handle On Science Program. A president of the West Virginia Science Teachers Association, she has written or co-written many grants and has served as project director for grants from the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.


In keeping with the mission of public libraries as sanctuaries of free learning for all people, the Ohio County Public Library created The People’s University, a free program for adults who wish to continue their education in the liberal arts. The People’s University features courses — taught by experts in each subject — that enable patrons to pursue their goal of lifelong learning in classic subjects such as history, music appreciation, philosophy, and literature. Patrons may attend as many classes as they wish. There are no tests of other requirements and all programs are free and open to the public. To register for People’s University  “Mathematics 1: Making Sense of Math,” please email the library at ocplarchives@gmail.com, call us at 304-232-0244, or visit the Reference Desk.



Library-Sponsored Programs Policy

The purpose of Ohio County Public Library-sponsored programs is to provide education, information, and entertainment for library patrons. The Library reserves the right to exercise sole discretion in selecting and inviting presenters for its programs. In selecting presenters, the Library does not discriminate on account of race, color, age, sex, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, political affiliation, religion, ancestry or national origin, and the views expressed by presenters of Library-sponsored programs, or by any person in attendance at the programs, do not necessarily reflect the views of the Library, its staff, and/or its representatives.

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