In this series, I’m compiling some of the quips and one-liners that I’ll use with my students to hopefully make my lessons more memorable for them.
Perhaps the world’s most famous infinite series is
as this is the subject of Zeno’s paradox. When I teach infinite series in class, I often engage the students by reminding students about Zeno’s paradox and then show them this clip from the 1994 movie I.Q.
This clip is almost always a big hit with my students. After showing this clip, I’ll conclude, “When I was single, this was part of my repertoire of pick-up lines… but it never worked.”
Even after showing this clip, some students resist the idea that an infinite series can have a finite answer. For such students, I use a physical demonstration: I walk half-way across the classroom, then a quarter, and so on… until I walk head-first into a walk at full walking speed. The resulting loud thud usually confirms for students that an infinite sum can indeed have a finite answer.
For further reading, see my series on arithmetic and geometric series.