Susan Gerofsky

Assoc. Professor, Mathematics Education
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC, Canada
As a mathematics educator, I’m interested in helping students learn about mathematical patterning and structuring through hands-on, whole body activities and arts-based approaches. Multisensory, aesthetically-pleasing realizations of mathematical patterns have been shown to help learners at all levels build more meaningful understandings of abstract mathematical concepts and notations. I am especially captivated by mathematical poetry, music and dance.
Seven Strands of Alphabetical Braided Crows
Susan Gerofsky: Original poem, music, direction, editing; Phil Byrne: Principal camera, sound, consultation; Earle Peach: Singing, guitar; Barbara Jackson: Singing, melodica; Kris Zalite: Drum, dancing; Jason Hall: Pennywhistle; Zach, Stephanie: Scrabble
This film is a performance of a combinatoric poem and song on seven elements, structured as a 7-strand braid. It reflects my fascination with translating combinatoric group structures across different artistic forms and media. The braid structure here takes the seven initial elements through 14 ordered permutations (of their 7! = 5040 possible permutations) to return to the initial string. Starting with seven coloured ribbons, the pattern is made from the first seven letters of the alphabet, A to G; the 7 musical notes of the A natural minor scale; and a seven-word initial sentence starting with the letters A to G, set to an asymmetrical 7-beat bar. The film also embodies a multisensory pedagogical approach to mathematical understanding, through visual, verbal and musical realizations.

Musicians and dancers in East Vancouver, a place of crows, performed their parts of this musical poetry reading in socially-isolated settings, and the elements were combined to create the film.