Math Principles of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate

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I am laying on my bed on a Friday night avoiding sonic booms from this giant bird creature (Qurupeco). Every time I get close to it I have to make sure that my blades are properly sharpened such that when I am able to reach it after it attempts to blow me away with its gust that my blades can actually penetrate its hide. After the gust , the Qurupeco spreads its wings and its throat nearly triples in size as it bellows a screech that halts me in my steps. Next thing I see is a magenta and purple dinosaur (Great Jaggi) running from another size of the field I am in. So while I am trying to attack the Qurupeco, this Great Jaggi attacks me taking and I change my attention. 

Didn't see this coming

I have to watch for how it tilts its head, as that indicates he is either going to swing his tail or head in my direction. It yells loudly and its children come to attack me once it sends off this signal. I have lost sight of the Quruperco now and this battle is now about preventing this Great Jaggi from interrupting the original hunt. I notice that every time it yells it stays stagnant, that means I can attack with the the sharpened blades, unleashing my combo. Once it does that, I have to evade its attacks and wait for it to expose itself once again.  Or I can be bold and try to get behind it to unleash any attacks. My patience is rewarded and I become able to carve this monster. I pick up its great frill and its hide. Both of which I need in order to improve the dual blades I have from the in-town smith. I spend the next few minutes trying to find the Qureperco I was trying to find the bird.

I start running out of time , as there is only a 50 minute time limit. I run through a couple of different zones and I finally see it again. However my impatience causes me not  value the details. So while I saw that he was lighting a spark with his claws, I was too busy trying to apply damage and I get burned when he jumps at me with his claws. I then realize that my sword has become dull, and I can't afford to apply whetstone back to my sword as I leave myself open for another attack. I would have to hide, I can't hide though, the time is passing by.  I decide to try to reapply, and I get burned once again and I die. My character re-spawns from the beginning of the level, maybe I can catch up back to this beast. However the time rings and I have to find time again to start over this quest.

So I just detailed what a Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate battle looks like, how does this even apply to Math at all? Well ask yourself if that experience, even in failure was rewarding? Yes. I clearly enjoyed all of this, and was thoroughly engaged to the end. However thats an emotional award, what about the lessons I gained from that experience? Well I became aware that the Great Jaggi is paired with the Qurepeco. I learned that I wasted too much time in that battle when I could have been on the Qurepeco. I realized that certain things the bird did lead to me being attacked. I described that the sparking of its claws leads to a burning attack. I realized that I need to watch for how my swords are sharpened as I can't attack unless they are at their peak. I even got some valuable hide and frills* that can allow me to upgrade my weapon, so maybe I can upgrade my weapon so that when I do this quest again I am more prepared.

All those things are aspects of what a great Math lesson is. Its not all about necessarily being able to conquer the battle (the objectives) of the class time limit, its about maximizing the experience in the classroom. Our classrooms need to replicate this. We can provide a student with this larger math question (Qurupeco) . However once they start trying to unpack that question they end up with a meaningful smaller but challenging question (Great Jaggi). This something that they need to sort out before even going back to the main question, in this naturally occurring subquestion (just like the Great Jaggi naturally appeared) there are major benefits to be had. The students are able to identify conceptual links between this and the main objective. They can spend their time facing the sub objective and it's intricacies (the children). And once they 'beat' that, they end up with some meaningful conceptual understanding of the material (the spoils of it' hide and frill). They at the end of the class, regardless of wether or not they answered the big question , are upgraded mentally.

Dig the new armor?

They can go back to the larger task at hand and run out of time because of the impatience. There are seeds that demonstrate they recognize patterns but can't really meaningfully respond. However the failure of answering the question now is a badge of honor. In the sense they had a battle, a riveting experience. They have some new armor and when faced tomorrow with the main question, if the sub questions come, they will slay it quickly now and focus attention back on the major question. This is what is the satisfying hunt in Monster Hunter sounds like , and if we can provide these experiences for mathematical conceptual understanding they will feel rewarded.


Monster Hunter's Math Principles

  • Bigger problems like bigger monsters are all the more engaging
  • Like the Qurupeco and Great Jaggi, think of creating problems that have multiple concepts attatched that will have students have to build one certain set of skills to get to the other
  • Each part of a battle has some items that can be used to better the player, likewise the actual things we have students do in class actually have to be of benefit to them for the larger picture
  • Monster Hunter players expect to lose once in a while, allow students to embrace that, as long as they gain valuable lessons such that they can go back again .
  • Emphasize for students to look for patterns and create questions where they have to immerse themselves in that, Monster Hunter's battling system is only engaging because it rewards players who watch what the monster does and tries to figure out what he or she will do when the monster does these things.
  • Other games like Monster Hunter which have a emphasis on collecting material and upgrading can easily fail by having people engaged in non dynamic battles, whereas teachers can mess up by the provision non dynamic questions .
  •  Most Monster Hunter Players will suggest that playing the game co-operatively is a need (I have the 3ds version so thats not happening soon), but we know that having students work together is a key part of meaningful learning.

Real Math is messy, its rough, there is a lot collecting of knowledge to be done and failures throughout. We have to make the failures worth enduring. Monster Hunter is a game that when you fail but that you fail, you get a lot out of it when you do. It makes the moment when you beat the monster ten times more rewarding. Math is the same.

*Although in the game you don't get to keep them if you fail the quest 

Shout outs: Jodecideon
Peace, Love, Unity, God Bless and Keep Safe

Interview: CJ The Genesis

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Me and CJ's talk on Salvation a few months ago covering the sampling of Cary Rae Jepsen, the Altlanta influence, happy trap music & his next project.

Download Salvation: Here
CJ The Genesis Twitter: Here
CJ The Genesis Facebook: Here

Shout outs: CJ The Genesis
Peace, Love, Unity, God Bless and Keep Safe

Interview: The Day Dream Sound


Been a long time coming to chat with this dude

I finally sat down with The Day Dream Sound and we talked about his new Instrumental album, The DayDream Sound 2: The Passage to Alkebulan.

Stream and cop the album if it intrigues you here:

His twitter is:
His facebook is:

Shout outs: TheDayDream Sound
Peace, Love, Unity, God Bless and Keep Safe

Mathematics and Banking Education

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      Today I have to give sincere props to both my mother and Dr. Bridges. Engaging in a conversation with both enlightened some of my developing impressions and concerns with Paulo Friere's Pedagogy of the Oppressed. I am currently in the midst of reading his description of 'Banking Education'. The definition hit me twice over; in the context of both counter cultural art and math education. I will wait to unpack the idea of counter cultural art once my friend finishes his project, but I can definitely speak to my current life project in examining math education.
      Reflecting upon that experience under new notions of actual understanding, the ability to look for patterns and make connections that I did intuitively is significant in the process of being  a mathematician. My peers didn't get that intuitively. The way we were being taught  limited their ability to succeed, and if they did succeed it was by means of the ability just to do a task. They weren't being supported (nor was I) to cognitively reflect on any possible connections to the things we were doing in the classrooms. The students were not being encouraged to be mathematical. The focus was being right by following prescribed steps(something I am trying to shake to this day).
        I have been under hunches since last semester that essentially believes the style mathematics has been taught to me growing up was oppressive. That inherently the way in which we did mathematics is not built for those who aren't a art of a certain ilk to succeed (I realize I am making a big assumption here and in a further post I will try to unpack what I mean, for now take it on surface value). This has been rooted in the idea of effective pedagogy, however upon reading Friere, the definition of Banking Education gives me space and I guess room to make sense of the hunches I have been having over the last 6 months. For those who don't know Banking Education is the following:
       The characteristics of banking education including being mechanic. This detail allows me to link this to my history with Mathematics. I mentioned that I was learning math by artificial 100 question ritual. Thats mechanic by default. The skill and drill notion of mathematics is so popular that I feel anyone reading this can relate. In fact the idea of my boss at a past job was that the math proficiency just happened by doing. However subscribing to that theory suggests meaningful education occurs via mechanistic means of education, which is whole heartedly wrong. Although I am just trying to get my mind around what Paulo Friere has to say his view on education which suggests that if a 'Banking Education' is occurring , then students are being oppressed. 
     To end this post and thought lightly, we talk about STEM as being a means of liberating students of dark backgrounds but is it possible that the alleged future of the world, the way it is being taught, is a means of actually trapping them? That the alleged most important means of education that can free a student, as it is described in the mainstream, has qualities that are determined to oppress the students who need it the most?

      Based on my math experiences in Jamaica I have walked away feeling that math classes reinforces primitive techniques. The techniques I grew up with were skill and drill oriented. I remember doing 100 questions for home work when studying algebra to get the hang of it. I wouldn't necessarily speak against that experience as I was able to develop a certain eye for patterns . However those pattern searching eyes were something I just developed internally on my own trying to get the right answer, where as my friends didn't. Instead they just felt swamped, feeling that mathematics had no purpose. It was weird, each of my peers found something they flourished in and there was stiff competition to be what we called 'gurus' amongst each other for certain subjects. I remember my friends Christopher  and Courtney fighting to be History gurus. Math was nothing  like that. It was a lonely island among my immediate peers, it was just me. My friends identity and perception of competency was in the subjects they tried to be gurus in, its interesting that I was alone amongst them who tried to do that with math.

"Education thus becomes an act of depositing, in which the students are the depositories and the teacher is the depositor. Instead of communicating , the teacher issues communiques and makes deposits which the students patiently receive, memorize and repeat " ( Friere 1970, pg. 53)

Could it?

Shout outs: Dr.Bridges, Mom
Peace, Love, Unity, God Bless and Keep Safe

Kanye's Dark Fantasy About Education


What does Kanye have to say about the education system as we currently know it? I am not sure exactly, but I take cues of inspiration from listening to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy's opening. Which seems to allude that we as teachers are losing grip of the students, and that the problem is that we think we are able to gain the students attention. I believe this 'Dark Fantasy' is the sad reality of affairs we live in today as teachers. I will break down a few of Kanye's verses in this song that suggest this.

Nicki Minaj opens that :
You might think you've peeked the sceneYou haven't, the real one's far too meanThe watered down one, the one you knowWas made up centuries ago

When we think about this, Nicki begins to suggest that the reality that we are living in is fake. We are ignorant to what really is. We are invited to take the red pill and dive deeper into whats happening. I believe that it can't hurt to see what these stars have to say. We don't have to agree but we ought to listen, because quite frankly if their popularity means anything, our students are listening.

I fantasized 'bout this back in ChicagoMercy, mercy me, that MurcielagoThat's me, the first year that I blowHow you say broke in Spanish? Me no hablo

What I presume here we are witnessing is the idea of success from a person who was fed up for the education system as we know it (obvious from listening to College Drop-Out).  What is the very first treasures of success we witness? We hear about his car and the feeling of not being broke. Now if we think about this, students are hearing this and many who listen obviously empathize and agree with this sentiment. We as teachers need to pay attention that our students will be asking the obvious question at times, how will *insert class* make me money? So we as a teacher have to decide how our classrooms will respond. Are we going to respond by teaching towards a job?

Me drown sorrow in that DiabloMe found bravery in my bravadoDJs need to listen to the modelsYou ain't got no fucking Yeezy in Serrato?(You ain't got no Yeezy, nigga?)

If we do teach toward a job, this trivializes most of the efforts and lofty ideas in the classroom. It becomes an effort to just do what is told. However this isn't satistfying.As Mr.Wests points out in the treasures , the money, there is something hollow(creating pseudo-bravery, partying with models etc), he has drown it in something.

Look like a fat booty Celine DionSex is on fire, I'm the king of Leona LewisBeyond the truestHey, teacher, teacher, tell me how do you respond to students

Here Mr.West clearly suggests that he is still trying to drown out the hollowness of the life (in this case with sex). Then he poses the question of how are you going to respond to the students like him? Do you want your students to end up with this mindset as well? He does a great job of suggesting the responsibility is ours. I ultimately belive that he is suggesting that our teaching method has to leave the student fulfilled.

And refresh the page and restart the memory?Respark the soul and rebuild the energy?We stopped the ignorance, we killed the enemiesSorry for the night demons that still visit me
Here he gives characteristics of this fulfilled student. The students memory of the material is alert. There is a soul behind the subject and there is a certain energy at work. Lastly and most importantly, the ignorance that the student had, vanishes.

The more and more I hear this song , I think about the type of ways we teach. I believe that it is most likely that Kanye was taught primarily with drills in mind. His teachers were either teaching mundanley towards a job(when we think about how trivial the money becomes in this song) or just teaching for the sake of teaching ( as we have to take into consideration on the College Dropout where he mentions the best students working for Cheesecake factory). The classroom has to be more than these two things. We as teachers need to be deliberate in our goal. And this goal has to leave the student fulfilled. Otherwise we have the following issue:

At the mall, there was a seanceJust kids, no parentsThen the sky filled with heronsI saw the devil in a Chrysler LeBaron
And the hell, it wouldn't spare usAnd the fires did declare usBut after that, took pills, kissed an heiressAnd woke up back in Paris

Where our students will continue to empathize with Mr.West, and we as teachers will be  blind to the disinterest in our students(no parents were there). However we are still thinking that our current ways of teaching are enough. The students will be empty in one way or another (money or the lack of a job) and they will be consumed ultimately by material posessions.
Thankfully the song ends with this just being a vision. However visions can become reality. Lets figure out how to fulfill students in our classroom before the Dark Fantasy becomes real.


Peace, Love, Unity, God Bless and Keep Safe
Shout outs: Mr.West, Dr.Ellington

It's All Mathematics !

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    So back in 2007 two years after a discussion in 2005, yours truly made a flight with the family to the island of Manhattan, aiming to capitalize on the opportunity of living in America, much less New York. I had to battle through 12th grade here, eyes set on going on to become some form of Mathematician. I got through and due to financial difficulty, opportunity and the blessing of the CUNY system I remained in the city fighting to become a mathematician. Fast-forward to now the dream is different upon graduating as a Math major from the CUNY system.
     While battling through the last five years the secondary interest I had developed to my primary interest. In Jamaica I heard Kanye's Jesus Walks. I visited America a twice before I moved here. Picking up College Dropout one time, and Rhymefest's Blue Collar the second time. Looking back with my infatuation with both albums, I am not surprised at all that upon moving here that Hip-Hop music would become my primary recreational interest.

     Here we had a student pursuing Math, notoriously known to destroy students , much less black students hopes of being interested in any Science field. Taking classes with Dr. Lewis about Social Inequality in Hip-Hop, I was becoming very familiar with seeing Hip-Hop being used in the classrooms to discuss the social world. I was beginning to see how Hip-Hop doesn't have to be estranged from my academic priorities. However I was still confused to as how my interest in Math could be fused with Hip-Hop.

      Until this point even Hip-Hop emcees who I believe to have profound lyrics didn't make much Mathematic references. Hell even Mos Def's Mathematics was a song that used mathematics to enlighten social issues instead of really looking at how Hip-Hop could be looked at mathematically.  Thats not a knock on the song but I continued to feel that the academic part of my life would forever be separated from my biggest interest. That was until I until I made a reform in my own academic pursuit.
       Ironically throughout my college career I was hell bent on being a theoretical Mathematician even though all my grades indicated I could have been a stellar applied Mathematician. However all my extra-curricular experiences throughout college involved teaching. Teaching was something I was always interested ever since I became interested in Math at the age 14 in Jamaica. I kind of tried to avoid it because I was convinced that there was more to the degree. However at 20 I figured out that even though there is much more I could do with the degree, at the bottom of my heart teaching Math is what I really wanted to do. I had did these teaching experiences all ignoring the desire to hone in on it.
Making the change really has opened me up to how Hip-Hop can now enter the sphere of academica. I have always looked at Hip-Hop as means of learning, exposing and challenging my mind.

"Now if you take a glass of water then add two cubes of ice 
you should see the cup's water level slightly rise, right? 
You need to watch what I'ma show you (Watch this) 
You need to look closely at what I'ma show you
(Listen to this right here)
If you remove every living animal out of the seathen wouldn't the world's ocean water level decrease?This means the planet wasn't three-quarters water " - Canibus

     You often take pieces like this and rebuild and asses your own understanding. However that doesn't mean there hasn't been moments where you hear lines and you feel like it is utterly wrong, is stupid and worthless. Thats what makes Hip-Hop great entertainment and an interest for me. I learn from it, I go to it with my own world view and walk out with understanding different perspectives and I am free to call it out for not having things that I want and believe. It was by far an example of free-learning in my own life and it was done out of desire. I could have stopped after the first few albums I heard. I went on my own quest to listen and hear, understand and enjoy.

      I realize I want a classroom similar to that as I approached Hip-Hop. And this is why I am so glad God has reminded me for my interest in teaching. Hip-Hop is a means by which I started to naturally learn. I didn't go enjoy Hip-Hop without a world view. However that worldview has changed and my relationship with Hip-Hop has too. I want my students to be engaged in the same way with mathematics. I want them to come with their knowledge and understandings to the subject. I want them to wrestle with their ideas, see the ideas of the classroom and come naturally to conclusions and truths about the Math.  I think a classroom that encourages this, will allow for students to be heavily interested in math, incite curiosity, so that they can start thinking about their entire lives and what parts of math are involved. So that they may say "it's all mathematics". 

Shout outs: TBA
Peace, Love, Unity, God Bless and Keep Safe