# Learning the mathematics behind juggling at Iowa State

in a classroom where bookbags and desks it becomes a lot of practice take a back
seat to students with their newfound hobby I started about October last year. just
last year? yeah minds are mulling. it’s not
easy at first just as quickly as hands are catching
various difficulties for everyone it took me awhile to do but I’ve seen
people who can pick it up within the hour or two or not catching too often but that’s okay you know dropping is part of juggling. one of the newest classes offered at Iowa State this is the mathematics of juggling and
and the goal of juggling is controlling patterns assistant mathematics professor steve
butler says to start juggling get comfortable throwing one ball back and forth from right
and to your left after that adding a second ball. this is
the hard part once you master this then you’re good to go and it’s a fine I
want to throw this ball and I want to catch it over here but this hand is occupied. So I need to release this ball and get over there! now
the natural instinct is to be like Panic! and and just a quick like 10 growing no
panic do not panic! What we want to do is throw this ball as it’s coming up and starting to come back down and say okay now’s the time to throw this one so throw throw at and once you’ve accomplished that it’s
time to think about patterns thats comes out how you throw ball there’s we described them by the length of time until you catch them, so this is a one because you catch it right away and than two is a little bit longer and
usually tosses that go across even the same
here 1 and you have two and you we have 3 and four and we have five for example this mathematically so we call 4-0 because you’re right-handed throwing
four and your left hand is throwing two patterns are very many and that’s where
the math comes in juggling and mathematics it’s a way to
open up your eyes to see more possibilities are the way to explore
patterns mathematics is a science of patterns juggling is the
science of control impacts people have been juggling for thousands of years but it wasn’t until they came around and
said okay let’s analyze the situation mathematically what’s possible say you’re juggling this kind of pattern and you want to transition to something else how can you do that how many different ways what makes it look nice and there’s all
sorts of questions you can ask that’s why Butler believes you don’t
have to be a great mathematician or a great juggler you just have to be willing to be interested in both and his students are and they’ve already accomplished his
main goal for the class knowing how to simply juggle no one will believe them I mean we took
a class in juggling? prove it I do want to have them experience within the mathematical
ideas like proofs how do you prove something and that’s
when I’d like to have to say hey this math stuff you can do something
interesting things with it you can relate something that students can seem like yes I can
see an application mathematics I can see the ideas proving that math can be fun! I can go to someone and I
can say math its cool like math no I hate
calculus no its not just calculus there’s other
stuff like your juggling Math is totally awesome in in
useful for everybody Alex Murphy math isn’t meant to be easy
if it was too easy it wouldn’t be any fun! Iowa State University
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