039 – Monopoly Mania with Tim Vandenberg

039 – Monopoly Mania with Tim Vandenberg

 

Tim and class

 

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[In This Episode][Guest Bio][Additional Notes][Text Transcript]

In This Episode

Can fooling around, goofing off, and playing help your innovating power?   How can you use Monopoly(R) to teach kids better math skills?  Is there really a killer strategy for playing Monopoly?  Listen in for the playful answers in today’s podcast.

Hey there, Innovation Nation!  Today we’re just going to play around on the podcast, and we’re going to start with a snippet from one of my favorite books:  Surely, You’re Joking Mr. Feynman by Nobel prize winning physicist Richard Feynman.  In the book he writes,

“Then I had another thought: Physics disgusts me a little bit now, but I used to enjoy doing physics. Why did I enjoy it? I used to play with it. I used to do whatever I felt like doing–it didn’t have to do with whether it was important for the development of nuclear physics, but whether it was interesting and amusing for me to play with…

So I got this new attitude…  I’m going to play with physics, whenever I want to, without worrying about any importance whatsoever.

Within a week I was in the cafeteria and some guy, fooling around, throws a plate in the air. As the plate went up in the air I saw it wobble, and I noticed the red medallion of Cornell on the plate going around. It was pretty obvious to me that the medallion went around faster than the wobbling…

It was effortless. It was easy to play with these things. It was like uncorking a bottle: Everything flowed out effortlessly. I almost tried to resist it! There was no importance to what I was doing, but ultimately there was. The diagrams and the whole business that I got the Nobel Prize for came from that piddling around with the wobbling plate.”

We often watching kids–or even adults–goofing off and we say, “Oh, they’re JUST playing around.”  We treat playing around as if it is unimportant or useless.  However, here is one of the most famous Nobel prize winning physicists telling us that it was precisely the act of playing around that led him back to a love for physics and eventually to his Nobel prize winning work–or should I say Nobel prize winning playing around?

At Table Top Inventing, we love to play around.  We usually call it “hard fun” because we’re actually learning and putting loads of effort into our play.  Yet it is still play.  It is fun, and it disarms students enough that they forget they are learning.  Why don’t you grab your smart phone or pull up a browser on your computer and go check out InventingZone.com to find out how to get your kids involved in some “hard fun” this summer?  If you know today’s guest, Tim Vandenberg, email HQsupport@ttinvent.com for special information about our Inventor’s Bootcamp in Mr. Vandenberg’s backyard.

Today’s guest knows quite a bit about play.  He’s a no-nonsense teacher in some respects because he works with middle schoolers, but on the other hand, he uses the game of Monopoly(R) to teach kids to master their math facts and hone their negotiation skills.  Without further adieu, Tim Vandenberg.

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About Tim

TimVandebergClass Tim Vandenberg has taught 5th-12th grade for 20 years, and he currently teaches 6th grade at Carmel Elementary in Hesperia, CA. He’s also an Adjunct Professor for the University of Redlands’ School of Education.


Tim finished 2nd place at the 2009 U.S. MONOPOLY National Championship in Washington, D.C. His story can be seen, along with that of other finalists, in the Four Emmy Award-winning documentary film “Under the Boardwalk (www.MonopolyDocumentary.com, on iTunes, Hulu+ and Amazon).

Tim’s expertise is using Monopoly, the world’s most famous board game, as a teaching tool in his classroom to teach Common Core math skills, as well as high-level business, economics, and social-negotiation skills. Tim’s students have won actual MONOPOLY tournament games against U.S. & World Champions, all while significantly improving their overall academic test scores.


He has spoken all across the nation to thousands of teachers and business leaders about his MONOPOLY Academy classroom education program. One such presentation, in which he speaks to 1200 business leaders from 20 countries in downtown San Francisco at the 2012 International Business Gamification Summit (GSummit 2012) can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iHv3vrW2Lo


Tim was recently interviewed by CBS National News regarding his use of MONOPOLY in the classroom and the game’s long history in educational contexts. That video can be viewed here:
http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/the-surprising-history-behind-the-board-game-monopoly/

Finally, Tim organizes and runs the largest annual MONOPOLY tournament in the nation (which is a fundraiser for his daughter’s school). You can learn more about that, including photos, here: www.HDMC.orsweb.net

Tim lives in Apple Valley, California with his amazing & beautiful wife & daughter, and one super-smart, crazy-loco, high-octane dog.

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What is the Purpose of an Education?

“Liberal studies meant you were liberating your mind from ignorance.”  –Tim Vandenberg

“Another major purpose of an education is to ENJOY producing an income.  You want to be able to CHOOSE your path in life.” –Tim Vandenberg

“An education in America is also important for creating an educated democracy.  Our original presidents like Washington emphasized that without an educated voting public, our country will go pretty bad pretty quick.”  –Tim Vandenberg

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Tim’s Favorite Quote

 “This is the real secret of life–to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.” –Alan W. Watts

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Additional Notes

Links:

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Full Text Transcript – Coming Soon!

“Then I had another thought: Physics disgusts me a little bit now, but I used to enjoy doing physics. Why did I enjoy it? I used to play with it. I used to do whatever I felt like doing–it didn’t have to do with whether it was important for the development of nuclear physics, but whether it was interesting and amusing for me to play with…

So I got this new attitude…  I’m going to play with physics, whenever I want to, without worrying about any importance whatsoever.

Within a week I was in the cafeteria and some guy, fooling around, throws a plate in the air. As the plate went up in the air I saw it wobble, and I noticed the red medallion of Cornell on the plate going around. It was pretty obvious to me that the medallion went around faster than the wobbling…

It was effortless. It was easy to play with these things. It was like uncorking a bottle: Everything flowed out effortlessly. I almost tried to resist it! There was no importance to what I was doing, but ultimately there was. The diagrams and the whole business that I got the Nobel Prize for came from that piddling around with the wobbling plate.”


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