One, two, buckle my shoe

In Spring 2018 for the EML3041 Computational Methods course, I assigned students to write a nursery rhyme on numerical methods using the “one, two, buckle my shoe” prompt.  Here is a sample, and more will be shared in the next few weeks.

The students were given the choice of going anonymous, use only initials or their full name as the byline.  Some opted not to be published while others added the audio version as well.

One, Two
by Ricardo Z 

One, two,
Approximations I do
Three, four,
Opens math doors
Five, six,
Into the matrix
Seven, eight,
Gaussian eliminate
Nine, ten,
LU decomposition
Eleven, twelve,
Into methods, I delve
Thirteen, fourteen,
The trunnions lean
Fifteen, sixteen,
With engineers, I convene
Seventeen, eighteen,
Errors unforeseen
Nineteen, twenty,
Derivations aplenty

PS. The reference to trunnions is the real-life problem we use in the class for the problem-centered (not problem-based) approach for the whole course.  The problem deals with the assembly of the fulcrum of bascule bridges.

Poems on Numerical Methods

In Summer 2009, I gave a HW assignment of writing a poem to my mostly right-brained students.  The results were great; I think they think they are poets and they know it.  The poems were all compiled and can be viewed at

So happy reading and let me know what you think.  I selected 14 poems out of the 60 or so submitted and am polling the class to select the best three.  The top three poem writers will get prizes including a dollar to get the 89c Chicken Burritto at Taco Bell for “thinking outside the bun” or the biggie fries at Wendy’s for thinking “square rather than round”.


This post is brought to you by Holistic Numerical Methods: Numerical Methods for the STEM undergraduate at, the textbook on Numerical Methods with Applications available from the lulu storefront, and the YouTube video lectures available at and

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