By Erick Joven
Cows cows cows! Math teacher Alan Ladner has numerous stuffed cows of which he refers to as “The Herd.” Every cow of The Herd gets a unique name. Most Herd members receive a name that has to do with math such as COWculator or COWculus. However, not every cow is named after something math-related such as Justin BEEFer and Kim COWdasian.
“COW-culus is a cow that I introduce when I encourage students to take calculus. I often remind the students that they need to bring a COW-culator to class, and I introduce the cow with that name,” Ladner said.
One cow that often has students laughing is the world-famous Math-MOO-tician, Sir Isaac MOOton.
How many cows are there? No one knows.“The actual number of cows is top secret,” Ladner said
Students do know, however, that there are a lot of them. While Ladner has been teaching for 40 years, he has only included The Herd as routine in the past 20 years. Over these years, he has collected, bought, and been gifted extra members of The Herd.
“Often, I will put the cow on the desk of someone who is really paying attention, and this student gets to hold it until the class is over,” Ladner said.
This reward incentivizes students to perform well and pay attention. The members of the Herd are literal celebrities in the classroom. Who does not want a celebrity on their desk, especially a stuffed cow celebrity?
Ladner’s favorite cow is the Big COW-Huna. She is said to only reveal herself during the last week of the school year and is often mentioned throughout the whole year to build up some excitement for her debut.
“‘The purpose of the cows is to have some fun, keep students learning, and to know that math is not just a boring class. I enjoy teaching math and always try to make it interesting and enjoyable,” Ladner said.