Playful Math Snacks: Why Pi?

Photo by KaCey97078 (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr.

Photo by KaCey97078 (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr.

Teachers and other math nerds are preparing to celebrate an epic Pi Day on 3/14/15. Unfortunately, the activities I see on teacher blogs and Pinterest don’t include much actual math. They stress the pi/pie wordplay or memorizing the digits.

With a bit of digging, however, I found a couple of projects that let you sink your metaphorical teeth into real mathematical meat. So I put those in the March “Let’s Play Math” newsletter, which went out this morning to everyone who signed up for Tabletop Academy Press math updates.

If you’re not on the mailing list, you can still join in the fun:

A Preview

Math Snack: Why Pi?

In math, symmetry is beautiful, and the most completely symmetric object in the (Euclidean) mathematical plane is the circle. No matter how you turn it, expand it, or shrink it, the circle remains essentially the same. Every circle you can imagine is the exact image of every other circle there is.

This is not true of other shapes. A rectangle may be short or tall. An ellipse may be fat or slim. A triangle may be squat, or stand up right, or lean off at a drunken angle. But circles are all the same, except for magnification. A circle three inches across is a perfect, point-for-point copy of a circle three miles across, or three millimeters…


Tabletop Academy PressGet monthly math tips and activity ideas, and be the first to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions. Sign up for my Tabletop Academy Press Updates email list.


Quote: Living Mathematics

Only-dead-mathematics

Only dead mathematics can be taught where competition prevails: living mathematics must always be a communal possession. —Mary Everest Boole

Wednesday Wisdom features a quote to inspire my fellow homeschoolers and math education peeps. Today’s quote is from Mary Everest Boole. Background photo courtesy of State Library of Queensland, Australia (no known copyright) via Flickr.


Tabletop Academy PressGet monthly math tips and activity ideas, and be the first to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions. Sign up for my Tabletop Academy Press Updates email list.


Math Teachers and Homeschool Bloggers: We Want You!

chica usando ordenador

[Photo by Olga Berrios (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr.]

Do you have a favorite blog post about math activities, games, lessons, or hands-on fun? The Math Teachers at Play (MTaP) math education blog carnival would love to feature your article!

We welcome math topics from preschool through the first year of calculus. Old posts are welcome, as long as they haven’t been published in past editions of this carnival.

Have you noticed a new math blogger on your block that you’d like to introduce to the rest of us? Feel free to submit another blogger’s post in addition to your own. Beginning bloggers are often shy about sharing, but like all of us, they love finding new readers.

Tweet: Math Teachers and Homeschool Bloggers: We Want You! Send a post to next week's #math ed carnival. http://ctt.ec/C5eaF+Don’t procrastinate: The deadline for entries is this Friday, February 20. The carnival will be posted next week at CavMaths.

Click to tweet about the carnival.
(No spam, I promise! You will have a chance to edit or cancel the tweet.)

Continue reading

PenroseTriangle_500

Fun with the Impossible Penrose Triangle

I found this delightful animation today:

Ball-travels-around-impossible-triangle

The ball is traveling around a shape that can’t exist in our real world: the Penrose triangle. This illusion is the basis for some cool art, like Escher’s Waterfall. And I’m using it in my Math You Can Play books as a design on the back of my playing cards:

A-2-3deck

Want to Play Around with the Penrose Triangle?

Here’s a few links so you can try it for yourself:

Penrose Lego by Erik Johansson (CC BY 2.0)

Penrose Lego by Erik Johansson (CC BY 2.0)

Book Update

Addition-Games

I’ve sent the first two Math You Can Play books to a copy editor (she edits the text part), so my focus this month is on finishing the illustrations and downloadable game boards. And designing the book covers — I think I’ll call this latest iteration done.

If everything stays on schedule, both Counting & Number Bonds and Addition & Subtraction should be available by mid- to late-spring. Fingers crossed…


Tabletop Academy PressGet monthly math tips and activity ideas, and be the first to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions. Sign up for my Tabletop Academy Press Updates email list.


Playful Math Snacks for February 2015

My February Tabletop Academy Press Updates newsletter went out this morning to everyone who signed up for math updates. If you signed up for Teresa’s fiction updates, please be patient. She writes much slower than an adult author, but we’re hoping to get her second book published in late spring.

I noticed a couple of people who joined the mailing list but neglected to ask for either the math or fantasy fiction updates — and we won’t send you any updates unless you ask for them! If you thought you signed up, but you didn’t receive this morning’s email (and it’s not in your spam folder by mistake), then leave me a comment here or just go sign up again.

If you’re not on the mailing list, you can still join in the fun:

A Preview

by Ξ at 360 blog

photo by Ξ at 360 blog

Math Snack: Fractal Valentines

What better way to say “I love you forever!” than with a pop-up fractal Valentine? My math club kids made these a couple years back, and they turned out great.

To make your card, choose two colors of construction paper or card stock. One color will make the pop-up hearts on the inside of your card. The other color will be the front and back of the card, and will also peek through the cut areas between the hearts. Fold the papers in half and cut them to card size.

Set the outer card aside and focus on the inside. The fractal cutting pattern is simple: press the fold, cut a curve, tuck inside, repeat…


Tabletop Academy PressGet monthly math tips and activity ideas, and be the first to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions. Sign up for my Tabletop Academy Press Updates email list.


Get in the Math Car

Math-car

Wednesday Wisdom features a quote to inspire my fellow homeschoolers and math education peeps. Today’s quote is from @Mr_Harris_Math, via Twitter. Background photo courtesy of Forrest Cavale (CC0 1.0) via Unsplash.


Tabletop Academy PressGet monthly math tips and activity ideas, and be the first to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions. Sign up for my Tabletop Academy Press Updates email list.


Math Teachers at Play #82 via Mrs. E Teaches Math

MTaP 82

The January math education blog carnival is now posted for your browsing pleasure, featuring 23 playful ways to explore mathematics from preschool to high school:

Highlights include:

Young children making bar graphs.
A wide variety of math games.
Fractions on a clothesline.
Quadrilaterals on social media.
Non-transitive dice.
Writing in math class.
Negative number calculations made physical.
Inverse trig graphing.
Function operations.
And much more!

Click here to go read Math Teachers at Play #82.


Tabletop Academy PressGet monthly math tips and activity ideas, and be the first to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions. Sign up for my Tabletop Academy Press Updates email list.


Two Ways to Do Math

Two-Ways-to-Do-Math

Wednesday Wisdom features a quote to inspire my fellow homeschoolers and math education peeps. Today’s quote is from Raoul Bott, via The MacTutor History of Mathematics archive. Background photo courtesy of Swedish National Heritage Board (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr.


Tabletop Academy PressGet monthly math tips and activity ideas, and be the first to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions. Sign up for my Tabletop Academy Press Updates email list.


Calling All Math Teacher Bloggers and Homeschoolers: Carnival Time!

by Bob Jagendorf via flickr

by Bob Jagendorf via flickr

The monthly Math Teachers at Play (MTaP) math education blog carnival is almost here. If you’ve written a blog post about math, we’d love to have you join us! Each of us can help others learn, so in a sense we are all teachers.

Posts must be relevant to students or teachers of school-level mathematics (that is, anything from preschool up to first-year calculus). Old posts are welcome, as long as they haven’t been published in past editions of this carnival.

Have you noticed a new math blogger on your block that you’d like to introduce to the rest of us? Feel free to submit another blogger’s post in addition to your own. Beginning bloggers are often shy about sharing, but like all of us, they love finding new readers.

Tweet: Calling All Math Teacher Bloggers and Homeschoolers: Carnival Time! Join us by submitting your post today. http://ctt.ec/p474I+Don’t procrastinate: The deadline for entries is this Friday, January 23. The carnival will be posted next week at Mrs. E Teaches Math.

Click to tweet about the carnival.
(No spam, I promise! You will have a chance to edit or cancel the tweet.)

Continue reading

Ruth Beechick on Teaching

[Feature photo above by Samuel Mann (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr.]

Here’s one more quote from homeschooling guru Ruth Beechick. It applies to classroom teachers, too!

Everyone thinks it goes smoothly in everyone else’s house, and theirs is the only place that has problems.

I’ll let you in on a secret about teaching: there is no place in the world where it rolls along smoothly without problems. Only in articles and books can that happen.

you can

— Ruth Beechick
You Can Teach Your Chile Successfully (Grades 4-8)



Peter Pan Arithmetic Quiz

Teaching the Standard Algorithms

[Feature photo above by Samuel Mann, Analytical Engine photo below by Roͬͬ͠͠͡͠͠͠͠͠͠͠͠sͬͬ͠͠͠͠͠͠͠͠͠aͬͬ͠͠͠͠͠͠͠ Menkman, both (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr.]

Babbage's Analytical Engine

An algorithm is a set of steps to follow that produce a certain result. Follow the rules carefully, and you will automatically get the correct answer. No thinking required — even a machine can do it.

This photo shows one section of the first true computer, Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine. Using a clever arrangement of gears, levers, and switches, the machine could crank out the answer to almost any arithmetic problem. Rather, it would have been able to do so, if Babbage had ever finished building the monster.

One of the biggest arguments surrounding the Common Core State Standards in math is when and how to teach the standard algorithms. But this argument is not new. It goes back at least to the late 19th century.

Here is a passage from a book that helped shape my teaching style, way back when I began homeschooling in the 1980s…

Ruth Beechick on Teaching Abstract Notation

Understanding this item is the key to choosing your strategy for the early years of arithmetic teaching. The question is: Should you teach abstract notation as early as the child can learn it, or should you use the time, instead, to teach in greater depth in the mental image mode?

Abstract notation includes writing out a column of numbers to add, and writing one number under another before subtracting it. The digits and signs used are symbols. The position of the numbers is an arbitrary decision of society. They are conventions that adult, abstract thinkers use as a kind of shorthand to speed up our thinking.

When we teach these to children, we must realize that we simply are introducing them to our abstract tools. We are not suddenly turning children into abstract thinkers. And the danger of starting too early and pushing this kind of work is that we will spend an inordinate amount of time with it. We will be teaching the importance of making straight columns, writing numbers in certain places, and other trivial matters. By calling them trivial, we don’t mean that they are unnecessary. But they are small matters compared to real arithmetic thinking.

If you stay with meaningful mental arithmetic longer, you will find that your child, if she is average, can do problems much more advanced than the level listed for her grade. You will find that she likes arithmetic more. And when she does get to abstractions, she will understand them better. She will not need two or three years of work in primary grades to learn how to write out something like a subtraction problem with two-digit numbers. She can learn that in a few moments of time, if you just wait.

— Ruth Beechick
An Easy Start in Arithmetic (Grades K-3)
(emphasis mine)


Tabletop Academy PressGet monthly math tips and activity ideas, and be the first to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions. Sign up for my Tabletop Academy Press Updates email list.


happy new year 2015

2015 Mathematics Game

[Feature photo above by Scott Lewis and title background (right) by Carol VanHook, both (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr.]

2015YearGame

Did you know that playing games is one of the Top 10 Ways To Improve Your Brain Fitness? So slip into your workout clothes and pump up those mental muscles with the Annual Mathematics Year Game Extravaganza!

For many years mathematicians, scientists, engineers and others interested in math have played “year games” via e-mail. We don’t always know whether it’s possible to write all the numbers from 1 to 100 using only the digits in the current year, but it’s fun to see how many you can find.

Math Forum Year Game Site

Rules of the Game

Use the digits in the year 2015 to write mathematical expressions for the counting numbers 1 through 100. The goal is adjustable: Young children can start with looking for 1-10, middle grades with 1-25.

  • You must use all four digits. You may not use any other numbers.
  • Solutions that keep the year digits in 2-0-1-5 order are preferred, but not required.
  • You may use +, -, x, ÷, sqrt (square root), ^ (raise to a power), ! (factorial), and parentheses, brackets, or other grouping symbols.
  • You may use a decimal point to create numbers such as .2, .02, etc., but you cannot write 0.02 because we only have one zero in this year’s number.
  • You may create multi-digit numbers such as 10 or 201 or .01, but we prefer solutions that avoid them.

My Special Variations on the Rules

  • You MAY use the overhead-bar (vinculum), dots, or brackets to mark a repeating decimal. But students and teachers beware: you can’t submit answers with repeating decimals to Math Forum.
  • You MAY NOT use a double factorial, n!! = the product of all integers from 1 to n that have the same parity (odd or even) as n. Math Forum allows these, but I’ve decided I prefer my arithmetic straight.

Click here to continue reading.

MathDoodling

Math Teachers at Play #81 via Life Through A Mathematician’s Eyes

[Featured Image (above) by Math Giraffe, and Math Goggles image (right) by Moebius Noodles — two great posts from this month’s carnival.]

MathGoggles

Number sense, measurement, place value, functions, calculus for kids, Christmas math activities, art, and much more — check out the December math education blog carnival:

Math Teachers at Play (MTaP) Blog Carnival #81

Welcome to the 81st edition of Math Teachers at Play (MTaP) Blog Carnival. I am extremely exited to host this post in my favorite month of the year, December…

Understanding 81: An interesting fact is that 81 is a tribonacci number (sounds a lot like Fibonacci) – the sequence of tribonacci numbers start with 3 predetermined terms (0,0,1) and each term afterwards is the sum of the preceding 3 terms. Thus the sequence starts like this: 0,0,1,1,2,4,7,13,24,44,81,… (you can go further if you want to see how fast the numbers go).

Now the maths posts…

Click here to go read the whole carnival!


Tabletop Academy PressGet monthly math tips and activity ideas, and be the first to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions. Sign up for my Tabletop Academy Press Updates email list.


Limited Time: Christmas Card Game

12 Days of Christmas card game

12 Days of Christmas is a card game designed by Dr. Gord Hamilton of Math Pickle. It’s designed for 2-8 players, ages 8+, to be played in 20-30 minutes. Simple enough for the whole family to play, yet strategic enough for the game geeks in the family to enjoy along with everyone else. To order, check out the Kickstarter:

But don’t delay! The Kickstarter project ends Christmas Day.


Tabletop Academy PressGet monthly math tips and activity ideas, and be the first to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions. Sign up for my Tabletop Academy Press Updates email list.


Join My Mailing List for Math Tips and Book Updates

Tabletop Academy Press

Tabletop Academy Press:
Learning is a lifelong adventure.

Are you looking for playful ways to help your children learn math? Now you can get math tips and activity ideas by email, as well as find out when I put out a new book or revise an old one.

Check out my shiny new emailing list:

I hope to send out a “Math Snack” (no-preparation math activity idea) at least once a month. In the meantime, your sign-up bonuses include a 4-page article on solving word problems and a pre-publication peek at my new Math You Can Play book series of games for preschool to prealgebra.

Tabletop Academy Press has been my publishing name since way back when my books were printed at the local copy shop and stapled together by hand for sharing with local homeschoolers. Seems like ancient days!

Free This Weekend

BanishedKindleCover

Our Christmas gift to you: my daughter’s fantasy adventure Banished will be FREE for Kindle on Amazon.com this weekend only, December 11-15.

I don’t know whether the other Amazons (UK, CA, AU, IN, etc.) will also run the sale, but I hope so.

As I type, the paperback edition is also on sale at a 10% discount, though we have no control over how long Amazon will be offering that price. Banished is part of the Kindle Matchbook program, so if you buy a copy of the paperback, you can get the ebook for free — even after our weekend sale runs out.

Read an excerpt: the first four chapters of Banished

Don’t have a Kindle? You can get a Kindle app that will let you read Teresa’s book on almost any device.

Watch for Upcoming Books

The second book in The Riddled Stone series is scheduled for publication in Spring 2015, and so are the first two volumes of my Math You Can Play series. If you want a head’s-up when these books arrive, be sure to join my Tabletop Academy Press Updates email list:

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Do You Blog About Math?

by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

It’s carnival time again. Activities, games, lessons, hands-on fun — if you’ve written a blog post about math, we’d love to have you join our Math Teachers at Play (MTaP) math education blog carnival.

Posts must be relevant to students or teachers of school-level mathematics (that is, anything from preschool up through first-year calculus). Old posts are welcome, as long as they haven’t been published in past editions of this carnival.

Tweet: Do You Blog About Math? Share Your Post! Enter next week's #math education carnival. http://ctt.ec/iwoeI+Don’t procrastinate: The deadline for entries is extended to Wednesday, December 17. The carnival will be posted December 19 at Life Through A Mathematician’s Eyes.

Click to tweet about the carnival.
(No spam, I promise! You will have a chance to edit or cancel the tweet.)

Would You Like to Host the Carnival?

Hosting the blog carnival can be a lot of work, but it’s fun to “meet” new bloggers through their submissions. And there’s a side-benefit: The carnival usually brings a nice little spike in traffic to your blog. If you think you’d like to join in the fun, read the instructions on our Math Teachers at Play page. Then leave a comment or email me to let me know which month you’d like to take.

Explore the Other Math Carnivals

While you’re waiting for next week’s Math Teachers at Play carnival, you may enjoy:

Sawyer--Vision in Elem Maths


Get all our new math tips and games:  Subscribe in a reader, or get updates by Email.


Merry Christmas Ornament

December Advent Math from Nrich

[Feature photo (above) by Austin Kirk via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).]

Click on the pictures below to explore a mathy Advent Calendar with a new game, activity, or challenge puzzle for each day during the run-up to Christmas. Enjoy!

Advent Calendar 2014 – Primary

adventprimary

Advent Calendar 2014 – Secondary

adventsecondary


Tabletop Academy PressGet monthly math tips and activity ideas, and be the first to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions. Sign up for my Tabletop Academy Press Updates email list.


thankfulness by alicepopkorn

And Be Thankful

[Feature photo (above) by alicepopkorn via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).]

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved,
clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness,
humility, gentleness and patience.
Bear with each other and forgive
whatever grievances you may have against one another.
Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
And over all these virtues put on love,
which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,
since as members of one body you were called to peace.
And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly
as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom,
and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs
with gratitude in your hearts to God.

And whatever you do,
whether in word or deed,
do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.

— Colossians 3:12-17

[Taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version, (c)1973, 1978, 1984 by the International Bible Society, used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.]



Math Debates with a Hundred Chart

Euclid game
Wow! My all-time most popular post continues to grow. Thanks to an entry from this week’s blog carnival, there are now more than thirty great ideas for mathematical play:

The latest tips:

(31) Have a math debate: Should the hundred chart count 1-100 or 0-99? Give evidence for your opinion and critique each other’s reasoning.
[Hat tip: Tricia Stohr-Hunt, Instructional Conundrum: 100 Board or 0-99 Chart?]

(32) Rearrange the chart (either 0-99 or 1-100) so that as you count to greater numbers, you climb higher on the board. Have another math debate: Which way makes more intuitive sense?
[Hat tip: Graham Fletcher, Bottoms Up to Conceptually Understanding Numbers.]

(33) Cut the chart into rows and paste them into a long number line. Try a counting pattern, or Race to 100 game, or the Sieve of Eratosthenes on the number line. Have a new math debate: Grid chart or number line — which do you prefer?
[Hat tip: Joe Schwartz, Number Grids and Number Lines: Can They Live Together in Peace? ]


Tabletop Academy PressGet monthly math tips and activity ideas, and be the first to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions. Sign up for my Tabletop Academy Press Updates email list.


Math Teachers at Play #80 via Triumphant Learning

The new Math Teachers at Play math education blog carnival is up for your browsing pleasure. Each month, we feature activities, lessons, and games about math topics from preschool through high school. Check it out!

[Photo by Paul Downey. (CC BY 2.0 via Flickr)]

PaulDowney80

Welcome to the 80th Edition of the Math Teachers at Play (MTaP) blog carnival.

Before we dive into some math posts from around the web, let’s see what is special about the number eighty.

80 is…

  • how long it took Phileas Fogg to travel around the world in Jules Verne’s novel Around the World in Eighty Days.
  • 4 scores.
  • commonly used in the “80:20 rule,” which originated from Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist…

…And more! Click here to read the whole carnival, featuring 17 posts of mathy awesomeness!


Don’t miss any of our math tips and games:  Subscribe in a reader, or get updates by Email.


Boots - 2352

Roadmap to Mathematics: 3rd Grade

[Feature photo (above) by Phil Roeder. (CC BY 2.0 via Flickr)]

roadmap3

A frequently-asked question on homeschooling forums is, “Are my children working at grade level? What do they need to know?”

The Council of the Great City Schools has published a handy 6-page pdf summary of third grade math concepts, with suggestions for how parents can support their children’s learning:

Whether you are a radical unschooler or passionately devoted to your textbook — or, like me, somewhere in between — you can help your children toward these grade-level goals by encouraging them to view mathematics as mental play. Don’t think of the standards as a “to do” list, but as your guide to an adventure of exploration. The key to learning math is to see it the mathematician’s way, as a game of playing with ideas.

The following are excerpts from the roadmap document (along with a few extra tips) and links to related posts from the past eight years of playing with math on this blog…

Continue reading

Templeton Elementary field day beach ball games

Roadmap to Mathematics: 2nd Grade

[Feature photo (above) by Loren Kerns. (CC BY 2.0 via Flickr)]

roadmap2

A frequently-asked question on homeschooling forums is, “Are my children working at grade level? What do they need to know?”

The Council of the Great City Schools has published a handy 6-page pdf summary of second grade math concepts, with suggestions for how parents can support their children’s learning:

Whether you are a radical unschooler or passionately devoted to your textbook — or, like me, somewhere in between — you can help your children toward these grade-level goals by encouraging them to view mathematics as mental play. Don’t think of the standards as a “to do” list, but as your guide to an adventure of exploration. The key to learning math is to see it the mathematician’s way, as a game of playing with ideas.

The following are excerpts from the roadmap document (along with a couple of extra tips) and links to related posts from the past eight years of playing with math on this blog…

Continue reading

First Grade Outdoor Education

Roadmap to Mathematics: 1st Grade

[Feature photo (above) by woodleywonderworks. (CC BY 2.0 via Flickr)]

roadmap1

A frequently-asked question on homeschooling forums is, “Are my children working at grade level? What do they need to know?”

The Council of the Great City Schools has published a handy 6-page pdf summary of first grade math concepts, with suggestions for how parents can support their children’s learning:

Whether you are a radical unschooler or passionately devoted to your textbook — or, like me, somewhere in between — you can help your children toward these grade-level goals by encouraging them to view mathematics as mental play. Don’t think of the standards as a “to do” list, but as your guide to an adventure of exploration. The key to learning math is to see it the mathematician’s way, as a game of playing with ideas.

The following are excerpts from the roadmap document, along with links to related posts from the past eight years of playing with math on this blog…

Continue reading

Education Bloggers: Share Your Post!

photo by Omar Omar via flickr

photo by Omar Omar via flickr

If you are a homeschooler or classroom teacher, student or independent learner, or anyone else who writes about math, now is the time to send in your favorite blog post for next week’s Math Teachers at Play (MTaP) math education blog carnival.

Tweet: Education Bloggers: Share Your Post! Math education blog carnival open for submissions. http://ctt.ec/4zYQA+Don’t procrastinate: The deadline for entries is this Friday. The carnival will be posted next week at Triumphant Learning.

Click to tweet about the carnival:
(No spam, I promise! You will have a chance to edit or cancel the tweet.)

If you haven’t written anything about math lately, here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing…

Need an Idea-Starter?

  • Elementary Concepts: As Liping Ma showed, there is more to understanding and teaching elementary mathematics than we often realize. Do you have a game, activity, or anecdote about teaching math to young students? Please share!
  • Arithmetic/Pre-Algebra: This section is for arithmetic lessons and number theory puzzles at the middle-school-and-beyond level. We would love to hear your favorite math club games, numerical investigations, or contest-preparation tips.
  • Beginning Algebra and Geometry: Can you explain why we never divide by zero, how to bisect an angle, or what is wrong with distributing the square in the expression \left(a + b \right)^2 ? Struggling students need your help! Share your wisdom about basic algebra and geometry topics here.
  • Advanced Math: Like most adults, I have forgotten enough math to fill several textbooks. I’m eager to learn again, but math books can be so-o-o tedious. Can you make upper-level math topics come alive, so they will stick in my (or a student’s) mind?
  • Mathematical Recreations: What kind of math do you do, just for the fun of it?
  • About Teaching Math: Other teachers’ blogs are an important factor in my continuing education. The more I read about the theory and practice of teaching math, the more I realize how much I have yet to learn. So please, fellow teachers, don’t be shy — share your insights!

Would You Like to Host the Carnival?

We need more hosts! Hosting the blog carnival can be a lot of work, but it’s fun to “meet” new bloggers through their submissions. And there’s a side-benefit: The carnival usually brings a nice little spike in traffic to your blog.

If you think you’d like to join in the fun, read the instructions on our Math Teachers at Play page. Then leave a comment or email me to let me know which month you’d like to take.

Explore the Other Math Carnivals

While you’re waiting for next week’s Math Teachers at Play carnival, you may enjoy:


Get all our new math tips and games:  Subscribe in a reader, or get updates by Email.


SAKURAKO - Kindergarten Sports Festival

Roadmap to Mathematics: Kindergarten

[Feature photo (above) by MIKI Yoshihito. (CC BY 2.0 via Flickr)]

RoadmapK

A frequently-asked question on homeschooling forums is, “Are my children working at grade level? What do they need to know?”

The Council of the Great City Schools has published a handy 6-page pdf summary of kindergarten math concepts, with suggestions for how parents can support their children’s learning:

Whether you are a radical unschooler or passionately devoted to your textbook — or, like me, somewhere in between — you can help your children toward these grade-level goals by encouraging them to view mathematics as mental play. Don’t think of the standards as a “to do” list, but as your guide to an adventure of exploration. The key to learning math is to see it the mathematician’s way, as a game of playing with ideas.

The following are excerpts from the roadmap document, along with links to related posts from the past eight years of playing with math on this blog…

Continue reading

factor game

Math Teachers at Play #79

79

[Feature photo above by Jimmie, and “79” image (right) by Steve Bowbrick via flickr (CC BY 2.0).]

Do you enjoy math? I hope so! If not, browsing this post just may change your mind.

Welcome to the 79th edition of the Math Teachers At Play (MTaP) math education blog carnival — a smorgasbord of links to bloggers all around the internet who have great ideas for learning, teaching, and playing around with math from preschool to pre-college.

Let the mathematical fun begin!

By tradition, we start the carnival with a puzzle, game, or trivia tidbits. If you would like to jump straight to our featured blog posts, click here to see the Table of Contents.

Since I’ve been spending all my free time working on my upcoming Math You Can Play book series, I’m in the mood for games. So I found a few games featuring prime and nonprime numbers [which category is #79 — do you know?], and I’ll sprinkle some of my best-loved math game books throughout the carnival.

TRY THESE NUMBER GAMES

Students can explore prime and non-prime numbers with two free classroom favorites: The Factor Game (pdf lesson download) or Tax Collector. For $15-20 you can buy a downloadable file of the beautiful, colorful, mathematical board game Prime Climb. Or try the following game by retired Canadian math professor Jerry Ameis:

Factor Finding Game

FactorFindingGame

Math Concepts: multiples, factors, composites, and primes.
Players: only two.
Equipment: pair of 6-sided dice, 10 squares each of two different colors construction paper, and the game board (click the image to print it, or copy by hand).

On your turn, roll the dice and make a 2-digit number. Use one of your colored squares to mark a position on the game board. You can only mark one square per turn.

  • If your 2-digit number is prime, cover a PRIME square.
  • If any of the numbers showing are factors of your 2-digit number, cover one of them.
  • BUT if there’s no square available that matches your number, you lose your turn.

The first player to get three squares in a row (horizontal/vertical/diagonal) wins. Or for a harder challenge, try for four in a row.

Hat tips: Jimmie Lanley.



TABLE OF CONTENTS

And now, on to the main attraction: the blog posts. Many articles were submitted by their authors; others were drawn from the immense backlog in my rss reader. If you’d like to skip directly to your area of interest, click one of these links.

Tweet: Math Teachers at Play #76: a smorgasbord of great ideas for learning, teaching, and playing around with math. http://ctt.ec/fU9Z2+

Click to tweet: Share the carnival with your friends.
(No spam, I promise! You will have a chance to edit or cancel the tweet.)

Continue reading

Math Teachers and Homeschool Bloggers: We Want You!

chica usando ordenador

[Photo by Olga Berrios via flickr.]

Do you have a favorite blog post about math activities, games, lessons, or hands-on fun? The Math Teachers at Play (MTaP) math education blog carnival would love to feature your article!

We welcome math topics from preschool through the first year of calculus. Old posts are welcome, as long as they haven’t been published in past editions of this carnival.

Don’t procrastinate: The deadline for entries is Monday, October 20. The carnival will be posted soon afterwards at — well, we don’t have a host for this month yet. Would you like to volunteer?

Would You Like to Host the Carnival?

Hosting the blog carnival is fun because you get to “meet” new bloggers through their submissions. And there’s a side-benefit: The carnival often brings a nice little spike in traffic to your blog. If you think you’d like to join in the fun, read the instructions on our Math Teachers at Play page. Then leave a comment or email me to let me know which month you’d like to take.

Explore the Other Math Carnivals

While you’re waiting for next week’s Math Teachers at Play carnival, you may enjoy:

MathART Projects


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Teddy Bear Hospital

Math Storytelling Day: The Hospital Floor

[Feature photo above by Christiaan Triebert via flickr (CC BY 2.0).]

Have you ever heard of Math Storytelling Day? On September 25, people around the world celebrate mathematics by telling stories together. The stories can be real — like my story below — or fictional like the tale of Wizard Mathys from Fantasia and his crystal ball communication system.

Check out these posts for more information:

My Math Story

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My story begins with an unexpected adventure in pain. Appendicitis sidewhacked my life last week, but that’s not the story. It’s just the setting. During my recovery, I spent a lot of time in the smaller room of my hospital suite. I noticed this semi-random pattern in the floor tile, which made me wonder:

  • Did they choose the pattern to keep their customers from getting bored while they were … occupied?
  • Is the randomness real? Or can I find a line of symmetry or a set of tiles that repeat?
  • If I take pictures from enough different angles, could I transfer the whole floor to graph paper for further study?
  • And if the nurse finds me doing this, will she send me to a different ward of the hospital? Do hospitals have psychiatric wards, or is that only in the movies?
  • What is the biggest chunk of squares I could “break out” from this pattern that would create the illusion of a regular, repeating tessellation?

I gave up on the graph paper idea (for now) and printed the pictures to play with. By my definition, “broken” pattern chunks need to be contiguous along the sides of the tiles, like pentominoes. Also, the edge of the chunk must be a clean break along the mortar lines. The piece can zigzag all over the place, but it isn’t allowed to come back and touch itself anywhere, even at a corner. No holes allowed.

I’m counting the plain squares as the unit and each of the smaller rectangles as a half square. So far, the biggest chunk of repeating tiles I’ve managed to break out is 283 squares.

tiles1

What Math Stories Will You Tell?

Have you and your children created any mathematical stories this year? I’d love to hear them! Please share your links in the comments section below.


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