Activity Posts

Activity

Mind Reading with Higher Bases

In Mind Reading with Math we showed how you could use binary to read someone’s mind.   For that activity, we used a set of cards representing the first four binary place values: 8, 4, 2, 1. Binary only has two digits: “1” or “0” (which could also be thought of as “yes” or “no”).  This made our mind reading trick

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Mondrian Art Puzzles

Mondrian Art Puzzles Piet Mondrian was a Dutch painter who is now considered one of the great artists of the 20th century [1]. Among his other works, some of Mondrian’s art had a unique, geometric style that (no surprise) attracted the eyes and minds of mathematicians. His art looked a little something like this: From the clashing of two worlds,

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Flipping Pancakes

This article was originally published in the Winter/Spring 2016 edition of the MTCircular.   Facebook Twitter The Pancake Problem is a sorting problem with connections to computer science and DNA rearrangements, which leads to discussions of algorithms, sequences, and the usefulness of approximations and bounds. Te original problem was frst posed by mathematician Jacob Goodman under the pen name “Harry

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Folding Perfect Thirds Using math

This week’s activity comes from James Tanton of the Global Math Project and G’Day Math. He’s also demonstrated this activity and similar problems for the Math Teachers’ Circle Network. Facebook Twitter how to fold a tie into perfect thirds Imagine you’re packing for a trip, and you’re planning on bringing your favorite tie. It’s too long to fit in your

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Liar’s Bingo

This article was originally published in the Winter/Spring 2015 edition of the MTCircular.   Facebook Twitter Patterns are one of Math Circles’ great levelers. From recognizing a pattern to generating terms, to abstracting and making inferences, tasks based on patterns embody the “low-threshold, high-ceiling” trait of good problems. Liar’s Bingo is all about patterns, and we have used it with

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Measuring Up: “Perfect” Rulers

This article was originally published in the Summer/Autumn 2015 edition of the MTCircular.  The activity was also facilitated by Chris Bolognese during the Math Teachers’ Circle Network Virtual Workshop in 2020. Facebook Twitter People who wonder about mathematical objects and ideas see math not as the quest for The Answer, but as an opportunity to play and discover. Humans are

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Activity

The Dollar Game

This week’s activity highlights a mathematical game demonstrated by Dr. Holly Krieger from Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge.  You can view her presentation of the game on the Numberphile Youtube channel linked here.  We will also be using the Dollar Game applet developed by tech startup Hoodies to help explain the game and possible strategies. Facebook Twitter Click here for

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Geometric Puzzles, Virtually

During February’s Online Math Teacher Circle session, Henri Picciotto presented geometric puzzles that educators and students could attempt virtually using online manipulatives he created. Facebook Twitter https://youtu.be/GD_4LW86OHw Tangrams The session started with an explanation of Tangrams. The Tangram is a set of seven geometric shapes made up of five triangles, a square, and a parallelogram. In this activity students use

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Don’t Say 13 and Other Nim Games

This week, we will be looking at two different two-player games. “Don’t Say 13” was developed at the San Francisco Math Circle, while Nim is an ancient game possibly originating from China. We’ll analyze strategies for both games and talk about how to create new variations on them.  Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Don’t Say 13 The

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Activity

Four Activities from Math Monday

This week we’re highlighting a few activities previously demonstrated on Math Monday by Puzzle Master and Math Monday founder Scott Kim. You can also view these broadcasts and more on our Math Monday Youtube Playlist. Facebook Twitter Bongard Problems https://youtu.be/w5oprHOE0NU In this session, student learn about Bongard Problems — logic puzzles named for Russian computer scientist Mikhail Bongard, who included many

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Skyscrapers

This week’s activity features a city planner creating an urban neighborhood populated by skyscrapers of different heights. We will be exploring the problem as presented by Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival (JRMF) through an online applet. We will also be giving some tips to get students started with this activity. Facebook Twitter Click here for the Skyscrapers online applet to share

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Prejudiced Polygons

This week’s activity features a neighborhood populated by Squares and Triangles that are slightly “shapist” (but only slightly) and don’t seem to coexist too well.  We’ll be exploring “Parable of the Polygons” by Vi Hart and Nicky Case and giving some tips to get students started with this activity. Facebook Twitter Click here for the lesson plan on Desmos Activity

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Activity

Frog Jumping & Stack Up

This week’s activity is a great puzzle to work on with materials lying around the house, or using our online applet.  This problem was first inspired by MathPickle.com and their activity Jumping Frogs, with Stack Up developed by the Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival and the Math Teachers’ Circle Network. Facebook Twitter Jumping Frogs The main goal of this puzzle is to get a

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Humans, Zombies, & Other Problems crossing the river

This activity takes a couple of classic logic puzzles and adapts them to better suit K-12 audiences. It was designed in the Desmos Activity Builder, so it can be played online and easily given to a classroom of students. The activity as presented was developed at the San Francisco Math Circle, and was recently featured on MathCommunities.org’s Math Monday Live program.  Facebook Twitter

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Puppies & Kittens and Queens Move

For this week, we’re going to look at two very different activities that show a surprising result when presented together. Puppies and Kittens was first presented by Paul Zeitz for the Math Teachers’ Circle Network, and Queen’s Move is more commonly known as Wythoff’s game. Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Puppies & kittens A local animal shelter has

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Activity

Mind Reading with Math

Here’s a great activity to impress students, friends, and family and show off what you can do with a little bit of creativity and some clever mathematics. This activity as presented was developed at the San Francisco Math Circle. Facebook Twitter To start this activity you need four cards with numbers written out as so: For the Math Mind Reading Trick,

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Let’s Make A Deal with Monty!

Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter A prize is hidden behind one of three doors.  You choose the door where you think the prize is hidden. But before the door is opened, one of the other 2 remaining doors is opened to reveal no prize.  You must now decide to keep your original door choice or to switch

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An Endless Story

Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Do stories repeat?  They most certainly do on a Möbius strip!  The Möbius strip, or Möbius band, is named after August Ferdinand Möbius, a 19th century German mathematician and astronomer who was a pioneer in the field of topology. (The strip was also discovered independently at around the same time by Johann

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Activity

Remainder Patches!

Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter This fun activity, suggested for Grades 2 – 6,  has students visually discover why some division problems end up with remainders and some do not by filling paper “quilts” with paper “patches.”  Win the game with the most leftover “remainder patches”! Quilt Quilt Patches Materials (for each team of 2 players): Six,

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Tricky Tactics with Tangrams!

Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter For centuries, people have been fascinated by tangrams, a Chinese puzzle consisting of pictures made from seven specific geometric shapes known as “tans,” or “pieces of cleverness.” But even if you’re aren’t familiar with Tangrams, what are they and how do they relate to math? This week’s activity, recommended for Grades 3

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Articles

Article

2021 National Math Festival Online

The National Mathematics Festival (NMF) was this past weekend on April 16th to April 18th. Organized by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) in cooperation with the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) and the National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath), the virtual event was completely free with something for all ages. Activities included creating art, songwriting, mathematical games and puzzles, meeting

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Article

A Visit from a Mathematician

With classrooms nationwide currently being held online, the American Institute of Mathematics has been offering schools the opportunity to receive a virtual visit from a mathematician, furthering educational enrichment and experience for their students. I’ve had the opportunity to visit ten different classrooms this fall, each time providing students with a math activity that feels unique and engaging. Share on

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Article

Global Math Week 2020

EXPLODING DOTS all live lessons all year long.Check out our events calendar! Facebook Twitter Dear Math Friends: This past month the Global Math Project conducted its fourth annual Global Math Week, October 10 – 17 (a generous week!). And joyous mathematics certainly did resound around the planet. Despite the uncertainty of these times, full of obstacle and challenge, teachers and students nonetheless

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Morgan Hill Math

The MATHCOUNTS Coyote Valley Chapter Competition is about to begin. The 2019-2020 school year ended like no other for Morgan Hill Math, when we had to adapt to distance enrichment. Morgan Hill Math is an outreach program sponsored by the American Institute of Mathematics (AIM), which provides free math enrichment activities to about 300 students each year, who live in

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Article

A Teacher and a Mathematician

A Math Teachers’ Circle immersion workshop is an intensive experience focused on mathematics and creating community. Recommended as the first “big event” for a new Math Teachers’ Circle, an immersion workshop has enormous potential to affect teachers’ beliefs about themselves, their mathematics abilities, and the nature of mathematics—or their mathematics identity. The MTC immersion experience puts teachers in the sometimes

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Taking AIM at COVID-19

This article was originally published in the AIMatters newsletter and written by Estelle Basor. Over forty graduate students and advanced undergraduates participated in an online summer program to study dynamics and data in the COVID-19 pandemic. The program was sponsored by AIM and the NSF.  Students had the opportunity to learn the basic mathematical epidemiology underlying the models used in studying

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Article

Virtual Math Festival Engages Students

On Saturday morning, May 9th, 65 students and 20 adult volunteers chose to start their day off with math! The Santa Cruz County Office of Education’s (SCCOE) first-ever Virtual Math Festival offered students in grades 5-8 the opportunity to participate in advanced and thought-provoking mathematics in an online, social and cooperative atmosphere. Students logged onto an online conversation hall, and

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Article

Global Joy: Uplifting Mathematics In Classroom across the Planet

Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter During a special week in October of 2017 a global phenomenon in mathematics education and outreach occurred: thousands of math teachers, club organizers, and math outreach leaders from over 150 different countries and territories opened their classroom doors and engaged in a common, joyous piece of school-relevant mathematics with over 1.7 million

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Article

Alliance of Indigenous Math Circles

Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter The Alliance of Indigenous Math Circles is devoted to supporting mathematical culture within indigenous communities.  We form partnerships throughout the U.S. in order to build local opportunities for students, teachers, and families to enjoy mathematics and engage in problem solving together, while also celebrating their indigenous cultural identity.  Our key activities include

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Article

Math Monday — weekly math games for all kids to enjoy

Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter I’ve always loved mathematical games and puzzles. In fact it was reading puzzle books that taught me how to think mathematically, and fall in love with the subject. Unfortunately, schools have little time for math fun, especially with the pressures of state standards and standardized testing. Just as we read to our

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Article

Virtual Math Festivals

On Saturday, May 9, 2020, over 70 fifth through eighth grade students from Santa Cruz County participated in AIM’s first ever “Virtual Math Festival.” Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Screenshot of the virtual festival hall with tables of attendees As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival was hosted entirely online, taking place in a virtual

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Article

Teacher Circle Online Workshop

MTC Network Virtual Summer Workshop This July, the Math Teachers’ Circle Network and AIM hosted a virtual workshop to offer free professional development and online experience to K-12 teachers throughout the nation.  Teachers participating in the “Acting Out Mathematics” Session with Dr. Hortensia Soto. Over 250 teachers participated in the workshop, attending from all around the US as well as

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