Four Activities from Math Monday

by Spencer Bowen

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.

Bongard Problems

In this session, student learn about Bongard Problems — logic puzzles named for Russian computer scientist Mikhail Bongard, who included many of these puzzles in his 1967 book “Pattern Recognition.” The idea behind Bongard problems is to present two sets of relatively simple diagrams, say Set A and Set B. All the diagrams from Set A share a common attribute, which is missing in all the diagrams of Set B. The challenge is then to identify and properly describe the defining attribute. 

As a follow up, students got to the opportunity to play with and ultimately make their own Bongard Problems using letters and words.  Teachers can use this template to get students started.

Counting to 100 on your fingers

Learn to count to 100, and even 1000 on your fingers. The trick: let some fingers stand for numbers bigger than 1, so that when you raise several fingers, they can add up to a much bigger number.  This serves as a great follow up activity to another Math Monday broadcast, Mind Reading with Math.

Conway's Game of Life

Play Conway’s Game of Life, designed by mathematician John Conway, who created an enormous body of highly original mathematics based largely on his insightful study of puzzles and games.  For more info on Game of Life, check out Scott Kim’s article on it here.

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