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 kids at bedtime, and teachers make time every week for reading, we need to help all kids make math games a regular part of their week, so all kids can fall in love with math.
That’s why I started Math Monday — weekly math games for all kids to enjoy. Math Monday started as a weekly drop-in school event run by parent volunteers. We were steadily growing and reaching more schools in the California Bay Area, getting more students and parents playing an engaging and ever-growing variety of mathematically stimulating games and puzzles. But then schools closed, and I had to find another way to deliver Math Monday.
Just a couple weeks after schools in our communities shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students from our Math Monday programs gathered online for a live stream where we could play games together, albeit remotely. Furthermore, there was a silver lining. Moving Math Monday online meant that kids all over the world can participate. For three months this spring, I ran Math Monday as a weekly event in Zoom. Hundreds of families signed up, and experienced the joys of making Mobius Strips, playing strategy games like Achi and Nim, and drawing symmetrical patterns with words. You can find replays of these events, with links for going deeper, on mathcommunities.org/math-monday-live.
Over the summer, Math Monday was delivered as a weekly page of puzzles in email. There were four puzzles every week, that start easy and get harder. Here is a sample puzzle. Can you solve it?
What would the answer be if the figure was enlarged to 5 by 5. If you like what you see, check out mathmonday.net, sign-up and you’ll get a new set of puzzles every Monday in your email inbox, even if you’re unable to attend our Zoom classes, which we are very please to have running weekly through the remainder of the fall in both English and Spanish.
Spread the word and share Math Monday with a friend — we want all kids to enjoy playing with math!