See You Later! (Quotations XI)

We will be heading out soon on vacation, so I will not be blogging for awhile. The rest of this week is devoted to packing. (I hate packing!) But before I leave, here is a longish quote on teaching math from the book I am reading this week: Ian Stewart’s Letters to a Young Mathematician.

A second reason why few students ever realize that there is mathematics outside the textbook is that no one ever tells them that.

I don’t blame the teachers… If your students are having problems remembering how to solve quadratic equations, the wise teacher will stay well clear of cubic equations, which are even more difficult….

Continue reading See You Later! (Quotations XI)

Are We There Yet?

Take a road trip through the landscape of homeschooling with the Carnival of Homeschooling at Consent of the Governed. And be sure to make a stop at this blog post after my own heart:

Great Mathematicians
Ten historically significant mathematicians, from Pythagoras to Gauss, with links for further study.

Continue reading Are We There Yet?

How To Start a Homeschool Math Club

From a recent e-mail:

“Hello! I am on the board of a homeschool co-op. We have had requests for a math club and wondered if you have any tips for starting one. We service children from K-10th and would need to try to meet the needs of as many ages as possible.”

There are several ways you might organize a homeschool math club, depending on the students you have and on your goals. I think you would have to split the students by age groups — it is very hard to keep that wide of a range of students interested. Then decide whether you want an activity-oriented club or a more academic focus.

When I started my first math club, I raided the math shelves in the children’s section at my library (510-519) for anything that interested me. I figured that if an activity didn’t interest me, I couldn’t make it fun for the kids. Over the years we have done a variety of games, puzzles, craft projects, and more — always looking for something that was NOT like whatever the kids would be doing in their textbooks at home.

Continue reading How To Start a Homeschool Math Club

Solution: The Cat’s Lasagna

The puzzle (from The mysterious temporal freeze) was:

A certain famous cat snarfs down an 11″x13″ pan of lasagna in 3 seconds flat. Assuming the fat feline has a bottomless pit for a stomach and continues to eat at the same rate, how long will it take him to devour a pasta the size of the state of Illinois?

Remember the Math Adventurer’s Rule: Figure it out for yourself! Whenever I give a problem in an Alexandria Jones story, I will try to post the answer soon afterwards. But don’t peek! If I tell you the answer, you miss out on the fun of solving the puzzle. Figure it out for yourself — and then check the answer just to prove that you got it right.

Continue reading Solution: The Cat’s Lasagna

The Mysterious Temporal Freeze

Pyramids clip artAlexandria Jones stepped into the huge tent that protected her father’s excavation site from the desert winds. She laughed to herself. It was like walking into a circus.

She knelt down to whisper in the ear of her faithful dog Ramus. “In this ring, grad students carefully brush away another layer of sand. In the next ring, the artist sketches every piece as it is found.” She waved her arm. “And over there, our flashiest attraction — drum roll, please — the photographers shoot each shard of pottery from every possible angle. But where is the Master of Ceremonies?”

Alex and Rammy found Professor Jones near the back of the tent, talking to another student. While she waited for her dad, she looked through an assortment of numbered artifacts that were ready to be packed and sent to the museum.

Continue reading The Mysterious Temporal Freeze

Carnival of Mathematics #10

Carnival of MathematicsTo the Pythagorean mystics, 10 was the Sacred Tetractys, the number of the Universe, “the source and root of eternal nature.” 10 is the fourth triangular number, the sum of the first 4 positive integers:

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10

The Carnival of Math: Tenth Edition is up at MathNotations, with most of the posts at the middle-to-secondary school level this time. There are too many interesting topics for me to play favorites. Be sure to check it out!