The Math Student’s Manifesto

[Feature photo above by Texas A&M University (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr.]

Note to Readers: Please help me improve this list! Add your suggestions or additions in the comment section below…

What does it mean to think like a mathematician? From the very beginning of my education, I can do these things to some degree. And I am always learning to do them better.

(1) I can make sense of problems, and I never give up.

  • I always think about what a math problem means. I consider how the numbers are related, and I imagine what the answer might look like.
  • I remember similar problems I’ve done before. Or I make up similar problems with smaller numbers or simpler shapes, to see how they work.
  • I often use a drawing or sketch to help me think about a problem. Sometimes I even build a physical model of the situation.
  • I like to compare my approach to the problem with other people and hear how they did it differently.

Continue reading The Math Student’s Manifesto

Fun with the Impossible Penrose Triangle

I found this delightful animation today:


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:


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


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…

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…