Miscellaneous Tidbits

A Nice Surprise

When I got online this morning, I discovered that Let’s Play Math had hit #1 in the UK bestseller list for Parent Participation in Education—‌and I missed it!

But I did get a screen shot of my book sitting pretty at #2:

2015-10-29-UKno2

Playful Math Snacks for October: Mental Math Games

Draft version of the new paperback edition cover. Coming in early 2016...
Draft version of the new paperback edition cover. Watch for it in 2016…

My October “Let’s Play Math” newsletter went out on Wednesday afternoon to everyone who signed up for Tabletop Academy Press math updates. This month’s issue focused on playing math games with your children, and it also included the latest updates on the Let’s Play Math paperback edition (coming not quite as soon as we’d hoped).

If you didn’t see it, check your Updates or Promotions tab (in Gmail) or your Spam folder. And to make sure you get all the future newsletter, add “Denise at Tabletop Academy Press” [Tabletop Academy Press @ gmail.com] to your contacts or address book.

And if you missed this month’s edition, no worries—‌there will be more playful math snacks coming in November. Click the link below to sign up today, and we’ll send you our free math and writing booklets, too!
Free-Learning-Guide-Booklets2

Remember: Newsletter subscribers are always the first to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions.

Math Teachers at Play #91 via Math Mama Writes

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Check out the new math education carnival at Sue VanHattum’s blog. Games, puzzles, teaching tips, and all sorts of mathy fun:

If you enjoy this carnival, why not send in a blog post of your own for next month? We love posts on playful ways to explore and learn math from preschool discoveries through high school calculus.

Entries accepted at any time!


howtosolveproblemsWant to help your kids learn math? Claim your free 24-page problem-solving booklet, and sign up to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions.

What Is Mathematics?

Here’s a bit of fun to brighten up your Monday:

Mathematics: Measuring x Laziness² by Zogg from Betelgeuse (Martin Kuppe).

For Further Exploration

James Grime explains the “Aldebaranian” curve calculator in this video:

And here is the “Map of Mathematistan”. Click to zoom in.

MathematistanHiresWithoutRoads

Credit: I contacted @ZoggTheAlien for permission to use the sketch. He said, “Feel free to use it. It’s a Galactic Commons license; you can use it if you don’t claim it’s made by one of your species.”

Please Add Your Comments Below

What-Is-Math

  • Do you have a favorite place in the Land of Mathematics? Why do you like it?
  • Most children find themselves stuck in the inner city of Arithmetics. How can we help them get out and explore the landscape?

howtosolveproblemsWant to help your kids learn math? Claim your free 24-page problem-solving booklet, and sign up to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions.


Active Math Game: Rock

Gordon Hamilton of Math Pickle posted Rock, a new active math game for grades K–2. If you have a set of kids and a few minutes to spare, give it a try!

How to Play Rock

  • Everyone makes a rock shape with eyes closed.
  • Everyone chooses a number: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 …
  • Teacher calls out numbers consecutively, starting at 0.
  • When a student hears their number being called they immediately raise a hand. When the teacher tags the hand, they stand up.
  • If more than one hand was raised, those students lose. They become your helpers, tagging raised hands.
  • If only one hand was raised, that child wins the round.

Rock-game

“Each game takes about 45 seconds,” Hamilton says. “This is part of the key to its success. Children who have not learned the art of losing are quickly thrown into another game before they have a chance to get sad.”

The experience of mathematics should be profound and beautiful. Too much of the regular K-12 mathematics experience is trite and true. Children deserve tough, beautiful puzzles.

Gordon Hamilton

What Happens When Grownups Play Rock

What are the best numbers to pick? Patrick Vennebush hosted on online version of the game at his Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks blog a few years back, though we didn’t have to bend over into rocks‌—‌which is a good thing for some of us older folks.

Vennebush also posted a finger-game version suitable for small groups of all ages, called Low-Sham-Bo:

  • On the count of 1-2-3, each person “throws” out a hand showing any number of fingers from zero to five.
  • The winner is the person who throws the smallest unique number.

You may want to count “Ready, set, go!” for throwing out fingers, so the numbers in the count don’t influence the play.

The official name for this sort of game is Lowest Unique Bid Auction.


howtosolveproblemsWant to help your kids learn math? Claim your free 24-page problem-solving booklet, and you’ll be among the first to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions.


Spirolateral Math Doodles

This is not a math book coverInterrupt your regular math programming to try this fantastic math doodling investigation!

Anna Weltman wrote a math/art book. It’s great fun for all ages, full of fantastic mathematical explorations — including spirolateral math doodles.

loop-de-loops1

How to Get Started

To make a spirolateral, you first pick a short series of numbers (1, 2, 3 is a traditional first set) and an angle (90° for beginners). On graph paper, draw a straight line the length of your first number. Turn through your chosen angle, and draw the next line. Repeat turning and drawing lines, and when you get to the end of your number series, start again at the first number.

Some spirolaterals come back around to the beginning, making a closed loop. Others never close, spiraling out into infinity—‌or at least, to the edge of your graph paper.

loop-de-loops2

For Further Reading

Articles by Robert J. Krawczyk:

Anna Weltman appeared on Let’s Play Math blog once before, with the game Snugglenumber. And she’s a regular contributor to the wonderful Math Munch blog.


howtosolveproblemsWant to help your kids learn math? Claim your free 24-page problem-solving booklet, and sign up to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions.