Playful Math Education Carnival 97

Did you know 97 is an emirp?
Did you know 97 is an emirp? It’s prime both forward and backward! What other emirps can you find?

Welcome to the 97th edition of the Math Teachers At Play math education blog carnival: a monthly smorgasbord of links to bloggers all around the internet who have great ideas for learning, teaching, and playing around with math from preschool to pre-college.

A few articles were submitted by their authors, but most were drawn from the immense backlog in my rss reader. If you’d like to see your blog post featured next month, be sure to send it in yourself. Our hosts are busy parents and teachers who have limited time to scour the Internet for goodies.

To add a bit of color, I’ve thrown in several favorites from my newly updated Math with Living Books pages. Some (affiliate) links go to, where you can read descriptions and reviews — but there’s no need to buy. Most of these books should be available through your local library.

Table of Contents

If you’d like to skip directly to your area of interest, click here:

Please: If you enjoy the carnival, would you consider volunteering to host sometime this year? Classroom teachers, homeschoolers, unschoolers, or anyone who likes to play around with math (even if the only person you “teach” is yourself) — if you would like to take a turn, please speak up!

And now, let the mathematical fun begin!

Pinczes-A Remainder of One

When the queen of her bugs demands that her army march in even lines, Private Joe divides the marchers into more and more lines so that he will not be left out of the parade.

Talking Math with Kids

  • Crystal Wagner (@Tri_Learning) shares several Math Games to Play in the Car: “Or maybe you are waiting in line at the grocery store or doctor’s appointment. Turn these times of waiting into learning opportunities.”
  • Christopher Danielson (@Trianglemancsd) shows how The sequence machine can launch math conversations with older students: “Now you can generate number sequences, without being distracted by the multiplication facts.”


Help inspire your kids to try writing their own unique problems. Includes a wide range of math topics and concepts: money and time, fractions, percentages, geometry, logic, and multi-step problem solving.

[Back to top.]
[Back to Table of Contents.]

Elementary Exploration And Middle School Mastery

  • Joe Schwartz (@JSchwartz10a) goes Dot Crazy investigating number patterns with third-graders: “It was like we had turned on a fire hose. Math started gushing out all over the place.”
  • Mike Jacobs (@MsbJacobs) uncovers an unexpected misconception in Measuring Up: “They see something like length as a count and not a measure.”
  • John Stevens (@Jstevens009) wants kids to justify their decisions in Would You Rather…?: “Ask them what they would rather have that many of? Dollars? Shoes? Pimples?”
  • For my own contribution to the carnival, I’ve refined my explanation of multiplication in Multiplication Is Not Repeated Addition: Update: “A strange, new concept sits at the heart of multiplication, something students have never seen before.”


This collection of puzzles, games and activities is designed to stimulate and challenge people of all ages who enjoy puzzles with a mathematical flavour. Many of the puzzles have a long history, while others are original.

[Back to top.]
[Back to Table of Contents.]

Adventures in Basic Algebra & Geometry

  • Paula Beardell Krieg (@PaulaKrieg) creates a beautiful Puffy Pentagon Box template: “It was simple to do, delightful, and just the sort of hands-on relief I needed. But then I got to thinking…”
  • “Area v. Perimeter” is just one of the goodies in the Des-Blog’s (@Desmos) Friday Five for April 22: “What happens when you turn Dan Meyer loose…?”
  • Patrick Vennebush (@Pvennebush) and sons apply mental algebra in All Systems Go: “Why can’t these poor boys look at a pizza menu without perceiving it as a system of equations?”
  • Jo Morgan (@MathsJem) links to a great Sum of Exterior Angles demonstration and other treats in Gem Awards 2016: “I’ve never thought of doing this lovely paper demonstration.”
  • Keith Devlin (@ProfKeithDevlin) dips into math history in Algebraic roots – Part 1: “Instead of algebra being a codification of human logical thinking that emerges from within, it becomes a set of externally imposed, and often arbitrary-seeming rules to be mastered by repetitive practice. The natural, relevant, and empowering becomes the artificial, pointless, and tedious.”


Renowned mathematician Ian Stewart gives math buffs and non-technical readers the perfect guide to today’s mathematics. He shows us not only that math can be explained in everyday language, but that it can be downright fun as well.

[Back to top.]
[Back to Table of Contents.]

Advanced Mathematical Endeavors

  • Caitlyn Gironda (@Caitlyn_Gironda) challenges her students with Logarithm Clothesline: “They actually had to think about a logarithm having a value — something which is usually a struggle for them.”


Puzzle-lovers of all ages will gobble up this smorgasbord of riddles, mysteries, and logic problems. When Smullyan tells stories, fun and wonderment ensue.

[Back to top.]
[Back to Table of Contents.]

Puzzling Recreations

  • Recreational math is not just for the big kids. Sonya Post (@NoMathFears) helps four- and five-year-old children take on the Hundred Face Challenge: “This exercise has caught on and now it’s a ‘thing’. You know an internet ‘thing’. Not like the ice-bucket challenge or bullet-proof coffee, but we’ll get there.”
  • Rodi Steinig’s math circle students play with Parity #1: NIM, Sums, and Conjectures (see also meetings #2 and #3): “The students made predictions, some accurate and some not-so-accurate, then used a jumprope as the river and tested their conjectures.”
  • Kate Owens (@KateMath) shares several activity links in her Fun with Paper Folding workshop: “The scalene triangle puzzle stuck with me for several hours one day and I was almost unable to function in any capacity until I figured it out.”
  • David Butler (@DavidKButlerUoA) explores 100 ways to Quarter the Cross: “Along the way I’ve learned a few brand new things; I’ve relearned a few things I’d forgotten; I’ve seen things I knew with new eyes and understood them better; and I’ve made brand new maths (for me anyway).”
  • Tanya Khovanova mourns the ruin of a great puzzle in The Battle I am Losing: “In the simplified adapted video, there are no longer any discoveries. There is no joy. People consume the solution, without realizing why this puzzle is beautiful and counterintuitive.”
  • Mike Lawler (@MikeAndAllie) throws down A challenge / plea to math folks: “This problem provides a great opportunity for people to see how people in math think, and, importantly, that the path to the solution of a problem isn’t always a straight line.”

Love-Of Numbers and Stars

The daughter of mathematician Theon, Hypatia grew up on the northern tip of Egypt in the great city of Alexandria in the 4th century A.D. Records of her fame as a teacher can be found in the writings of Socrates.

[Back to top.]
[Back to Table of Contents.]

Teaching Tips

  • Jo Boaler (@JoBoaler) announced the opening of YouCubed’s free Visual Math Network, which includes research links, activities, and a discussion forum: “We know that the very best learning comes from teachers discussing and sharing ideas with each other.”


More than thirty authors share their math enthusiasm with stories about their communities, families, or students. After every chapter is a puzzle, game, or activity to get you and your kids playing with math, too.

[Back to top.]
[Back to Table of Contents.]


And that rounds up this edition of the Math Teachers at Play carnival. I hope you enjoyed the ride.

The May 2016 installment of our carnival will open sometime during the week of May 23-27 at Math Misery? blog. If you would like to contribute, please use this handy submission form. Posts must be relevant to students or teachers of preK-12 mathematics. Old posts are welcome, as long as they haven’t been published in past editions of this carnival.

Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival information page. Or browse all the past editions of the Math Teachers at Play blog carnival on Pinterest.

2 thoughts on “Playful Math Education Carnival 97

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.