Playful Math Carnival 144: Anniversary Edition

Welcome to the 144th edition of the Playful Math Education Blog Carnival — a smorgasbord of delectable tidbits of mathy fun. It’s like a free online magazine devoted to learning, teaching, and playing around with math from preschool to high school.

Bookmark this post, so you can take your time browsing.

There’s so much playful math to enjoy!

By tradition, we would start the carnival with a puzzle/activity in honor of our 144th edition. But this time, I want to take a peek back at the history of our carnival.

But if you’d rather jump straight to our featured blog posts, click here to see the Table of Contents.

12 Years of Playful Math

144 is a perfect square — 122 to be exact. And since this month marks exactly 12 years since the Playful Math Education Blog Carnival began, it seems like a perfect time to remember where we came from.

In February 2009, I posted the inaugural edition of the Math Teachers at Play blog carnival. At first, the carnival appeared biweekly, but we soon switched to our current once-a-month schedule.

Why Create a Blog Carnival?

It was the heyday of blog carnivals, and the Carnival of Mathematics was going strong at issue #49.

I really did (and still do) enjoy the Carnival of Mathematics, most of the time, but I had to admit that many of the posts went right over my head. And my middle-school level contributions often felt out of place (to me, at least), like toddlers at a high society cocktail party. On the other hand, the more general edu-blog carnivals (which have since died away) had grown so large it was nearly impossible to browse all their posts.

So I wanted something smaller and more “relevant” — more tightly targeted to my interests. And not finding the type of blog carnival I wanted, I decided to create it.

I’ve been delighted at how the online math community rallied to support the carnival. Without our wonderful volunteer hosts, the Math Teachers at Play/Playful Math Education Carnival would have perished long ago.

Our First Year

The posts in this 144th edition are drawn from our first year. We had 22 carnivals, with 11 different hosts:

Some of these articles have been lost to the sands of time (I particularly miss Kate’s and Misty’s blogs), but I’ve recovered what I could with the help of the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.

As you browse the articles below, whenever you find one you enjoy, do take time to explore the blogger’s other posts. There’s a wealth of mathy goodness to be found on these old sites!


And now, on to the main attraction: the blog posts. If you’d like to skip directly to your area of interest, click one of these links.

Would you like to host next month’s Playful Math Carnival on your blog? We’d love to have you join us! Click for details:

Carnival Home Page

Playing with Preschool and Early Elementary Math

  • In #8, a homeschooling headmistress shared several great ideas about teaching math to young children: Math the Play Way.
  • In #21, homeschooler Kendra and her sons played with estimation after reading the book Counting on Frank.

Games for Early Math Topics

  • Then in #15(a), Kendra made a cute game called Joey-Joey for practicing addition facts.

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Exploring Elementary Arithmetic

Mastering Multiplication

Learning Math Through Games

  • In #11, Dana Leeds invented the Score 21 multiplication game.
  • Also in #11, John Golden (@mathhombre) played with measurement, dice, and a bit of strategy in Michigan Smith (cousin to Indiana Jones, doncha know).
  • In #22, I hosted the annual Mathematics Game. It’s a great way to build flexible number skills, and it’s new every year!

Tackling Tougher Topics

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Adventuring into Algebra and Geometry

Algebra Activities

  • In #4, Jon Ingram shared Ten 16th century word problems from The Whetstone of Witte, the first book on algebra ever published in English. [You may have to scroll down for the puzzles. The Wayback Machine recovered the article, but the page formatting lookes broken.]

Angles and Graphs

Geometry Games

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Scaling the Slopes of High School Math

Advanced Algebra and Geometry



  • And in #17, Sam revealed functions behaving badly: Sin(1/x).

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Enjoying Recreational Puzzles and Math Art

Crafts and Math Art

  • In #14, John Golden (@mathhombre) explained how to create One Page Wonder, a storybook that can be read in lots of different orders, like some weird form of poetry.

Poetry and Stories

  • Also in #22, John Golden (@mathhombre) asked his class to write a number that, when you say it out loud properly, has haiku form. One possibility: 22,220,220.
  • In #5, Greg Pincus created a new form of counted-syllable poetry, The Fib.

Book Reviews

Counting, Probability, and Discrete Math

And Plenty of Puzzles

  • In #14, Tanya Khovanova presented a group of puzzles and explained the concept of ‘revealing coefficient’, in her post titled Unrevealing Coin Weighings.

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Teaching with Wisdom and Grace

Understanding Mathematics

Homeschooling Math

  • In #5, I described how we use Buddy Math, which works with almost any math program.
  • Also in #8, Child’s Play played with the mathematics of circles: Trampoline Math.

Playing in the Classroom

Continuing Our Own Education

  • Also in #20, Dan Meyer (@ddmeyer) shared a link to Ben Blum-Smith’s (@benblumsmith) cautionary tale of Clever Hans: Required Reading for Math Teachers. “Take-home lesson: never underestimate your ability to fool yourself into believing your students understand something when really what they are doing is watching you.”

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Giving Credit Where It’s Due

Math Teachers at Play Blog Carnival logo created by Dan Mackinnon for Carnival #17. Circus graphics are by alextrou92 and macrovector via

And that rounds up this edition of the Playful Math Education Blog Carnival. I hope you enjoyed the ride.

We need volunteers! 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 hosting the Playful Math Education Blog Carnival, please speak up!

4 thoughts on “Playful Math Carnival 144: Anniversary Edition

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