Math Makers: Write a Poem

Last week, I mentioned my new project, the Student Math Makers Gallery where children and teens can share their original math creations with the world.

So this week, I’m offering inspiration to get your children’s creative juices flowing.

Let’s Write Math Poetry

April is National Poetry Month, and it’s also Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month.

What better way to celebrate than writing math poetry?

  • Write a poem about a math concept or idea, using your favorite style of verse.
  • Or write a poem about any subject, using a mathematical constraint.
  • Or both: write a poem about math, constrained by math.

Here are some examples…

Pi-Ku

You could try pi-ku, a haiku-like poem where each line has syllables matching one of the digits of pi. For a six-line pi-ku, arrange your thoughts in a 3–1–4–1–5–9 pattern.

Math makers
Forge
Thoughts into words
To
Create something new,
Exploring numbers, shapes, and patterns.

—Denise Gaskins

If you write a pi-ku before Two Pi Day, also known as Tau Day (June 28), you can submit it to the Cosmos Pi-ku 2021 competition.

Limerick

Speaking of Tau Day, here’s a ditty I wrote a few years back:

So if working in radians you hate,
(How can pi-fourths be really pie-eighth?)
Make your life simpler now
By just switching to tau
equals six point two eight three one eight…

—Denise Gaskins

Haiku or Senryu

Or write a standard haiku, with lines of 5-7-5 syllables, usually highlighting some feature of nature. Senryu is haiku’s snarky cousin, following the same pattern but with a twist of dark humor.

Multiplication

    How much ice cream in
    Five triple-dip fudge sundaes?
    Getting fat with math.

    —Denise Gaskins

    The Fib

    A “Fib” is a Fibonacci poem invented by Greg Pincus. It’s based on syllable count, like a haiku, but the lines follow the Fibonacci counting series: 1-1-2-3-5-8… Each number is the sum of the previous two numbers.

    The Story Problem

      Read.
      Then
      Again,
      Read it through.
      What is it asking?
      How can you use the things you know
      To figure out the mystery of the great unknown?

      —Denise Gaskins

      A Fib poem can run as many lines as you like, or until it grows too unwieldy.

      Square Poem

      Breaking away from our focus on counting syllables, a square poem is a word array. It has the same number of words in each line as there are lines in the poem.

      Exponential Adventure

        Once when famine struck the land —
        No rain, no hope of harvest —
        The youngest princess launched her quest.
        She sought the fabled magic chessboard
        That double, double, double, doubles rice.
        Enough for all her starving people.

        —Denise Gaskins

        For longer works, a cubic poem has the same number of stanzas, as each stanza has lines, as each line has words. Or try a hypercube poem with chapters of stanzas of lines of words.

        Word Equations

        Betsy Franco called word equation poems “Mathematickles (affiliate link). They are fun and easy for all ages.

        Emerald-green grass
        + Tiny drops of sunshine
        ——————————
        Springtime dandelions

        —Denise Gaskins

        Try to think of clear, vivid words that create a picture in your reader’s mind.

        Fresh-baked cookies
        ÷ Children
        = Delight
        R Crumbs

        —Denise Gaskins

        What Will Your Child Create?

        Please share! I look forward to reading your child’s poetic mathematical creations.

        And be sure to fill out the submission form so we can post them in the Student Math Makers Gallery.

        CREDITS: Feature photo (top) by Trust “Tru” Katsande via Unsplash.com.

        2 thoughts on “Math Makers: Write a Poem

        1. Denise,

          Hi, thanks for your emails and books! I wanted to ask your thoughts on something. My 17 year old son wrote code to see a pattern of collatz’s conjecture up to the 2 to the 11th power. He thinks that it is something note worthy enough to be published. He is currently working on how to illustrate or visualize the pattern.

          Could you tell me (an extremely novice mathematician) which papers he might submit his theory?

          Sincerely,

          Kristen Jorgensen

          Sent from my iPhone

          >

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