Playful Math Education 162: The Math Games Carnival

Welcome to the 162nd 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 start the carnival with a puzzle/activity in honor of our 162nd edition. But if you’d rather jump straight to our featured blog posts, click here to see the Table of Contents.

Try This Puzzle/Activity

The number 162 is a palindromic product:

162 = 3 x 3 x 2 x 3 x 3
and 162 = 9 x 2 x 9

  • How would you define palindromic products?
  • What other numbers can you find that are palindromic products?
  • What do you notice about palindromic products?
  • What questions can you ask?

Make a conjecture about palindromic products. (A conjecture is a statement you think might be true.)

Make another conjecture. How many can you make? Can you think of a way to investigate whether your conjectures are true or false?


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.

And in honor of my new Tabletop Math Games Collectionavailable for preorder now on Kickstarter — each section includes a video of a math game you can play with your kids.

Find out more about the project and download a free 4-game sampler file in my blog post New Project: The Tabletop Math Games Collection.


Talking Math with Kids

“This is what continuous provision is all about: a place where children can return again and again and make something, trying out new ideas, combining things they’ve done before, learning from each other.”

—Simon Gregg, Folding, cutting, sticking, drawing

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Exploring Elementary Arithmetic

“Clearly, we had a lot of mathematical brilliance within the room. Sometimes, the less precise answer is more fun!”

—Jenna Laib, “What Are You Hoping For?”

  • For my own carnival entry, check out the first post in my new math journaling series, Thinking Thursday. It’s a math game prompt, a great way to get kids thinking creatively about numbers: Bowling.

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Adventuring into Algebra and Geometry

“As you guess, check or eliminate your way to the solution, think of the power and elegance of these codes and all the secrets your system might reveal.”

—Patrick Honner, The Basic Algebra Behind Secret Codes

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Scaling the Slopes of High School Math

“We might even be dismissive about the thing we aren’t familiar with because why take the energy to be curious about that new thing if the familiar thing will serve the needs well enough?”

—Kate Ertmann , why Sometimes I Feel Like A Logarithm

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Enjoying Recreational Puzzles and Math Art

“Numbers and variables floating away.
Oh, I wonder, what shall I learn today?”

—Miranda Jedlinski, Forest of Numbers

  • I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before, but here’s one of my favorite math art prompts: Go to John Golden’s (@Mathhombre) Miscellanea tumblr. Choose any picture that speaks to you. Notice and wonder about the math. Then create a related math art image of your own.

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Teaching with Wisdom and Grace

“Unfortunately, since parents and schools overemphasize the value of the right answers, even the ‘best’ students may be the worst at learning from mistakes.”

—Julia Brodsky, Mistakes As Markers Of Growth

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Giving Credit Where It’s Due

Balloons photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash. Confetti photo by Matheus Frade on Unsplash.

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

The next installment of our carnival will open next month at The Montessori Cosmos. Visit our blog carnival information page for more details.

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!

2 thoughts on “Playful Math Education 162: The Math Games Carnival

  1. Palindromic product?
    A number n, n∈ℕ, is a “palindromic product” ⟺ n = a*b*a, a∈ℕ, a∈ℕ, a,b≠1

    How’s that?
    Might also think of one as any number that is a multiple of a perfect square.
    Would 16 be included? 2*4*2?

    1. I think the fact that a palindromic product is the multiple of a perfect square would definitely follow as a corollary of your definition.

      But why not allow b=1? That still fits the palindromic form, and then all multiples of perfect squares are included, even the square itself:
      25 = 5 x 1 x 5

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