Read about the inspirations, and then try making some math of your own.
“I looked into that enormous and inexhaustible source of inspiration that is Escher and tried to imagine how it could be his workplace, what things would surround an artist like him, so deeply interested in science in general and mathematics in particular. I imagined that these things could be his travel souvenirs, gifts from friends, sources of inspiration…”
And there’s a new one coming soon, from the wonderful people at Natural Math.
“Long ago in the land of China, there were many rain storms … and the land of China was slowly sinking into the sea. This is the story of how a wise emperor, an observant girl, and a magic turtle saved the villages of China from the great flood.”
So begins the story of Ying and the Magic Turtle.
Children, parents, and teachers can enjoy the book for its rich beauty in mathematics and as an ancient legend.
We can play with the mathematics, too, solving the puzzle of the turtle’s shell right alongside Ying.
And we can delve deeper into the power of magic squares by working with puzzles presented at the end of the story.
Join the Crowdfunding Campaign
For more details about Ying and the Magic Turtle, including a peek at the delightful illustrations, check out the Kickstarter crowdfunding page:
Yes, your kids CAN learn to love math. Keep your children’s math skills fresh with my 8-week email series of math games and activities.
No purchase necessary! Just sign up for my email newsletter, and every week for the next two months you’ll automatically receive one of my favorite math club activities or an excerpt from my series of math game books.
Plus you’ll get a free download of my 24-page booklet How To Solve Math Problems: A Common-Sense Approach. And I’ll send you occasional news updates with playful math tips, resource links, and book sales or other promotions.
My goals are to continue playing with math (1) in my homeschool co–op classes and (2) on this blog — and (3) hopefully to publish a couple of new books as well.
My favorite way to celebrate any new year is by playing the Year Game. It’s a prime opportunity for players of all ages to fulfill the two most popular New Year’s Resolutions: spending more time with family and friends, and getting more exercise.
So grab a partner, slip into your workout clothes, and pump up those mental muscles!
Rules of the Game
Use the digits in the year 2019 to write mathematical expressions for the counting numbers 1 through 100. The goal is adjustable: Young children can start with looking for 1-10, middle grades with 1-25.
You must use all four digits. You may not use any other numbers.
Solutions that keep the year digits in 2-0-1-9 order are preferred, but not required.
You may use a decimal point to create numbers such as .2, .02, etc., but you cannot write 0.02 because we only have one zero in this year’s number.
You may create multi-digit numbers such as 10 or 201 or .01, but we prefer solutions that avoid them.
My Special Variations on the Rules
You MAY use the overhead-bar (vinculum), dots, or brackets to mark a repeating decimal. But students and teachers beware: you can’t submit answers with repeating decimals to Math Forum.
You may NOT use a double factorial, n!! = the product of all integers from 1 to n that have the same parity (odd or even) as n. The Math Forum allows them, but I feel much more creative when I can wrangle a solution without invoking them.
For many years mathematicians, scientists, engineers and others interested in mathematics have played “year games” via e-mail and in newsgroups. We don’t always know whether it is possible to write expressions for all the numbers from 1 to 100 using only the digits in the current year, but it is fun to try to see how many you can find.
Do you know of any great math-related seasonal games, crafts, or activities I missed? Please add them to the comments section below.
As you scroll through the links below, you find several puzzle graphics from the wonderful Visual Patterns website.
Use them as conversation-starters with your kids: What do you notice? How does each pattern grow?
For older students: Can you write a formula to describe how each pattern? What will it look at stage 43?
A BIT OF FUN
Setting the mood: Enjoy this bit of seasonal fidgeting from Vi Hart. If you don’t understand some of the references, that’s normal! Pick a phrase, Google it, and enjoy the fun of learning something new.
Clarissa (@c0mplexnumber) demonstrates how to make beautiful, challenging origami snowflakes. She recommends beginners try the first few folds — which create a pretty cool design on their own. Let it Snow…
Speaking of Christmas carols, the Christmas Price Index shows the current cost for one set of each of the gifts given in the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” I wonder what’s the cumulative cost of all the gifts, when you count each repetition in the song?
Alexandria Jones and her family are fictional characters from my old Mathematical Adventures newsletter. Their stories appear sporadically as I find time to transcribe them from the back-issues. You can find them all on this blog page.
Here are all the Alexandria Jones stories Christmas stories, with activity and craft ideas…