Cave Creek, Nevada—Where the Unexpected Meets the Real World

Strange, unexplained events long plagued residents of Cave Creek, a former mining town nestled in a hidden canyon north of Las Vegas.

Promise in the Gold

takes the reader into the future, where people who slip through the portals create new timelines—and past, present, and future cross paths in some very weird and sometimes scary ways.

Teresa’s story is sweet, not scary. And even better, it features a cat. I think you’ll love it!

Or if you prefer traditional fantasy, check out Teresa’s epic series, *The Riddled Stone*.

CREDITS: Feature photo (top) by Glen Rushton via Unsplash.com.

]]>Each monthly Playful Math Education Blog Carnival brings you a great new collection of puzzles, math conversations, teaching tips, and all sorts of mathy fun. It’s like a free online magazine of mathematical adventures, helpful and inspiring no matter when you read them.

Iva put together this huge and amazing collection of mathematical games, activities, art projects, hands-on fun, math storybooks, poetry, and more.

Click Here to Read the Carnival Blog

The Playful Math Blog Carnival wants you!

The carnival is a joint effort. We depend on our volunteer hosts to collect blog posts and write the carnival each month.

Putting together a blog carnival can be a lot of work, but it’s a great opportunity to share the work of bloggers you admire and to discover new math-friends online. I love that part of being a host!

Classroom teachers, homeschoolers, college professors, unschoolers, or anyone who likes to play around with math — if you would like to take a turn hosting the carnival, please speak up.

]]>How to Homeschool Math: A long page full of my best tips on homeschooling math in a low-stress, creative, playful way. No matter which curriculum you use—unschoolers, too!

Get my email series “8 Weeks of Playful Math” plus regular activity ideas and other updates when you join my Math Reader’s Group newsletter.

My *Let’s Play Math Sampler* ebook contains short excerpts from my most popular books. Find out how to get it for free, no strings attached!

As in life, so also in math, there is no magic solution.

Do you want your children to learn math and enjoy it? Teach them to be Math Makers.

When they create their own math, students build deep, personal connections to math concepts. They think about the relationships between numbers, shapes, and patterns. Math becomes personal.

Toys, hobbies, favorite stories — all can be fodder for math creation.

Let the child choose something to think about.

Make an “I Notice” list. How does that item relate to math? What patterns or shapes can you see?

Or how would the story characters use numbers in their daily lives? Would they cook, or go shopping? Might they build something? Would they decorate it with a design? What would they count or measure?

Make an “I Wonder” list. How many different ways might you turn the things you noticed into questions? What else might you ask?

Then turn one of your noticings or wonderings into a math story, poem, puzzle, drawing, or game. Create your own math. Share your creation with family and friends.

Join the Student Math Makers team. We’d love to add your math creation to our collection and share it with viewers all around the world!

Download a Math Makers Invitation and Submission Form below:

- Math Makers Invitation and Submission Form (letter size)
- Math Makers Invitation and Submission Form (A4)

CREDITS: Feature photo (top) by MI PHAM via Unsplash.com.

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

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…

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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.

]]>And it’s fun!

So take a break from your normal math program to play with creative math. Students can:

- Make up their own math game.
- Write a story or poem.
- Draw a comic.
- Pose a problem.
- Create math art.
- Think up a challenge question.
- Or write a puzzle.

We have a few entries already in the Student Math Makers Gallery.

Click Here To Visit the Gallery

We’d love to add your students’ math to our collection and share it with viewers all around the world!

To submit a math creation, download a Math Makers Invitation and Submission Form below:

- Math Makers Invitation and Submission Form (letter size)
- Math Makers Invitation and Submission Form (A4)

CREDITS: “Creating Math Puzzles by Sian Zelbo, the author of *Camp Logic*, via NaturalMath.com.

Each monthly Playful Math Education Blog Carnival brings you a great new collection of puzzles, math conversations, teaching tips, and all sorts of mathy fun. It’s like a free online magazine of mathematical adventures, helpful and inspiring no matter when you read them.

John put together this wonderful collection of mathematical games, art projects, books, math essays, puzzles, and more.

Click Here to Read the Carnival Blog

The Playful Math Blog Carnival wants you!

The carnival is a joint effort. We depend on our volunteer hosts to collect blog posts and write the carnival each month.

Putting together a blog carnival can be a lot of work, but it’s a great opportunity to share the work of bloggers you admire and to discover new math-friends online. I love that part of being a host!

Classroom teachers, homeschoolers, college professors, unschoolers, or anyone who likes to play around with math — if you would like to take a turn hosting the carnival, please speak up.

]]>Certainly not me!

And now that spring is in the air … Well, at least it is in the northern hemisphere. Would that be called “Up Yonder,” as opposed to “Down Under”? … Anyway, whatever you call it, everyone is getting antsy. We’re all ready to be set free, whenever our governments give in.

To help your family keep busy through the final (we hope!) lockdowns, my publisher is offering a 30% discount coupon on everything at our Tabletop Academy Press online store.

That includes all my math books and playful activity guides, plus my daughter’s fantasy fiction epic, The Riddled Stone.

**Enter STAYSAFE2021 at checkout. **

(Expires March 31, 2021.)

*Prealgebra & Geometry: Math Games for Middle School* hits the online bookstores today.

You can prepare your children for high school math by playing with positive and negative integers, number properties, mixed operations, algebraic functions, coordinate geometry, and more. *Prealgebra & Geometry* features 41 kid-tested games, offering a variety of challenges for students in 4–9th grades and beyond.

A true understanding of mathematics requires more than the ability to memorize procedures. This book helps your children learn to think mathematically, giving them a strong foundation for future learning.

And don’t worry if you’ve forgotten all the math you learned in school. I’ve included plenty of definitions and explanations throughout the book. It’s like having a painless math refresher course as you play.

“I love everything about this book – seriously! I feel challenged and encouraged to improve my teaching methods, as well as my own understanding of math concepts. If I could go back in time, I would play a lot more games and spend a lot more time on the understanding and why behind math than on workbooks.”—Carla Roesler, homeschooling parent

“The directions are clear, it is easy for parents to pick up and use, yet it gets to the heart of mathematical thinking in a fun, engaging way.”—Casey Maupin, homeschooling parent

“The games are easy to put into practice (even for a mom of 4 with 2 toddlers) and something my daughter would participate in willingly or even enjoy (which is saying a lot for a teen who doesn’t always appreciate a challenge). Clever, helpful, and creative in ways I’d never come up with.”—Casey Baldwin, homeschooling parent

*Prealgebra & Geometry* is the final book in my Math You Can Play series, which features plenty of great games to play with students from preschool to middle school. And beyond — even adults can enjoy the games in these books.

Learn More about Math You Can Play

Math games pump up mental muscle, reduce the fear of failure, and generate a positive attitude toward mathematics. Through playful interaction, games strengthen a child’s intuitive understanding of numbers and build problem-solving strategies. Mastering a math game can be hard work, but kids do it willingly because it is fun.

So what are you waiting for? Clear off a table, grab a deck of cards, and let’s play some math!

]]>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.

144 is a perfect square — 12^{2} 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.

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.

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

- As the carnival founder, I hosted #1, #2, #5, #8, and #20.
- Kate Nowak (@k8nowak) jumped on board to host #3.
- Homeschooler Misty hosted #4, #7, and #9.
- Tom DeRosa hosted #6 and #16.
- Maria Miller hosted #10 and #15(a). Yes, there’s a story behind the latter number.
- Sue VanHattum (@suevanhattum) hosted #11, #14, #19, and #21. And solved the Mystery of the Mixed-Up Numbers (see Carnival 19).
- Jason Dyer (@jdyer) hosted #12.
- Heather Woodie (@HeatherBSW) hosted #13.
- Maria Droujkova (@MariaDroujkova) hosted #15(b).
- Dan Mackinnon (@mathrecreation) hosted #17 and created the beautiful title graphic below.
- John Golden (@mathhombre) wrapped up our first year with #22.

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.

- Playing with Preschool and Early Elementary Math
- Exploring Elementary Arithmetic
- Adventuring into Algebra and Geometry
- Scaling the Slopes of High School Math
- Enjoying Recreational Puzzles and Math Art
- Teaching with Wisdom and Grace
- Giving Credit Where It’s Due

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:

- In #8, a homeschooling headmistress shared several great ideas about teaching math to young children: Math the Play Way.

- In #15(a), Toomai introduced a kindergarten class to research mathematics: Sequences and Creative Math for Kindergartners.

- Then in #17, David Richeson (@divbyzero) put together a great list of activities in Kindergarten Mathematics. [Follow-up post here.]

- In #14, Maria Miller described a simple, playful way to Learn to Recognize Coins.

- In #21, homeschooler Kendra and her sons played with estimation after reading the book Counting on Frank.

- In #8, Jimmie Lanley staged a shopping trip to let her daughter play around with Hands-on Estimating.

- In #15(b), I explored several thinking strategies for Mental Math: Addition.

- In #5, Tanya Khovanova posed a few Subtraction Problems, Russian Style. Fun!

- In #9, Maria Miller introduced the 10-Out card game.

- In #12, homeschooler Kendra invented a Clock Game.

- And in #17, Kendra played around with making change: Piggy Bank Math Game.

- In #13, John Golden (@mathhombre) shared a fun Shel Silverstein poem and two Money Games.

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[Back to Table of Contents.]

- In #2, I posted a quick puzzle that works with almost any grade level: Math Warm-Up: Today is February 4 x 3 x 2 x 1.

- In #3, Cassy Turner (@Cassyt) explained how to use Number Strings
*without numbers.*

- In #1, Dave Marain (@dmarain) asked Was the First Super Bowl More or Less Than a BILLION Seconds Ago?

- In #3, Pagetutor demonstrated What A Trillion Dollars Looks Like. Like, in cash money. Stacked on pallets.

- In #21, I showed how to use diagrams to solve 4th grade story problems.

- In #8, David Van Couvering (@dcouvering) wrote about times table stars: Now THAT is the way to learn math.

- In #6, Jason Dyer (@jdyer) created a puzzle with Hot Dogs and Buns (Least Common Multiple).

- In #14, Jimmie Lanley posted resources for Living Math with Factors, Multiples, and Primes.

- In #2, Mathmom recounted her students’ adventure in factoring: Numbers with exactly four factors.

- In #9, Heather Lewis began to explore The First Bunch of Ways to Multiply. [You can find the whole list at 25+ Ways to Multiply.]

- In #15(b), John Cook (@JohnDCook) discussed a prime-numbers conjecture that’s Easy to guess, hard to prove — and accessible to children.

- Also in #11, John Golden (@mathhombre) played with measurement, dice, and a bit of strategy in Michigan Smith (cousin to Indiana Jones, doncha know).

- Then in #14, John was Running Out of Options.

- And in #20, John playtested Pick On Someone Your Own Size.

- Also in #20, Tom DeRosa described his Ultimate Number Line Game: Number Sense on a Massive Scale.

- In #22, I hosted the annual Mathematics Game. It’s a great way to build flexible number skills, and it’s new every year!

- In #13, Jimmie Lanley and her daughter built Platonic Polyhedra.

- In #16, I shared a challenging research question: Do Your Students Understand Division?

- Then in #20, I offered some insights on thinking through word problems: Reading to Learn Math.

- In #11, Tony Cookson (@prof_cookson) explored department store discounts: 30-20-10 Pricing.

- In #15(a), Tom DeRosa posted a real-life Erasing Debt Activity with a printable activity sheet.

- In #4, Maria Miller demonstrated how to teach Division of fractions conceptually.

- In #13, Pat Ballew (@ballew_pat) discussed the common-denominator approach to fraction division: Ours is Not to Reason Why, Just Flip and Multiply.

- And in #16, Pat reflected on Student Confusion about Order of Operations.

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[Back to Table of Contents.]

- In #10, Jeff Goldstein (@doctorjeff) asked What Can You Do With a Humongous Piece of Xerox Paper? You probably won’t believe the answers!

- In #19, I tackled a tough word problem: Algebra: A Problem in Translation.

- 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.]

- In #20, Maria Miller explained how to use a chart when solving Mixture Problems.

- In #1, Dan Wekselgreene (@dwekselgreene) posted a puzzle worksheet for Factoring Trinomials.

- In #14, Sam Shah (@samjshah) opined about quadratics: Factoring, Schmactoring.

- In #19, Bert Speelpenning discussed the value of Deferred Computation – the Pythagorean Spiral.

- In #13, Matthew Bardoe (@BardoeMatthew) demonstrated Visualizing Numbers Real and Imaginary.

- And in #20, Khalid Azad (@betterexplained) did the same thing in much more depth: A Visual, Intuitive Guide to Imaginary Numbers.

- In #20, Jackie Ballarini (@JackieB) came up with a creative way to check her students’ understanding of angle vocabulary in Formative Assessment?

- In #7, Jason Dyer (@jdyer) suggested an open-ended discussion about the Plat Diviseur.

- In #16, John Golden (@mathhombre) discussed teaching about Angles.

- In #7, Pat Ballew (@ballew_pat) played with words: Left Angles and Language Reversals.

- In #20, Dan Wekselgreene (@dwekselgreene) created an XKCD Based Lesson: The Coordinate Plane.

- Then in #22, Dan explored Representations of Linear Equations.

- In #20, Rachel Lynette shared a Symmetry Game: Guess My Grid.

- In #19, John Golden (@mathhombre) created the Blokus-style Area Block game.

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[Back to Table of Contents.]

- In #8, Brent Yorgey explained the Babylonian method to calculate Square roots with pencil and paper.

- In #7, John Cook (@JohnDCook) connected Fibonacci and geometric sequences.

- And in #15(a), John asked What is the shape of the Earth?

- In #2, Pat Ballew (@ballew_pat) wondered Why Bother with Vectors?

- Then in #3, Pat discussed the centroid: Just an Average Point.

- And in #12, Pat explored a A Mandelbrot-like Set for Quadratics.

- And then in #19, Pat offered Notes on Cyclic Quadrilaterals.

- In #16, Sue VanHattum (@suevanhattum) played trig improv in The Joy of Tutoring.

- In #9, John Golden (@mathhombre) created Trig Rummy.

- In #16, John Cook (@JohnDCook) asked How many trig functions are there?

- In #20, Mr. Sweeney revised a James Bond scenario in Sick of Security Camera Problems.

- In #8, Robert Talbert (@RobertTalbert) shared Four things I used to think about calculus, and what I’ve replaced them with.

- In #21, Pat Ballew (@ballew_pat) had Fun with Parabolas in Calculus.

- In #5, Sam Shah (@samjshah) offered a valuable problem-solving mantra: Take what you don’t know…

- In #21, Brent Yorgey explained a proof that pi is irrational, which he thought calculus students should be able to follow.

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- In #1, Heather Lewis constructed A Pop-Up Sierpinski Valentine Card. (Bookmark it to try with your students next year.)

- In #2, Jason Dyer (@jdyer) challenged us to spot An Ancient Typo in some Chinese math art.

- In #13, Dan Mackinnon (@mathrecreation) created geometrical window patterns with Post-It notes.

- 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.

- Also in #14, Dan Mackinnon (@mathrecreation) examined origami and its mathematical side. An older post of his on Sonobe units also looks helpful.

- In #21, Rachel Lynette made a DIY Soma Cube puzzle. (It would make a great gift!) You may also enjoy the History of Soma Cube website, which includes plenty of puzzles.

- In #9, Pat Ballew (@ballew_pat) shared two optical illusions Fool me once, Fool me Everytime? I’m amazed how strong the second one is, even
*with*the circle in place.

- Then in #10, John Cook (@JohnDCook) discussed an amazing Optical illusion, mathematical illusion.

- In #11, Mike Croucher (@walkingrandomly) experimented with Wheels on Wheels on Wheels — a spirograph extravaganza.

- In #4, Sue VanHattum (@suevanhattum) presented Math Salons and Base Eight.

- And in #22, Sue challenged us to Write a Kids’ Poem about Math. [Note: The missing image probably contained this poem.]

- 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 #6, Vlorbik wrote a Calculus Poem.

- Then in #17, Travis posted Calculus Haiku – The Derivative.

- In #15(b), Pat Ballew (@ballew_pat) told the story of Pi and the 47 Ronin. 300 years later, the incense is still perpetually burning.

- In #17, Sue VanHattum (@suevanhattum) commented on Seymour Papert’s Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas.

- Also in #17, Tom DeRosa enjoyed Guesstimation: Solving the World’s Problems on the Back of a Cocktail Napkin.

- In #19, Jim Holt reviewed a comic book about the quest for logical certainty in mathematics. And in #20, Brent Yorgey liked it, too: Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth.

- In #22, Antonio Cangiano interviewed Derrick Niederman, author of Number Freak.

- In #19, Tanya Khovanova discussed The Geometric Transformations and shared sample puzzles.

- Also in #19, Dan Mackinnon (@mathrecreation) dug into math history with Mathematics in Ancient Iraq: A Social History.

- In #13, Tom DeRosa collected resources for Discrete Math for the High School Classroom (and Part 2).

- And in #14, Tom shared 3 fun probability games and projects.

- In #5, Brent Yorgey challenged his readers to try Distributing cookies and explained four possible solutions.

- In #14, Jonathan Halabi (@Jd2718x) posed a tricky counting puzzle.

- And in #20, Jonathan described how his class throught through Expressing n as the Sum of Consecutive Integers.

- In #22, Pat Ballew (@ballew_pat) played around with Lotteries and Math.

- In #20, Tanya Khovanova had some fun with assumptions in Hassan’s Horses.

- In #22, Lee Bradley issued a Pieces of Eight number challenge.

- In #21, Sue VanHattum (@suevanhattum) made a puzzle: Holiday Logic.

- And in #22, Sue posed several questions about Pythagorean Triples.

- In #8, Jeff Trevaskis (@webmaths) shared the puzzle of 4 Buried Soldiers.

- In #1, Tanya Khovanova translated Five Linguistics Puzzles from the Russian book
*200 Problems in Linguistics and Mathematics*.

- Then in #2, Heather Lewis followed Tanya’s post with Language Puzzles, Part II.

- In #11, Jonathan Halabi (@Jd2718x) posted 5 challenging logic puzzles and talked about how to use them with students.

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

- In #4, Praveen Puri (@PuriConsulting) asked What’s the Chance That the Patient Has the Disease?

- In #14, Chad Orzel (@orzelc) offered an estimation contest; Mary O’Keefe analyzed the contest, first in terms of winner’s curse, and then in terms of information cascades. Sue VanHattum chimed in with tips for improving your estimation skills. The contest’s over, but the posts are still fun.

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- In #17, Alison Blank put together an inspired and inspiring Prezi presentation: Math is Not Linear.

- In #14, Marcus du Sautoy (@MarcusduSautoy) explored The secret life of numbers.

- In #11, Sue VanHattum (@suevanhattum) pondered how Math is Like Mountain Climbing.

- Also in #11, Dan Mackinnon (@mathrecreation) posted a series on Metaphors and Mathematics. Here are Part 2 and Part 3.

- In #8, Pat Ballew (@ballew_pat) discussed Logic Diagrams, A Brief History.

- In #2, Mama Squirrel shared her family’s long Journey Through Miquon Math.

- In #5, I described how we use Buddy Math, which works with almost any math program.

- In #8, Heather Woodie (@HeatherBSW) explained how she uses Math Journaling.

- Also in #8, Child’s Play played with the mathematics of circles: Trampoline Math.

- In #21, Jonathan Halabi (@Jd2718x) got his students thinking with “What’s a question that someone else might get wrong?”

- In #17, Kate Nowak (@k8nowak) introduced Speed Dating for classroom review.

- And in #22, Kate shared her method For Your Low Tech Non-Clicker-Having, Non-Polleverywhere, Formative Assessment Needs.

- In #21, Riley Lark (@rileylark) described his no-prep Bag of Tricks #1 — Index Cards.

- Also in #21, Dan Wekselgreene (@dwekselgreene) explained how he adapts the Review game: Trashketball to keep lower-skilled students involved.

- In #20, Kate Nowak (@k8nowak) offered guidance for Building a Better Worksheet. [I hadn’t heard of Pizzazz-type puzzles: Chose a book, click sample pages.]

- 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.”

- In #12, Casey described what it’s like Living with Dyscalculia.

- In #19, Jason Dyer (@jdyer) explored students’ trouble with reading in “When vocabulary isn’t the issue” and “A reading experiment“. The puzzle given in that second post looks fun!

- In #10, Rick Regan (@DoctorBinary) compared teaching approaches when he taught his mother binary numbers.

- In #14, John Golden (@mathhombre) gave an introduction to Polya and emphasized the cyclical nature of problem-solving. [The PDF link is broken, but I found the article here.]

- In #2, Sam Shah (@samjshah) asked calculus teachers, How do you introduce integrals?

- In #15(b), Tom DeRosa presented his 52 Teachers, 52 Lessons Project. He never made it all the way to 52, but still worth reading.

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[Back to Table of Contents.]

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

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!

Would you like to snag 100+ easy, no-prep resources for creative problem-solving, number play, math art, word problems, mini-essays, brainteasers, patterns, research projects, and much more?

Back the Math Rebels Kickstarter now, before it’s gone.

Pick up the free sample download on the Kickstarter page.

And have fun playing math with your kids!

]]>Cats know how important it can be for students to experiment with math and try new things. Playing with ideas is how kittens (and humans!) learn.

Cimorene wants you to know that the Make 100 Math Rebels Kickstarter offers a great way for human children to learn math through play. She encourages you to go watch the video and read all about the project:

Make 100 Math Rebels Kickstarter

Too often, school math can seem stiff and rigid. To children, it can feel like “Do what I say, whether it makes sense or not.” But cats know that kids are like kittens — they can make sense of ideas just fine if we give them time to play around.

So Cimorene says you should download the free sample journaling pages from the Math Rebels Kickstarter page. The beautiful parchment design makes doing math an adventure.

Make 100 Math Rebels Kickstarter

Cimorene’s math puzzle is a classic geometry problem from the ancient Kingdom of Cats: Squaring the Circle.

Draw a circle on your journal page. Can you draw a square (or rectangle) that has the same area?

How would you even begin such a task?

Notice Cimorene’s hint in the photo above: Try drawing the square that just touches the edges of your circle. (We call those just-touching lines “tangents” to the circle.)

- What do you notice? Do the square and the circle have the same area? How close are they?

The tangent square sets an upper limit on the area of the circle. You can see that any square that exactly matches the circle would have to be smaller than the tangent square.

- Can you find a square that sets a lower limit on the area of the circle? That is, a square that must have less area than the circle?

- What’s the biggest square you can draw
*inside*your circle? Can you find a square that has all four corners on the circle?

We call that biggest-inside square “inscribed” in the circle. Any polygon whose corners all sit on the circle is an inscribed polygon.

- Play around with circles and squares. How close can you get to matching their size?

After you have explored for awhile on your own, Cimorene has one more twist in her puzzle.

In the ancient Kingdom of Cats, the wise ones estimated the area of a circle this way:

Divide the width of the circle in thirds, and then in thirds again. (That is, cut the diameter into nine parts.) Draw a square with sides measured by eight such parts.

You can try this on your journaling page by drawing a circle that is nine squares wide. Then draw a square overlapping it, with sides that are eight squares in length.

- How closely do the areas match?

Here’s a surprise: Cimorene’s puzzle isn’t really about squares, but about calculus.

The problem of Squaring the Circle is really a much bigger question: Finding the area of a square, rectangle, or other polygon is relatively easy, but how can we discover the area of a curved shape?

For a circle, the area is related to the number pi, which is the number of times you would have to walk across the circle to equal the distance of one time walking around it.

So the problem of Squaring the Circle is really the same as asking, “What is the value of pi?”

- Can you figure out what approximate value for pi matches the 8/9 square used in the ancient Kingdom of Cats?

If you’d like to learn more about pi, get ready for a celebration: Pi Day is coming soon! Every year, millions of children celebrate math on March 14th, because if you write the date as 3/14, it’s the same as the first three digits of pi.

Find out more about playing with pi in my Pi Day Round-Up post.

You may also enjoy:

- Egyptian Mathematics: Numbers Hieroglyphs and Math problems for kids
- An overview of Egyptian mathematics
- Pi, a Very Special Number
- Finding the Value of Pi
- Historical Overview of Pi
- Pi & Fibonacci Numbers

Cimorene would love to hear about your children’s experiences playing with math! Please share your story in the comments below.

]]>My February playful math newsletter went out yesterday morning to all subscribers.

This month’s issue featured a couple of string art projects for Valentine’s Day, the cardioid curve, make-your-own math art, and the link between string art and calculus.

If you didn’t see it, check your Updates or Promotions tab (in Gmail) or your Spam folder. And to make sure you get all the future newsletters, add *denise (dot) gaskins (at) tabletopacademypress (dotcom)* to your contacts or address book.

Not a subscriber? Don’t miss next month’s playful math activities! Click the link below to sign up today, and we’ll send you our free math and writing booklets, too.

**As a Bonus:** You’ll receive my 8-week email series “Playful Math for Families” and be one of the first to hear about any new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions

Three lucky readers will win a paperback copy of my book *Let’s Play Math Sampler: 10 Family-Favorite Games for Learning Math Through Play* (US shipping only) OR a free copy of any digital book from my publisher’s online store.

The *Sampler *contains short excerpts from five of my most popular titles. It’s a wonderful way to get started with playful math.

And math games are great for journaling, too! You can play pencil-and-paper games right on the journal page. And for any game, you can use the page for keeping score and writing notes about your strategy for winning.

Check out the Make 100 Math Rebels Kickstarter project to download a beautiful, free 10-page booklet of sample journaling pages.

Make 100 Math Rebels on Kickstarter

**The Giveaway is over. Congratulations to winners Angela, Gina, and Linda!**

But there’s still time left to get in on the Math Rebellion Project. Don’t miss out on this wonderful chance to launch your children on an adventure of creative, playful math.

*Deadline for entries is Friday, February 12, 2021.*

**To enter the giveaway, you need to do TWO things:**

~~Visit the Make 100 Math Rebels Kickstarter project.~~~~Then click over to the Rafflecopter giveaway page to confirm your entry (and gain some extra points).~~

Winners will be chosen by Rafflecopter’s random generator and will be contacted by email. You must respond to that email within 48 hours, or we will choose a new winner.

And I’d love to hear your input! Please leave a comment below to let me know what you think of the Math Rebellion project.

]]>Journaling is a great way to help children learn to see with mathematical eyes. Not just to remember what we tell them, but to create their own math.

Many people know it’s important for students to do hands-on experiments in science. But Puck realized that most adults don’t know how to do a math experiment.

So Puck created this Cat Escape puzzle…

“Imagine the dog ran into the kitchen, so the cats need to get off the floor. There are three chairs around the table. There are two cats, and they DON’T like to share a seat. How many different ways can the cats jump onto the chairs?”

Students may draw pictures, write explanations, or play with equations (if they know them). Puck suggests using the journaling pages from the free Make 100 Math Rebels sampler file. The beautiful parchment design makes doing math an adventure.

Make 100 Math Rebels on Kickstarter

[The free download will always be there, even after the Kickstarter project ends.]

And THEN the fun begins. The real point of a math experiment is to change something in the problem and explore how that changes the answer.

So create your own Cat Escape puzzle: What if there are 4 chairs, or 3 cats, or only one cat? What if there are more chairs? What if there’s only one chair? (A math horror story, from Puck’s point of view!) What if the cats *are *willing to share a seat?

What questions will you ask?

Older students: Can you find a method that will give a solution for *any *number of cats and chairs?

When Puck was a little barn kitten, his mama taught him that the best way to learn is to figure things out for yourself. So he won’t give you the answer to his puzzle.

You can work alone or with a friend. When you have an answer that makes sense to you, and your friend can’t find anything you missed, that’s good enough.

Someday you may realize your answer wasn’t complete or there were factors you hadn’t considered. Feel free to revisit the problem at that time and see what else you can discover. As every cat knows, learning is a 9-lives-long challenge.

Launch your family on a math odyssey: Listen to Puck, and help your children save the cats.

And back the Make 100 Math Rebels Kickstarter today.

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