How Will You Celebrate this Epic Twosday?

Tomorrow is Tuesday 2/22/22 (or 22/2/22, if you prefer). What a wonderfully epic Twosday!

Here’s a puzzle your family or class may enjoy…

The “All 2s” Challenge

Use only the digit 2, and try to use as few of them as you can for each calculation. You may use any math operations you know.

For example:
0 = 2 − 2
8 = 2 + 2 + 2 + 2

  • Can you find a way to make 8 using fewer than four 2s?
  • What other numbers can you make?
  • Can you calculate all the numbers from 1–20? 1–100?

Putting 2 in Perspective

You might enjoy practicing your math art skills with this 2-digit challenge from Steve Wyborney.

How many blocks make the digit 2? How did you count them?

Advent Math Activity Calendars

Once again, the delightful Nrich Maths website offers a seasonal selection of activities to encourage your children’s (and your own!) mathematical creativity.

Click the images below to visit the corresponding December Math Calendar pages.

For Primary Students

Here are twenty-four activities for elementary and middle school, one for each day in December during the run-up to Christmas.

2021 Primary Advent Calendar

When you get to the Nrich website, click a number to go to that day’s math.

For Secondary Students

Here are twenty-four favorite activities for middle and high school, one for each day in December in the run-up to Christmas.

2021 Secondary Advent Calendar

When you get to the Nrich website, click a number to go to that day’s math.

More Holiday Math

I encourage you also to explore my HUGE holiday math post:

Or check out these pages for more ideas:

Have fun playing math with your kids!

CREDITS: “Peanuts Christmas Panorama” photo [top] by Kevin Dooley via Flicker. (CCBY2.0)

Did You Get Your Playful Math?

Mary Everest Boole first wrote about string art in 1904.
Mary Everest Boole first wrote about string art in her 1904 book, The preparation of the child for science.

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.

Click to View the Newsletter

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

Happy Mathy Hanukkah

Hiding among all the other winter-themed activity ideas, I found a few posts for those who celebrate the Festival of Lights.

For More Holiday Math

CREDITS: Candle photo (top) by Enrique Macias via Unsplash.com.

Mathy Christmas Cards

I always wait too long to put cards in the mail. Maybe these creative beauties will inspire me to get started right away?

For More Holiday Math

CREDITS: Reindeer photo (top) by Norman Tsui via Unsplash.com.

Mathematical Days of Christmas

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 relish the fun of learning something new.

Did your device hide the video? Find it on YouTube here.

For More Holiday Math

CREDITS: Lamppost photo (top) by Aaron Burden via Unsplash.com.

Have a Mathematical Thanksgiving Dinner

With the pandemic still raging, most of us will have to adapt our normal holiday traditions to fit the new reality. We may not be able to have a big family gathering (except over Zoom), but we can still enjoy great food.

So for those of you who are planning ahead, here is a mathematician’s menu for next week’s Thanksgiving dinner.

Optimal Potatoes

Green Bean Matherole

Borromean Onion Rings

Thanksgiving Turduckenen-duckenen

And for Dessert

May I suggest some of Don Cohen’s Infinite Cake?

Click here for cake

CREDITS: “Thankful” photo (top) by Pro Church Media via Unsplash.com. Food videos by mathemusician/doodler Vi Hart.

Happy Hamilton Day (Belated)

While searching for posts to add to the Playful Math Carnival, I stumbled on a new-to-me math holiday.

Hamilton Day celebrates mathematical discovery — that “Aha!” moment when your eyes are opened and you see something new.

Or something new-to-you. That’s worth celebrating, too.

History of Hamilton Day

Irish mathematician William R. Hamilton was struggling with a tough math problem in October, 1843. It had him stumped. Then on the 16th, as he walked along Dublin’s Royal Canal with his wife, inspiration struck.

He suddenly realized he could look at the problem from a new direction, and that would make everything fall into place.

“And here there dawned on me the notion that we must admit, in some sense, a fourth dimension of space for the purpose of calculating with triples … An electric circuit seemed to close, and a spark flashed forth.”

—Sir William Rowan Hamilton

In one of the most famous acts of vandalism in math history, Hamilton pulled out a knife and scratched his new equation into the stone of the Broome Bridge: i² = j² = k² = ijk = -1.

Also by Hamilton

“Who would not rather have the fame of Archimedes than that of his conqueror Marcellus?”

—Sir William Rowan Hamilton
quoted in H. Eves, Mathematical Circles Revisited

Why Celebrate Hamilton Day

“So there’s much to celebrate on Hamilton Day. Beyond its utility, we can appreciate mathematics as a human endeavor, with struggles and setbacks and triumphs. We can highlight the opportunity math affords for daring, creativity, and out-of-the-box thinking.

“Hamilton Day could, in other words, pivot away from Pi Day’s gluttony and memorization, neither of which is part of mathematics, toward the intellectual freedom and drama that are.”

— Katharine Merow
Celebrate Hamilton Day, a Better Mathematical Holiday

How Will You Celebrate?

  • Learn about a new-to-you math topic.
  • Work on a tough math problem.
  • Think about different ways to do things.
  • Try a nonstandard approach.
  • Talk about how it feels when you learn something new and it finally makes sense.

I’ve penciled Hamilton Day (October 16) into my calendar for next year.

How about you?

I’d love to hear your ideas for celebrating math! Please share in the comments section below.

CREDITS: Commemorative plaque photo (top) by Cone83, CC BY-SA 4.0. Hamilton portrait by Unknown artist and “Death of Archimedes” by Thomas Degeorge, public domain. All via Wikimedia Commons.

2020 Mathematics Game — Join the Fun!

New Year’s Day

Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.

Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink, and swore his last oath. Today, we are a pious and exemplary community. Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever. We shall also reflect pleasantly upon how we did the same old thing last year about this time.

However, go in, community. New Year’s is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls, and humbug resolutions, and we wish you to enjoy it with a looseness suited to the greatness of the occasion.

— Mark Twain
Letter to Virginia City Territorial Enterprise, Jan. 1863
quoted in Early Tales & Sketches, Vol. 1: 1851-1864 (affiliate link)

If you’d like to enjoy a mathematical New Year’s Resolution, may I recommend Evelyn Lamb’s Math Reading Challenge? I haven’t decided if I’m going to follow along, but it does look like fun.

Meanwhile, I do resolve to challenge myself with more math puzzles this year. Would you like to join me?

Here’s a great way to start: with the 2020 Mathematics Game!

Click here to continue reading.