Do you enjoy math? I hope so! If not, browsing this post just may change your mind.
Welcome to the 106th edition of the Math Teachers At Play math education blog carnival — a smorgasbord of links to bloggers all around the internet who have great ideas for learning, teaching, and playing around with math from preschool to pre-college. Let the mathematical fun begin!
Doodling gives our minds a chance to relax, wander, and come back to our work refreshed. And though it goes against intuition, doodling can help us remember more of what we learn.
Math doodles let us experiment with geometric shapes and symmetries. We can feel our way into math ideas gradually, through informal play. Through doodles, our students will explore a wide range of mathematical structures and relationships.
Our own school experiences can make it hard for us to teach. What we never learned in school was the concept of playing around with math, allowing ideas to “percolate,” so to speak, before mastery occurs, and that process may take time.
I like to doodle on dotty grid paper, like the pages in my math journals, but there’s No Purchase Necessary! You can design your own printable dot page at Incompetech’s PDF generator, or download my free coloring book (which includes several pages of printable dot and graph paper).
Patterns in Shape and Angle
To make a faceted mathematical gemstone, start with any shape you like. Then build other shapes around it. What do you notice? Does your pattern grow outward from its center? Or flow around the corner of your page? How is each layer similar, and how is it different?
Arbitrary constraints can lead to mathematically interesting doodles. For instance, create a design out of 45-45-90 triangles by coloring exactly half of every grid square. How many variations can you find?
Play a symmetry puzzle game. Draw a line of symmetry and fill in part of the design. Then trade with a partner to finish each other’s doodles.
Make more complex symmetry puzzles with additional reflection lines.
Math Doodle Links
Who can talk about mathematical doodling without mentioning Vi Hart? If you’ve never seen her “Doodling in Math Class” video series, you’re in for a treat!
Math Concepts: multiples, factors, composite numbers, and primes. Players: only two. Equipment: pair of 6-sided dice, 10 squares each of two different colors construction paper, and the game board (click the image to print it, or copy by hand).
On your turn, roll the dice and make a 2-digit number. Use one of your colored squares to mark a position on the game board. You can only mark one square per turn.
If your 2-digit number is prime, cover a PRIME square.
If any of the numbers showing are factors of your 2-digit number, cover one of them.
BUT if there’s no square available that matches your number, you lose your turn.
The first player to get three squares in a row (horizontal, vertical, or diagonal) wins. Or for a harder challenge, try for four in a row.
Feature photo at top of post by Jimmie via flickr (CC BY 2.0). This game was featured in the Math Teachers At Play (MTaP) math education blog carnival: MTaP #79. Hat tip: Jimmie Lanley.
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Six years ago, my homeschool co-op classes had fun creating this April calendar to hand out at our end-of-semester party. Looking at my regular calendar today, I noticed that April this year starts on Wednesday, just like it did back then. I wonder when’s the next time that will happen?
A math calendar is not as easy to read as a traditional calendar — it is more like a puzzle. The expression in each square simplifies to that day’s date, so your family can treat each day like a mini-review quiz: “Do you remember how to calculate this?”
The calendar my students made is appropriate for middle school and beyond, but you can make a math calendar with puzzles for any age or skill level. Better yet, encourage the kids to make puzzles of their own.