## Math Play for All Ages

Are you looking for new ways to explore math with your kids?

Would you like an easy, no-prep resource for creative problem-solving, number play, math art, word problems, mini-essays, math poetry, geometry investigations, research projects, and much more?

I’ve just launched a Kickstarter project for people to preorder my new book, 312 Things To Do with a Math Journal. It just might transform your child’s experience of math.

In a math journal, children explore their own ideas about numbers, shapes, and patterns through drawing or writing in response to a question. Journaling teaches them to see with mathematical eyes. Not just to remember what we adults tell them, but to create their own math.

Scroll down the Kickstarter project page to download the free 16-page printable “Math Journaling Sampler” file. It includes one of my all-time favorite math activities. [The Sampler will remain available after the Kickstarter campaign ends.]

If you like what you see, I’d love to have your support. Please help share the project and encourage everyone to play math with their kids!

For more math journaling tips and information, scroll through the Math Journals posts on my blog.

## What Is Multiplication, Anyway?

At some point during the process of teaching multiplication to our children, we really need to come to terms with this question:

What IS multiplication?

“What’s my answer? It’s not one that society’s going to like. Because society expects — demands, even — that mathematics be concrete, real-world, absolute, having definitive answers.

I can’t give a definitive answer.

Multiplication manifests itself in different ways. So maybe the word ‘is’ there is just too absolute. And it’s actually at odds with what mathematicians do.

Mathematicians do attend to real-world, practical scenarios — by stepping away from them, looking at a bigger picture.”

—James Tanton, What is Multiplication?

### For Further Study

You may also enjoy these posts from my blog archive:

## Memorizing the Times Table: A Life Skills Approach

Continuing on my theme of times table facts, here’s the inimitable James Tanton:

“If our task is to memorize this table, please make it about mathematics — about thinking your way through a challenge, and what can I do to make my life easier.”

### For Further Study

You may also enjoy my blog post series about working through the times tables, paying attention to mathematical relationships (and a bit of prealgebra) along the way.

Click the button to see the whole series. Scroll down to the first post to go through it in order.

## What Are Mixed Numbers?

I just discovered a fascinating fact: In some places in the world, mixed numbers apparently don’t exist.

• Did you learn about mixed numbers in school?
• Do you ever use mixed numbers in daily life?
• Are your children learning to work with them?

And if you DO know mixed numbers, can you simplify this mess:

[If you enjoy dry math humor, the answer is worth the work.]

## 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.

### 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.

### And for Dessert

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

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

## Playing Math with Michael and Nash

Michael and Nash have been creating and posting new math games with astonishing regularity throughout the pandemic. Their YouTube channel is a great resource for parents who want to play math with elementary-age children.

Today’s entry: Closest to Ten, a quick game for addition and subtraction fluency with a tiny bit of multiplication potential.

And here’s one of my favorites for older players: Factor Triangles, a card game for 2-digit multiplication.

Check out their channel, and have fun playing math with your kids!

## That’s Mathematics

Here’s a bit of fun I found on YouTube. Happy Friday!

Mathematicians and maths educators in order of appearance:

Eddie Woo @misterwootube
Hannah Fry @FryRSquared
James Tanton @jamestanton
Chris Smith @aap03102
Bobby Seagull @Bobby_Seagull
Jo Morgan @mathsjem
David Wees @DavidWees
Matt Parker @standupmaths
Michael Stevens @tweetsauce
Lieven Schiere @lievenscheire
Ben Sparks @SparksMaths
Rob Eastaway @robeastaway
Nira Chamberlain @ch_nira
Ed Southall @edsouthall
Steven Strogatz @stevenstrogatz
Simon Pampena @mathemaniac
Rachel Riley @RachelRileyRR
Alex Bellos @alexbellos
Simon Singh @SLSingh
Katie Steckles @stecks
Craig Barton @mrbartonmaths
Kyle Evans @kyledevans

## Math That Is Beautiful

One of the sections in my book Let’s Play Math: How Families Can Learn Math Together — and Enjoy It encourages parents to make beautiful math with their children.

Do you have trouble believing that math can be beautiful?

In “Inspirations,” artist Cristóbal Vila creates a wonderful, imaginary work studio for the amazing M.C. Escher. You’ll want to view it in full-screen mode.

How many mathematical objects could you identify?

Vila offers a brief explanation of the history and significance of each item on his page Inspirations: A short movie inspired on Escher’s works.

“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…”

—Cristóbal Vila
Inspirations: A short movie inspired on Escher’s works

## Math Makes Sense — Let’s Teach It That Way

I had forgotten this video, and then rediscovered it yesterday and loved it just as much as ever. Perhaps you’ll enjoy it, too — especially if you think of yourself as “not a math person.”

Annie Fetter is talking to classroom teachers, but her message is just as important for homeschoolers. Math is all about making sense. Let’s help our kids see it that way.

“Sense-making is the first mathematical practice for a reason. If we don’t do this one, the rest of them don’t matter. If we’re not doing this, our children are not going to learn mathematics.”

—Annie Fetter
Sense Making: It isn’t Just for Literacy Anymore

You can download the notes for Fetter’s updated session on sense-making and find several links to wonderful, thought-provoking posts on her blog:

### How Can We Encourage Sense-Making?

Here are some ideas from Fetter’s updated notes, which expand on her comments in the video above:

• Get rid of the question. Literally.
• Ask students “What could the question be?”
• Get rid of the question and the numbers.
• Ask “Why?” or “How did you know?” or “How did you decide that?” or “Tell me more about that.”