The Talking Stick Blog

News, Updates, Program Recaps, and Homeschooling Information

Algorithms, Algebra, and College Admissions

(October 19 and 26, 2017) “Today we’re going to do something we’ve never done in a math circle here. We’re going to take a quiz.” Stricken looks on faces. “We’ll do it together, it’s just 2 questions, and I think it will be fun.” Relief. “I’m always on the lookout for things related to algorithms to share with you, and…

Read More→

Spotify and Random Number Generators

(October 12, 2017) “Everybody get a partner. Take a piece of paper. Take a pencil. Number your paper 1-30. You’re all going to flip a coin 30 times. In each partnership, decide which person will flip a real coin and which person will flip an imaginary coin.” That got their attention! I needed to harness their attention because many of…

Read More→

Stable Marriage, part 2

(October 5, 2017) We continued work on the Stable Marriage Problem today. After a discussion of the field of mathematics known as game theory, I put on the board the Jane Austen example that Emily Rhiel used in her Numberphile video. Six students used this example to teach the Gale Shapley algorithm to two students who had not been in…

Read More→

A People’s History of the United States: The Color Line

We discussed the formation of racism in the colonies and considered the question of if racism is a natural human tendency or a manufactured institution.

The Stable Marriage Problem (Gale Shapley Algorithm)

(October 2, 2017) I discovered this problem and was so excited – my students would love it, it directly tied in to the topic of our course, and it was a good example of a mathematical algorithm that all of the students would have sufficient math background to work. I wanted to do it right away, so I discarded my…

Read More→

Exploring the Google Page Rank Algorithm

(September 14, 2017) This week we talked about the Google PageRank algorithm. I facilitated it in the same way that Dr. Emile Davie Lawrence did at the recent National Math Festival in DC. I was fortunate to be in the audience during her presentation, which was recorded and available for viewing here: http://nationalmathfestival.org/photos-videos/. In Dr. Lawrence’s session, she remarkably interacted…

Read More→

A People’s History of the United States: Columbus on Trial

This week we conducted an involved role-playing exercise created by Bill Bigelow, Zinn Education Project co-director, called “The People vs. Columbus, et al.” Following the script in the exercises, we divide the participants into 5 groups; each group represented either Columbus, Columbus’ Men, King Ferdinand & Queen Isabella, Taínos, or The System of Empire. By working hard to defend each of these groups, the hope was that each group would be examined for its complicity in this crime.

A People’s History of the United States: Week One

We opened up the program this week by discussing our first take-home question: What Is America? And a wide-ranging discussion of the good and the bad ensued.

Two spaces left in our literature based Wilderness Class for ages 8-10

This fall, our Tuesday Making and Exploring program is digging into the book My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George. My Side of the Mountain is an exciting novel about a fifteen year old boy who leaves New York City to live off the land in the wild. In this twelve week class, participants will study the book…

Read More→

Introducing Algorithms

(September 7, 2017) Today was the first session of our teen course “Our Algorithmic Culture.” My goals for today were to stimulate people’s imagination and curiosity, give students a sense of what an algorithm is, and provide some baseline cases and examples to keep returning to. I’d like to fill you in on the questions I asked that guided our…

Read More→