The Talking Stick Blog

News, Updates, Program Recaps, and Homeschooling Information

Category Theory #2: Grappling with Abstraction

(November 1, 2018) “That’s a pig!” said F, as we all walked over the picnic tables to start our Math Circle outside today. “No, Penelope is not a pig. She is a pig puppet. There’s a big difference,” I replied as we sat down. This seemingly inane comment of mine captured everyone’s attention.   PIG-PUPPET YEARS “You know how it…

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Category Theory 1: Odd One Out

(October 25, 2018) An important concept in category theory, indeed in mathematics itself, is deciding which attributes to ignore when you conduct mathematics. Context matters. When you’re signing a contract to buy a car, you may not care what color the contract is printed on. But when you’re sending out your wedding invitations, you might care about the paper color…

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“Waggy, Do You Eat Meat?” (Some Basic Tenets of Mathematics)

(September 20 and 27, 2018) On a particular island, every inhabitant (puppet) is either a knight, who always tells the truth, or a liar, who always lies. Which puppet is a liar? Which one a knight? You can either listen to their statements, or ask them questions. “What’s a statement?” asked A immediately. And our first session was off and…

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Open House: Wednesday, September 12

Talking Stick is hosting an open house on Wednesday, September 12, from 10am-12pm. Stop by to talk to staff and participants about our programs for homeschoolers ages 4-17. We will be hosting the entire open house at our Garden Classroom. We have several families attending with young people in different age groups, so we are planning to have all ages,…

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New Math Circle Course Schedules

MATH CIRCLE COURSE DESCRIPTIONS 2018-19 Unofficial schedule Classic Math Circle Problems Dates: Thursdays, 3:30-4:30pm, 9/20-10/18 (5 weeks) Suggested Ages: 5-7 Knights and Liars, open questions, story problems, pattern making and breaking, explorations of infinity, proofs, and more. We will have fun with these classic math circle activities as students develop the mathematical-thinking skills of asking questions, forming conjectures, testing conjectures,…

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Open House: Thursday, May 31, 2018

Talking Stick is hosting an open house on Thursday, May 31st, from 10am-12pm. Stop by to talk to staff and participants about our programs for homeschoolers ages 4-17. We will be hosting the entire open house at our Garden Classroom. We have several families attending with young people in different age groups, so we are planning to have all ages,…

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Learning Survival Skills with My Side of the Mountain

Last fall we learned survival skills in our Making and Exploring Program. For the class, we read My Side of the Mountain. In the book, Sam Gribley, a 12 year old boy, runs away from NYC to live in the Catskill Mountains. He had many adventures learning how to survive in the woods on his own: building shelter, feeding and…

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Platonic Solids: The First Three Weeks

POLYDRONS (April 5 -19, 2018) In the past, I’ve often made the mistake of getting out “manipulatives”* to help students discover a certain mathematical concept only to find that the students wanted to engage in open-ended exploration. They weren’t interested in my agenda. So, for this course, I put the Polydrons on the table with no guidelines for two weeks….

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Invariants

(3/8/2018) During our course on Invariants, the eight-year-olds spent most of the time exploring the Euler Characteristic (click here for details). This report is essentially a list of other activities we did to start or finish our sessions. An invariant is something that never changes. Piagetian Conservation Tasks – We did every activity in this article: http://www.cog.brown.edu/courses/cg63/conservation.html. Conservation tasks basically…

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The Euler Characteristic for Eight-Year-Olds

(Jan. 25 – March 8, 2018) The five students (plus one occasional visitor) in our math circle spent six weeks doing like mathematicians do – savoring a math problem, learning it in depth before any attempts to solve it. I felt like Andrew Wiles in his decades-long work on Fermat’s Last Theorem. BEFORE THE COURSE: THINKING ABOUT IT I didn’t…

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