The Harmony Learning Community Blog

News, Updates, Program Recaps, and Homeschooling Information

Human Trafficking, COVID, and Graph Theory

“Aw, are we talking about human trafficking again? I don’t want to feel sad,” said F at the beginning of the session following the human-trafficking discussion. I was grateful to F since I wasn’t sure whether to continue that topic or move to something else. Thanks to his comment, I knew what to do.

Math Circle Scheduling and Enrollment Update

Enrollment for our early fall course, The Cookie Monster Problem, is full with a waiting list. We tailored the schedule for the families enrolled, as people who met the priority-enrollment criteria signed up before the schedule was finalized. We’d like to get scheduling input from any of you who would definitely sign your young people up for the other three…

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Math Circle FAQs 2020-21

What courses are you offering? You can see the list and register here: How and when will the class time be determined? For the first course of the year (The Cookie Monster Problem) the exact time will be announced at the end of the day on Thursday, September 10. Families who definitely intend to enroll if the schedule works…

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ONLINE Math Circle starts this week

We are happy to announce that the Harmony Learning Community Math Circle is going online for our final course of this academic year: Mathematical Models. * In this course, students will explore three underlying themes: math can be used to model real life; mathematical structures underlie much in life; and the study of mathematics meets many human emotional needs. Planned…

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Reducing Human Trafficking through Math

Middle-school Math Circle students use graph theory to examine the problem of human trafficking.

Data Interpretation and Analysis

(February 5, 2020) “Suppose there was an election for Official Ice Cream Flavor of the USA, and the choices were ravioli, mint chocolate chip, butter pecan, mango, vanilla, and chocolate. Which voting methods could be used?” So began our class, which was filled with debate, questions, and conjectures as I posed more questions. “Suppose the country votes state by state…

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Caucusing and the Four-Color Theorem

(January 30, 2020) Last week I made up a silly example of laws about dairy-product usage and decided today that I’m just going to run with it. “Suppose that your state is going to vote for a leader and that all citizens and candidates only care about one issue: the law that you can keep dairy products in your refrigerator…

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Gerrymandering via IBL

(January 23, 2020) Is it possible to teach students about gerrymandering and the Four-Color Theorem by asking questions and not lecturing students about anything?* My plan was to ask the students just four questions: 1) What’s the difference between the House and the Senate? 2) If your state has a population of 50 people, 30 affiliated with the blue party…

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Intro to Voting Theory

(1/16/2020) Our overarching Math Circle goal is for students to invent and discover math for themselves. In this course, the plan/hope is that I’ll ask a bunch of questions and the students will invent their own voting methods before discovering what voting methods people have created throughout history. Pet of the World  “What would happen if you got to vote…

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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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