The Talking Stick Blog

News, Updates, Program Recaps, and Homeschooling Information

FERMAT 3 and 4: Proofs Proofs and Proofs

WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT NUMBER IN THE WORLD? The students came up with a list that includes just about everything that mathematicians say is important. (Non-mathematicians have a completely different list, though!) What would a mathematician say is the most important type of number in the world? This was tougher. Lots of conjectures. I finally used some leading questions…

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Fermat 1 and 2: From Trial and Error into Proof

(October 31 and November 7, 2016) “What are the greatest human accomplishments in history?” I asked at session one of our teen math circle. The students generated a list on the board. “What made them great accomplishments?” I asked. The students gave reasons for the greatness of each accomplishment listed. We did the same for a narrower version of the…

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Rational Tangles Weeks 3 and 4

WEEK THREE Voting on How to Proceed with Conjectures: R wasn’t here last week, so the students did a brief recap for her of what we did last time, which was testing their conjectures for which mathematical operation the move “Rotate” represented. “I’ve been thinking about the rotate thing, and maybe it’s multiple operations, not just one thing,” M mused….

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Math Circle: Rational Tangles 1 and 2

So we’re two weeks into the Rational Tangles math circle. Rational Tangles is an activity within the mathematical realm of knot theory where the students tangle and untangle ropes to uncover mathematical properties. With students this age (12-13), topics such as negative numbers, geometry (rotations, reflections, transformations), strategies to test conjectures, order of operations, mathematical operations, adding and subtracting fractions, reducing,…

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Awaken Your Child’s Inner Mathematician: New Math Circles

Talking Stick Learning Center will offer 5 New Math Circle Sessions This Year Math Circle is a supplementary program at Talking Stick, led by Mt. Airy math educator Rodi Steinig. Math Circles are a form of education enrichment and outreach that bring mathematicians into direct contact with students. It is an informal setting to work on interesting problems or topics in mathematics….

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OPEN Q’s #6: Liar’s Dice

(May 26, 2016)  Split into 3 teams.  Each team gets 5 dice.  Roll them all, look at them, but don’t let the other team see them.  The first team makes a 2-digit bid.  The first digit of the bid is your prediction of the total number of dice of a certain value every team combined has.  The second digit is…

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OPEN Q’s #5: Graceful Tree Conjecture

(May 19, 2016)  This is a graph-theory story best told with pictures, so feel free to go straight to the photo gallery below.  But I’ll try to explain it in the words I used with the students: Draw a tree.  Any Tree.  Sequentially number both ends of each branch or branch segment, starting with 1.  You have created a “graph”…

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OPEN Q’S #4: Total Stopping Time

(May 12, 2016) We spent almost the whole hour examining the “total stopping time” of sequences of Hailstone Numbers, those formed by the Collatz Conjecture.  (Pick a number.  If it’s even divide it by 2, if it’s odd triple it and add 1.)  Is there a starting number that doesn’t end up producing 1 as the final number of the…

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OPEN Q’S #3: Prime Numbers and Lines

(May 5, 2016)  We only had 4 kids today due to some illness going around.  I had a lot more to say about the Collatz Conjecture from last week, and the kids wanted to talk about it too.  But shouldn’t we wait until next week, when everyone who participated in this problem is back?  The kids who had something to…

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OPEN Qs #1 and 2: Graph Theory and Number Theory

(April 21 and 28)  So far, the questions I’m giving the kids to work on in Math Circle are leading them to ask very interesting questions on their own.  The bullet points below are all questions and conjectures posited by the students, not me.  The problems themselves are unanswered, or open, questions in mathematics.  I used presentations similar to those…

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