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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Math Circle Blog: The Kaplans on Algorithms

“The idea of a Math Circle is to not tell anyone anything.” So began the Math Circle Summer Teacher Training Institute, led by Bob and Ellen Kaplan. Bob continued:  “To discover and construct mathematics for yourself is to make it yours.  You can use it again and again.”  Throughout the week, new and experienced Math Circle leaders practiced telling kids…

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