The Talking Stick Blog

News, Updates, Program Recaps, and Homeschooling Information

Folklore – River Crossing – Collatz – the Elephant – Siri – Cannibals

(April 28, May 5, and May 12, 2015)  We’ve had 3 sessions so far, and I see 3 big themes developing in this 5-session course for 9-11 year olds: Everyone thinks that “Everyone Else in the Room is Better at Math than Me.” Not everyone realizes what math is really about. There’s culture/folklore in mathematics that the kids are starting…

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ESCHER #5: All About Assumptions

ESCHER #5:  All About Assumptions (February 10, 2015)  I brought in some soccer balls to continue our discussion about which regular polygons can be tessellated.  The kids discovered that the balls were a pattern of both pentagons and hexagons.  The question became “Why?”  Conjectures:  Roundness?  Size? Of course, since soccer balls are 3-D, they weren’t going to answer our question…

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Symmetry: The Questions (ESCHER #2)

(January 13, 2015)  For the most part, I’m going to let the pictures do the talking this week.  They tell the mathematical story of our session via the students’ work and question. We continue to wrangle over the definition/types of symmetry.  I posed 2 new questions this week: 1)  Can you get a mirror image of an object using rotation…

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GARDNER #5: Life, Murder, and Box Tops

LIFE (October 21, 2014)  Last week’s boardwork was on display before the students arrived.  M, who was absent last week, was early for class today.  She saw the board and immediately asked, “Why does it say ‘die?’” “Ask them,” I told her, indicating J and L, who were also early for class.  J set the board up for Life1. Then…

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MARTIN GARDNER #1: Mutilated Chessboard and Bronx vs. Brooklyn

In our first Math Circle of the year, we ushered in Gardner’s centennial with a look at some problems from his classic book My Best Mathematical and Logic Puzzles.   The problems seem almost whimsical because of how compelling they are.  They are, in fact, quite serious;  they touch on deep mathematical issues.  I had 5 problems prepared to look at…

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A Mathematician’s Task (TEEN CIRCLE 1)

  A Mathematician’s Task (TEEN CIRCLE 1) NOVEMBER 5, 2013 Suppose you have an opportunity to play a game that costs $1 to play.  You have a 50% chance of winning.  If you do win, you get $3, but if you lose, you get nothing.  Should you play? I asked this question after some brief discussion of Math Circle practices…

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