The Talking Stick Blog

News, Updates, Program Recaps, and Homeschooling Information

The Skills We Bring to the Circle

Experience the joy of discovery.   • the sense of humor to say “I want to whisper the function in your ear because I’m too lazy to do the math.” • the honesty to say “I want to whisper the function in your ear because I need help with the math,” and quite plainly, “I have no idea.” • the…

Read More→

The Platonic Solids: Never Mind

Developing collaborative problem-solving through the joyful art of mathematics.   Since Euler codified the concept of functions, we started with a function machine. It was challenging to get past the design phase to play with the math, but after applying a chimney to a fish, we did. The first rule was quickly deduced: “It makes it half; it takes half…

Read More→

What We Did in Math Circle, and Why We Did It

It’s fine to not solve a problem.   “I’ve got it!” said X, J, M, N, A, G, and D.  Almost everyone came up to the board (excitedly and without invitation) to demonstrate a solution to the famous Konigsberg bridge problem.  “Uh, wait…  I just had it,” said X, J, M, N, A, G, and D.   Each returned to her/his…

Read More→

Collaboration via the Cupcake Function Machine

After the total silence that accompanies very hard thinking, the kids were thinking aloud and producing conjectures.   After we played with Polydrons and Schläfli symbols* for about 10 minutes, we created a function machine. The students dictated the machine’s parts (various polygons, a cupcake, and sprinkles) as I drew it. They specified that the “in” number should enter the…

Read More→

Can You Make an Elephant out of Polyhedra?

Our Math Circle is about playing with, conversing about, and collaborating on math. “We got those for Christmas,” announced G as she arrived and saw the Polydrons scattered across the table. “They were the only educational thing we got.”  A brief flash of worry entered my mind as our new Math Circle (with mostly new students) seemed to be labeled…

Read More→