The Talking Stick Blog

News, Updates, Program Recaps, and Homeschooling Information

Rachel Co-Leads

(May 20, 2014) Rachel Steinig co-led the session with me today, so I’ll let her tell the story of what happened: Today at Math Circle we did a lot of math (no kidding). WE started out reading a puzzle from the book by Smiullyan. I had read the puzzle earlier, sort of guessed the answer, but I never was totally…

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More Logic, More Factoring, and Sticking with Tough Problems

THE CRIMINALS OF THE WEEK (May 13, 2014) “It’s time talk about the criminals,” I announced to an exuberant group of kids who were not quite ready to settle into math circle.  The word criminals got their attention.  We tackled Smullyan’s Inspector Craig mystery puzzle #74.  I expected a huge struggle for 2 reasons: more clues to keep track of,…

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I LEARN SOMETHING: Mathematical Thinking with Five-Year-Olds, 4.0

  (April 8, 2014)  We started out playing a few logic games – “Picking Fruit” and “Wearing Hats.”  The students had fun using process of elimination to deduce what couldn’t be seen.  The students announced one conjecture, then would immediately change their minds, then revert, etc.  (Once again, insight is fleeting.)  One student didn’t want to commit to any conjecture. …

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OPPOSITES: Mathematical Thinking for Five-Year-Olds, 2.0

COUNTING STRATEGIES   (March 25, 2014)  We started out on the floor counting pennies.  “I want to buy a piece of candy – a Swedish fish.  It costs 10 cents. Do I have enough?”  The pennies were arranged in a particular way.1 The students counted, with various results.  “Is there more than one way to count them?” “No!” announced everyone…

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Mathematical Thinking with Five-Year-Olds, 1.0

Mathematical Thinking with Five-Year-Olds, 1.0 (March 18, 2014)  When I arrived for today’s session, some of the 5-year-olds were already there, bounding with excitement having spied on their older siblings in Math Circle over the past few years.  Now it was their turn, and they were owning it already.  They chose the room, chose the chairs, set up the chairs,…

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Logic for the Very Young

Logic for the Very Young (February 26 and March 5, 2013) “One afternoon, 2 children wander into a Kingdom unknown to them ….” So began our two-week Math Circle for children aged 6-7.  This story framed an exploration of logic games, questions, and strategies.  I had lost my voice, so my assistant Rachel led the Circle while I sat quietly…

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Logic Session #6: The Inverser, the Contrapositive, and the Background Info

The Inverser, the Contrapositive, and the Background Info (February 19, 2013)  The kids were pretty disappointed that today was our final session.  C was even fake crying.  Unfortunately, 4 of our 9 participants were absent, which totally changed the dynamic of the group.  M wanted to solve the “All Puddings are Nice” riddle, but everyone was on edge.    D had…

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Logic Session #4: The Kids Take Over

The Kids Take Over (February 5, 2013)  What would you do if you were settled around the table with your students, about to engage in a civilized discussion about math history, when suddenly the students started chanting in loud rhythmic unison “Puppets!  Puppets!  Puppets!”? That’s exactly what happened in our Math Circle this week.    First, the kids introduced themselves to…

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Math Circle: Logic Session #3: Noise, Normals, and Negators

Noise, Normals, and Negators (January 29, 2013)  The kids bounded in, filled with curiosity about whether the new puppets, Wags and Rooney, were knights or liars.  Each child also wanted to hold a puppet.  We had 4 puppets and 8 kids.  Easy to manage, I thought:  each child could have a puppet for half the class.  Each child, though, wanted…

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Math Circle: Logic Session #2: Knights, Liars, and Percy Jackson

(January 15, 2013)  As students trickled in, the kids immediately resumed debate over one of last week’s question, “What happens if an irresistible cannonball hits an immovable post?”1 The new kids, H and L, were now clued in, but the question was not resolved. Once everyone had arrived I introduced 2 puppets who came to help them with our questions: …

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