The Talking Stick Blog

News, Updates, Program Recaps, and Homeschooling Information

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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Math Circle Blog: Aliens, Number Systems, and Contemplative Mathematics

Aliens, Number Systems, and Contemplative Mathematics “Some alien spies have been helping our captain.  It turns out that you were right: there are enemies hiding on the field behind the house.  The captain wants to know how many.  The alien photographer comes down and takes a picture of them, gives it to her captain, who writes it down and gives…

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Math Circle Blog: Problems in Probability

Answers Usually Boil Down to How You Defined the Terms in Your Question October 2, 2012: “Death is a constant.” Or at least so claimed most of our group, after R had contributed “12 inches per foot” and G “60 seconds per minute” to our list of constants. At that point, S had argued that “60 seconds per minute” is…

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Math Circle Blog: Popcorn, Nose Rings, and Parameters

This Week Our Group Invents Parameters. SEPTEMBER 25, 2012: Here’s what I expected to happen in Math Circle today: The students would walk in, discuss A’s discovery of an important calculation error last week, and then continue the Popcorn Problem. I had placed unpopped popcorn kernels on the table before I told them the life story of Enrico Fermi. Hopefully,…

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Math Circle Blog: The Popcorn Problem

Geometry, arithmetic, optimization, logic, and question asking. SEPTEMBER 18, 2012: “What would it take to fill this room with popcorn?” “a big popcorn machine” “the machine running a long time” “a lot of patience” “corn, heat, oil” “a small factory” “a lot of people” At this point in this term’s first math circle, participants began to debate whether these things…

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Math Circle Topics, Math Advice, and Math Lawyer

Should we require kids to produce math facts on demand? What does it mean that something is “true,” “valid,” or “proven?” (Hint: they do not mean the same thing.) And upon what fundamental system is arithmetic based? (I’ll just tell you: place value.) These are the big questions that will drive our Math Circles this year. More specifically, ages 11…

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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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The List, My Shirt, and Taking a Break from a Problem

My instincts told me that this group was not going to get The Solution to this problem in the time allotted. Is that okay?   Falling off your chair, Pokemon figures, a shoe, 1 strand of hair, reading, anger, candy, God: this was the list of ideas and things that kids brought into Math Circle to challenge my conjecture that…

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Rubiyat, Storytelling, and the Baobob Tree

Mathematics does not simply mean arithmetic.   Everyone noticed the drawing of the birthday cake on the board as they entered today.  As kids were arriving, we played “Mathematician Concentration” to focus our attention, but attention was split between the game and the birthday. “Whose birthday is it?” said the kids, looking around the room. “One of these mathematicians,” I…

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