The Talking Stick Blog

News, Updates, Program Recaps, and Homeschooling Information

How can you help children learn math?

It’s no secret that many kids say they hate math. Perhaps what they are saying is that they hate the way math is taught in the classroom. For many years now, Talking Stick Learning Center has offered a Math Circle to the local community as one of our supplementary programs. Our Math Circle has been recognized nationwide and continues to…

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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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OPEN Qs #1 and 2: Graph Theory and Number Theory

(April 21 and 28)  So far, the questions I’m giving the kids to work on in Math Circle are leading them to ask very interesting questions on their own.  The bullet points below are all questions and conjectures posited by the students, not me.  The problems themselves are unanswered, or open, questions in mathematics.  I used presentations similar to those…

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CANTOR #2: Realen and Reellen Numbers

(January 12, 2016)  We had a small group of 3 teens today, so to start the session on an energetic note, I shamelessly presented some controversial material. I showed the students E.T. Bells’ 1937 book Men of Mathematics, a book many consider an accessible classic of math history.  I’ve relied on this book for various math circle discussions over the…

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CANTOR #1: Let’s Say I’m a Millipede

(January 5, 2016)  “Are there more books or bookcases in this room?” This question thus began our first math circle of the new year. “Do you mean bookshelves or bookcases, not that it would make a difference?” asked W.  Everyone agreed immediately that there are more books.   ONE TO ONE CORRESPONDENCE “How could you tell without counting?” I asked….

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COMPASS ART 6: Do Ghosts Have Guts?

(October 22, 2015) This session was marked, as usual, by question upon question upon question. SPIRALS >What is a spiral? >Can you construct a spiral with a compass? >Can a spiral have any straight lines in it? >How do you make a Baravelle spiral?   EUCLID REVISITED AGAIN We played around with all of these questions until interest in spirals…

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COMPASS ART #3 and 4: Fun with Euclid

(October 1 and 8, 2015) I’m combining 2 sessions into one report,  mathematical conversation topics  grouped by how they went over with the students. LAME Compasses: Some students are struggling with their (and my) compasses.  Parts get lost.  Positions slip.  The leads get lost.  No one agrees on which compass model (and we have about 8-10 of them in class)…

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COMPASS ART #2: The Evolution of a Question

(September 24, 2015) I decided to do something today that I rarely do:   to demonstrate to the students how to do something.  Last week the kids learned a whole bunch of geometry, but the group did not feel cohesive.  Everyone was pursuing different leads and goals, with simultaneous conversations about different topics.  I wanted to move the group more toward…

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COMPASS ART 1: Intro to Geometry

(September 17, 2015)  Our new math circle course on compass art for 9-11 year olds began with a switcheroo activity:  I gave everyone a printout of an image, and about every 30 seconds said “switch!”  I asked them to pass their page clockwise one person.  The images included: Mandalas from various traditions (Celtic, etc), Zarah Hussein’s Islamic art, Native American…

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