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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INFINITY 5: INSIGHTS ACTUALIZED, INSIGHTS POSTPONED

TAKEAWAY GAME (December 9, 2014)  We began our final session in this course with a few rounds of The Takeaway Game.  My goal was to focus attention for deep mathematical thinking, and to plant seeds of a solution strategy for The Very Clever Prince.  (We never did get time to return to the logic puzzle about the Prince; some of…

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MARTIN GARDNER #3: MAZE OF MINOTAUR AND SCRAMBLED BOXTOPS

OLD BUSINESS (October 7, 2014)  Since I had forgotten my Gardner books last week, this week I began class with reading aloud his versions of the problems.  “His wording is confusing,” commented one of the kids.  (To me, his wording is remarkably clear;  I suspect that this is more a vocabulary issue.) First we revisited “A Switching Puzzle.”  The kids…

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PROVING STUFF: Mathematical Thinking with Five-Year-Olds, 3.0

CLOCK JUMPING – SELF-DOUBT, LOOKING FOR PATTERNS (April 1, 2014) Things started out smoothly enough.  The clock was taped to the floor, and the kids were ready to jump on it.  Will you land on every number if you count by four?  They did this without me, and added a new approach:  everyone started on a different number, and half…

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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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More Exploring the Circle, and Pedagogical Questions

(February 18, 2014)  I received two interesting Math Circle emails this week: “It sounds like you all had a delightful and spiraling investigation and the participants are really owning the learning…  Thanks for packing so much into math circle!”  This came from a parent and professional educator, in response to my 2/4 report. “What does any of this have to…

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Mehndi, Circles, and Contemplative Mathematics

Mehndi and Circles NOTE:  This report was written by Gina Gruenberg this week, with a few mathematical notes from Rodi at the end. (January 29, 2014) Yesterday was finally the second meeting of the “ Nexus of Sacred Geometry and Henna”.  I was a bit concerned due to the frigid weather, as Henna is a cooling herb.  In the deserts…

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Math Circle: Eye of Horus, Session 1: More Things in Heaven and Earth

Eye of Horus, Session 1:  More Things in Heaven and Earth September 17, 2013 As kids trickled into our first day of Math Circle for eight-to-ten year olds, the group played Tens Concentration.  Silence engulfed the room during enthusiastic play until M asked whether she could ask for help from the group.  “It’s up to all of you,” I responded…

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Math Circle Blog: Signaling Problem Solution via Proof by Contradiction

Signaling Problem Solution via Proof by Contradiction December 11, 2012: We began our final session of our Signalling Problem Math Circle with a few rounds of Exploding Dots, this time in binary.  The large number of explosions in binary (base two) compared to decimal (base ten) was such fun.  I asked the group how many different numbers could be represented…

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