The Talking Stick Blog

News, Updates, Program Recaps, and Homeschooling Information

Folklore – River Crossing – Collatz – the Elephant – Siri – Cannibals

(April 28, May 5, and May 12, 2015)  We’ve had 3 sessions so far, and I see 3 big themes developing in this 5-session course for 9-11 year olds: Everyone thinks that “Everyone Else in the Room is Better at Math than Me.” Not everyone realizes what math is really about. There’s culture/folklore in mathematics that the kids are starting…

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Registration Open for Math Circle

Talking Stick’s popular Math Circle will be back again this year, and registration is now open! Mt. Airy mathematician Rodi Steinig, our Math Circle founder and facilitator since 2011, has worked tirelessly over the summer months to prepare some amazing programs for this year, including: Modular Arithmetic for age 5 What is a Number? for ages 6 & 7 The…

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PROOFS #5: Debating the Merits of Proofs

  THEOREM:          A cat has nine tails. PROOF:                1.  No cat has 8 tails.                                 2.  One cat has one more tail than no cats.  Therefore, a cat has nine tails.1 (May 14, 2013)  We began today’s Math Circle debating the merits of the cat-has-nine-tails “proof.”  N stood at the board diagramming “my” reasoning.  G came up to…

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Math Circle: Logic Session #1: Lounging Around

January 15, 2013 We lounged around the room, talking about math.  M and I sat on the floor, slouched against the wall while E lay on the floor.  J did the occasional unobtrusive headstand while D, V, and C sat in chairs.  I never moved from my position, not even to get up and write something else on the board. …

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Math Circle Blog: The Monty Hall Problem

The Monty Hall Problem You are a contestant on a game show.  The host shows you 3 doors.  He tells you that the prize behind one door is $1,000,000 and behind each of the other doors is a goat.  He instructs you to choose a door; you will win whatever is behind it.  You choose a door.  “But wait,” he…

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Math Circle Spring Registration Now Open

This spring, we’ll continue to explore the themes of truths and proofs in our Math Circles, the first in the immediate Philadelphia area.

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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