The Talking Stick Blog

News, Updates, Program Recaps, and Homeschooling Information

ESCHER #6: Exploration

(February 24, 2015)  Our last session.  One parent asked – as everyone was walking out at the end – “Did you come to a conclusion in your math circle?”  The answer was a resounding no.  This course was more of an exploration.  We often begin a math circle course with an overarching question.  This time, we had nothing other than…

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ESCHER #5: All About Assumptions

ESCHER #5:  All About Assumptions (February 10, 2015)  I brought in some soccer balls to continue our discussion about which regular polygons can be tessellated.  The kids discovered that the balls were a pattern of both pentagons and hexagons.  The question became “Why?”  Conjectures:  Roundness?  Size? Of course, since soccer balls are 3-D, they weren’t going to answer our question…

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ESCHER #3: Things Get Emotional

(January 20, 2013)  “What’s this for?” asked the kids as I handed everyone a piece of triangular graph paper.  I explained that you can make fancy tessellations on this kind of paper. “What’s wrong with squares?” asked A, referring to traditional graph paper.  I then handed out square grid paper for anyone who wanted to try it on squares.  M…

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Symmetry: The Questions (ESCHER #2)

(January 13, 2015)  For the most part, I’m going to let the pictures do the talking this week.  They tell the mathematical story of our session via the students’ work and question. We continue to wrangle over the definition/types of symmetry.  I posed 2 new questions this week: 1)  Can you get a mirror image of an object using rotation…

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ESCHER #1: What is Symmetry?

(January 6, 2015)  How do you define symmetry?   This question became the crux of our first Math Circle on Escher.  Our 11-13 year-olds debated this question for well over an hour. It all started when I passed a bunch of images around: >beehives and other natural patterns, >examples of Moorish architecture, >various Escher works, and >a guy staring at his…

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Bouncing between Rationalism and Empiricism

Bouncing between Rationalism and Empiricism (February 4, 2014)  I felt a smidge of trepidation coming to Math Circle today: Gina was not able to make it with the art/henna component, and I know that at least a few of the kids signed up more for the art than for the math.  Would I be able to hold their interest in…

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Attempting the Flower of Life

Some things in math we choose to believe even though we can’t know for sure. Michaelangelo, Bernini, Lloyd Wright (or, the students wondered, was it simply Wright?), Zarah Hussein, Native American geometry designs, mapmakers art, the feng shui compass, and a photo of a piece of jewelry covered the table as the students tried to figure out what the pictures…

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