The Harmony Learning Community Blog

News, Updates, Program Recaps, and Homeschooling Information

Getting Emotional about Pi

(February 25, 2014)  Kids arrived to see some yarn and 3 different-sized cans on the table:  salt, coffee, and espresso.  I asked the kids to point out the key parts of a circle on the cans – the circumference, the area, the (invisible) center, and the rope/radius,1  and the diameter.  We hadn’t worked with diameter before, so we talked about…

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Dissent and DC

Kids were experiencing math collaboratively without my help.   In DC this past weekend, I gave a taste of our Math Circle to some of the 350 children who participated in the 2012 Circles on the Road Workshop. While our Circle informed that workshop, that workshop also informed our Circle, which I led 2 days later. In DC, Blake Thornton…

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Francs, Fractals, and Kovalevsky

The idea that math is an art and not a science is not a new idea.   Today we examined the life of mathematician/writer Sonya Kovalevsky. We first talked about some of the childhood experiences that shape her life, then took a break to watch Vi Hart’s film “Triangle Party.” This overwhelming film may be my favorite Hart film: 6…

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What are the numbers in the Fibonacci sequence? What’s the difference between a sequence and a series? Is it still the Fibonacci sequence if you start with a different first number (or two)? What phenomenon in nature prompted Fibonacci to study these numbers? How is the first number in a sequence determined? What is that first number called? How do…

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Infinity Fwomps

Kids inventing their own algebra.   How do you represent an infinite sequence or series in mathematical symbols? Our group attempted to answer this question in preparation for viewing Vi Hart’s video “Infinty Elephants.” So again we began with function machines. Once the students deduced three relationships between input and output numbers, I told them that my hand was too…

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The Hydra Head Exponential Growth Function

Do you feel like you learned some real mathematics here today?   Before showing Vi Hart’s “Binary Trees” short film, we did a few function machines as we waited for everyone to arrive. (This session was class 1 of a new session for middle-school kids.) The rule y=2x was obvious. The next rule, y=x squared, was obvious as well, but…

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