Wild About Math! Making Math fun and accessible

10Jul/110

Engaging summer Math activities at CTK Insights

Alexander Bogomolny has a number of outstanding "Cut-the-knot" sites that educate and inspire Math teacher and students. One of his sites, CTK Insights, has a great twelve part series of engaging Math activities for the summer break.

Here are the introductory paragraphs for the first three activities. To find the other nine just go to the day 3 activity and follow the link at the bottom of that article to get to day 4, follow the day 4 forward link to day 5 and so on.

Day 1

Mathematics is certainly not (only) about counting, graphing and solving equations. I do not believe that every child can reach beyond those. I do not believe that a child who does not show an inclination to dig deeper into math mysteries lacks in intellect or creativity. I do think that it is worth trying to find out. I child who gets excited on a discovery of uncommon patterns will have enriched his/her life experiences. [ Full article ]

Day 2

An engaging activity has been described by Martin Gardner in his Mathematical Games column in Scientific American, v 201, No 6, Dec 1959 and later included in one of his collections, New Mathematical Diversions. Rather recently, an upgraded variant has emerged as the Japanese ladders game. Amazingly, neither Gardner has mentioned the Japanese sources in 1959, nor half a century later his article has been referred to in the latest development. [ Full article ]

Day 3

Counting a group of objects can be done in many different ways. The most fundamental idea is that counting is at all possible in the sense that, regardless of the manner in which it is performed, the result is always the same. For example, place random numbers in a rectangular array and then compute separately the column and row sums. Then adding the column sums gives the same total as adding up the row sums. For little children the array and the numbers inside should be small. Letting all the numbers be 0 or 1 not only makes the activity more accessible to younger children but also adds a twist with a mathematical flavor. [ Full article ]

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