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Week 13 Networking options (April 9 - 15)

You can network at live events or asynchronous communication platforms. Find an option that looks promising for the future. The class ends soon, but your networks will keep!

New suggestions:

You can continue networking in the familiar communities:

• I explored MoMath for this task and really like this page. I see why so many people like this facebok page. I found a post about math paper and when I opened I came across something wonderful. This website shows so many ways we can apply math to our everyday lives and have fun with it. It looks like every Monday the author post a new way we can use math. There’s one I found to be funny which is make a mathematical haircut.  I can see a little kid now looking at this and wanting a mathematical haircut hahaha. http://momath.org/home/math-monday-make-a-mathematical-haircut/

My favorite one would have to be make designs in the snow. If you think about kids love to make snow angels, snow balls, and snow men. They will definitely enjoy making shapes and patterns in the snow. It’s a great activity for them to do while letting tem enjoy the snow day! The pictures shown in the link look like art works. It’s amazing what math related idea you can come up with among the things around us.  http://momath.org/home/math-monday-make-designs-in-the-snow/

• Math Monday: Paper Polyhedra by George Hart http://goo.gl/x5Ld9http://momath.org/home/math-monday/
blog.makezine.com
By George Hart for the Museum of Mathematics If you've never made a set of the Platonic solids from paper, perhaps it's time to try…
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• 24 people like this.
• Keisha Louis This is my first time exploring math monday and I really enjoyed it! So many great ideas to use in the classroom. I remember making 3D paper shapes in school but we never went to the extreme of making polyhedras lol. It was simply a pyramid or cube. I wouls love to make paper polyhedras in my class soon :)
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•

Does 2 + 2 always = 4? Fun puzzle for your kids!
Puzzle : Two fathers and two sons sat down to eat eggs for breakfast. They ate exactly three eggs, each person had an egg. The riddle is for you to explain how?

I found this problem on the Let's Play Math facebook page and thought it as interesting not only because I love riddles but because it is confusing. As an adult and someone who whas always loved solving riddles. I enjoyed this riddle and have actually figured it out and told it mnay times. The answer being there is a grandfather, a dad and a son. The dad counts as a dad and a son therefore having two sons and two dads, but only three people. Again I love this but am curious as to how appropriate this is for math? Are riddles that disprove simple math facts okay? Maybe is the riddle wasn't prefaced with "Does 2 + 2 always = 4?" it would be fine. But even as I read that I thought, well of course it does. And obviously it still does, its just for younger students that could be confusing I believe. However I think that riddles are a great way to work the brain and mind and can be used appropriately in classrooms and even math classrooms, but tehy should be set up so that students understand that even though their are four "people" and three eggs eaten that 2+2=4. In the end I think this was just a fun riddle for the day and completely harmless, it just got me to thinking about how it could be confusing for some students.
• Actually, 2 + 2 does not always equal 4. This story is a case in point. Another example: 2 cups water + 2 cups sugar does not make 4 cups of syrup. 2 thirds + 2 sevenths doesn't make 4 "thirvenths". And 2 eggs + 2 other ingredients = 1 omelet.

It's good for children to learn the math facts, but also good to remember that there are limitations. One still has to think about the types of things one is putting together, to decide whether addition is appropriate. One cannot always assume that one's mathematical model will automatically fit the real world, just because the math is correct in the abstract.

• One post that I found came from the xkcd forum this week.

The post is all about favorite math jokes, and it's gotten to about 33 pages! That's why more than some of the other posts that only get a page or two. I think it all comes back to the fact that people actively want to enjoy math. Math jokes could definitely be used in the classroom to lighten up the idea of "math," which brings anxiety to many. Jokes, however, are loved by everyone! Furthermore, a good math joke can be used to explain a concept. For example:

Something like this explains that pi is irrational and i denotes a non-real number. A cartoon or joke like this could help children remember concepts better, similar to a neumonic device. Plus, kids could love thinking up math jokes or rhymes or riddles, and would be learning the topic that the joke is based on. I would love to set up a lesson plan based on inventing math jokes.

I also want to quickly comment on the name of the facebook group "The Feeling You Get When You understand Something in Math Class." I think it's upsetting that so many people have convinced themselves that they're just not good at math. I think it goes beyond "boys are good at math, girls aren't" because people of all genders have joined this. I think that many math classes nowadays come from a model of teaching to the test, rather than actively exploring exciting math principles. Students get to a point where they believe that if they can't pass the test, they're no good at math. Furthermore, if a student doesn't understand one concept, they'll be convinced that they're terrible at the subject completely. Or worse, they won't understand future lessons because they're still confused with the basics. Teachers need to tend to students' needs and convince them that they ARE good at math. The idea that you get something should definitely be thrilling, but it should happen often! Understanding something in math class should not be something that happens once in a blue moon.

• Maria,

I just commented on your comment in "Let's Play Math."  I really like your idea better than mine.  It's much more hands-on and experiential.  I guess that's what makes you the one with the credentials, and me the student!  Here's the link:

My Comments:  Actually the drawings of the clothing and thermometers representing temperatures could be drawn on a chalkboard board. Maybe that would cut down on some of the prep-work.

I guess measuring water temperatures would be even better. If students can touch the temperature of the water they would actually be experiencing it first-hand.
• What we made TOGETHER is better - things improve when people continue working on them. It's not because of me, in particular. Denise, for example, in her short comment named three different aspects of your activity, which helped you to visualize a no-preparation version.

It takes a village, really, to design good activities. Denise and I were helpers - fellow village tribeswomen - in the spontaneous design team you led. Now we have a more fleshed out activity based on your initial brilliant idea. And we can do things with drawings that we can't do with cold or hot water, like representing the temperature on the Sun! I think I will run it in my math club next year. I try to have discussions just like that about most activity ideas I have. They always get better when people help!

I also would like to share your activity on LinkedIn - Art DeVito is collecting "MathLab" ideas and he will love it - with attribution, of course.

• Today I attended the MIT webinar Playing Seriously II.  This discussion followed closely with the topic that we’ve discussed often in this class this semester; that is, the use of games as a teaching tool.  Scot Osterweil, the creative director of MIT education arcade, started by showing a 1560 painting by Elliott Avedon that depicts 200 kids playing.  He then showed modern photos of children similarly playing.  He did this to show that play hasn’t changed.  He said, “All kids play and always have”.  It is prudent for teachers to use this information to structure their class.  Osterweil contends that with play comes exploration.

He explained his Four Freedoms of Play as 1) The freedom to experiment 2) The freedom to fail (in a low risk environment and it doesn’t discourage continuation) 3) The freedom to try on identities 4) the freedom of effort (can be relaxed and/or aggressive).  Because children accept these freedoms in play, it allows them to be more willing to try new things, and to continue with them with the goal of mastering despite failing in (sometimes multiple) attempts, and despite arbitrary rules and structures.  He asked the question, “How do we channel into learning activities while still allowing for play’s open-ended nature?”  The answer is, of course, games.

Osterweil explained that many educators believe that work and play must be different.  He showed a graphic to demonstrate what some educators think:

Work                                     Play

<--------------------------->

Learning                               Fun

This shows that work and play, as well as learning and fun, are at opposite sides of the line.  He contends that it doesn’t have to be so opposite.  He explained that using games can meet the same goals as rote memorization.  Using games makes it not about memorizing, but about learning "strategies, process, and habits of mind".

He also said that players understand that wrong answers are part of getting right answers, and that’s an accepted concept in playing a game.  I completely see this point.  If you’re playing Asteroids or some type of game, it is assumed your spaceship is going to be destroyed, and the idea of ‘try, try again’ is an unspoken part of the process.  It’s natural, and the challenge of beating those space invaders keeps you trying. You don’t see that same determination to succeed in a classroom; once a student fails a quiz, chances are, they will have decide that there is no way they can pass the big test, and, consequently, they are a lot less willing to try.  They have lost their motivation to master the challenge.

Another point  made is that playing, and trying new strategies and plans, even if they fail, allows a student to think like a scientist, mathematician, or an engineer.  Players build a scaffold for future learning, and they engage with content in context.  They complete activities that are tactile and offer sensory satisfaction such as noises, lights, and scenery.  The goal is practice and repetition as they approach mastery, and that certainly is easier to achieve if students are having fun while it happens. The task isn't seen as a chore.

Everything Oserweil said made absolute sense, and his straight forward way of presenting the ideas really made me think that it all seems so obvious.  Why, then, aren’t more educators taking this approach?  Of course some people in the discussion board were saying it’s hard to fit everything in that the curriculum demands, and that’s certainly true.  I think, though, that it doesn’t take any longer to allow students 15 minutes to practice using an online game or doing a 15-minute teacher led Q & A. Fifteen minutes is fifteen minutes!  It is an interesting new way to look at lessons, that’s for sure!

MIT is currently holding a challenge for schools using their online math game Lure of the Labyrinth. The Lure of the Labyrinth Challenge is a free online math challenge for grades 6-8. While playing the game, students use mathematical thinking and problem-solving skills to progress through a compelling graphic-novel story. According to the website, "Lure of the Labyrinth is a web-based game where middle-school students are immersed in a compelling storyline in which an underground monster-inhabited world comes to life". Players (teams of 4-6) "plunge into a shadowy factory on a mission to rescue their missing pet using mathematical thinking skills to progress through the graphic-novel story".  There are prizes available for the students.  It is a teacher driven contest (that is, the teacher must register the students) that runs April 1-June 15. It’s ongoing so it’s not too late to join the challenge.  http://lureofthelabyrinth.net/www/