Around the middle of last week I received a surprise phone call from the school office: "Your package arrived and we're holding it for you." As expected, it was a small cardboard box containing the MOEMS bling for this year. I decided to hand out most of it as the students arrived to make the process a bit more private. Mostly, because not all of the kids in Math Club participated in all of the 5 tests, not all of them received anything. However, I did think it was important to recognize the top scoring student for the year whom was given a trophy at the start of the session.
This was a natural point to also recognize the team that went out the WSMC Olympiad last Saturday. I had all the kids who went give a short report on the contest and what they thought of it. As usual I'm hoping that this will encourage others to participate more next year.
My main planning goal for this session was to do something less formal after the last two weeks. I found this awesome chair exercise from Lisa Winer: http://eatplaymath.blogspot.com/2016/05/puzzle-day-human-jumping-puzzle-riddle.html
that I thought would fit perfectly.
First I had the kids collect two sets of 7 chairs from the hall and lay them out in rows.
Then I split the kids and set them up 3 on each end of the rows with the extra kids helping to make decisions and counting moves.
The basic rules are simple and are very similar to checkers.
1. The kids on each end could only move in one direction.
2. You can move forward to an empty seat.
3. You can jump over 1 person in front of you.
The goal is to get everyone to the opposite side of the row of chairs. This was a lot of fun. I ended up talking a lot about the concept of clumps and how every time they occurred was a dead end. After 5 -10 minutes both groups eventually found the solution.
This didn't happen at the same time so I took the half that was a bit quicker and gave them the second puzzle of the day on the whiteboard inspired from Nat Banting. Given the 8x8 checkboard below: how many square are there that do not include the 9 red ones?
We ended up with groups of kids trying out counting strategies around the whiteboard. I floated in and out to give hints about strategies i.e. how many 1x1, 2x2, etc. squares are there in the checkboard before you add any complications.
Finally the main activity was inspired by some math homework my 2nd grader took home. The sheet was a connect the dots picture made up of coordinate points. I found helping him out to be fun as an adult and I thought the fourth and fifth graders would probably also like them. So I found a sample site: https://www.worksheetworks.com/math/geometry/graphing/coordinate-pictures.html that would generate some. To make this more interesting I brought graph paper and told the kids after doing the sample one, I wanted them to generate there own picture and puzzle. Sadly, we didn't have enough time for anyone to get quite that far so I'm going to see if any of the kids will finish one over the week. If I repeat I'd budget 35+ minutes to allow enough time for the creative portion. (Basically I should have skipped one of the warmups)
For the Problem of the week I'm experimenting with the sets from Math Counts: https://www.mathcounts.org/sites/default/files/images/potw/pdf/PoTW%20021516%20Solutions.pdf
Small Procedural Tweak:
I'm having everyone store their backpacks on the side at the beginning of Club. That's been a win,