Friday, June 3, 2016

6/1 Art Math Intersection

I farmed out picking candy for math club to my wife this week and she was very generous in her purchases.  So I started the day handing out skittles and gummy bears to everyone since they had completed another 20  problem of the week assignments collectively. This was probably a bit too much sugar and I could definitely see the effects in the first 15 minutes of Math Club.  On the bright side after participation waned a bit last month, its picking up again.

We then started with the math counts problem of the week worksheet: https://www.mathcounts.org/sites/default/files/images/potw/pdf/PoTW%20052316%20UPDATED%20Solutions%2BProblems.pdf  Unfortunately, I found it harder to keep everyone focused on the students demonstrating on the whiteboard. These problems seem to take quite a bit more time for the kids to write out and they usually want to just scribe without talking.  I'm thinking a bit if I want to keep using them and how to improve this process. This might just be end of the year fever or perhaps I need to have the kids doing something else while one writes up their work and then have everyone stop and listen to the explanation. Another idea would be to just have the kids talk about their strategy and no calculation allowed.

At any rate for next week I switched tacks and went with a classic riddle instead: http://www.mathsisfun.com/puzzles/5-pirates.html.   My plan for now is to start with warm up for maybe 10-15 minutes and then have everyone gather to talk at the whiteboard.

For the main  activities I brought rulers, crayons and straight edges.  I gave the kids a choice between investigating Ulam's Spiral or modular arithmetic circles.



The spiral is really cool.  I had the kids take graph paper and create a spiral and then pick a  pattern like multiples of 5 and color in the boxes that matched to look for patterns.  The only thing  I found myself doing further was asking kids to generate more cycles on the outside so they could see the patterns better.  I had a few kids decide to look into primes so I'm planning to bring a picture of what this looks like and maybe do a short discussion next week.  Two things to do if I repeat. Rather than just giving the kids graph paper, a pre-labelled sheet with the numbers already in it would speed things up. See: https://t.co/BxYoARdfDC  Also its important to have everyone check in and share what they've found along the way.



The modular circles were inspired by: https://t.co/xJ30I6W6MB. For these I precut out some circle templates, had the kids trace them and label digits on the outside and then start compiling data for various multiple tables.  Again. I thought this went pretty well. The only hitch was its better to encourage higher numbers on the outside. A circle with only 6 points doesn't generate quite as exciting results,







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