Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Julia Robinson Festival



(The flatland talk at the end of the afternoon.)

For the second year in a row, I volunteered at the Julia Robinson Math Festival over the weekend. This is among my favorite mathematical activities to do for the whole year. This time around  I went to the training session before hand. That was useful, since I had a chance to look at the problems I would be facilitating prior to actually jumping in.

My first one was a bit daunting from the perspective of maintaining interest. The first part was to figure out the brain teaser: What comes next in this sequence?

       1
      1 1
      2 1
   1 1 12
   3 1 1 2
2 1 1 2 1 3
3 1 1 2 1 3

This took me almost 25 minutes to see by myself and I worked through a bunch of different ideas. My goal was document all my wrong approaches so I could anticipate what students my do. I also knew it involved some lateral thinking. As I remember my main thought was "Gosh I hope this isn't something silly like number of curves and lines in the numbers."

At any rate, I was pleasantly surprised during the actual Festival.  Based on the prep work I managed to keep multiple students occupied for 30+ minutes in the productively stuck state. The main thing I did was to have folks work together, keep close tabs on everyone and ask about what they were trying. I also tried to emphasize regrouping the pyramid as a triangle and looking for patterns.

My second table was a really cool graph theory game. https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B6oYedIeLTUKc1hWSWtHMi1vbHM.  I'm going to use this in Math Club and I will talk about it more then.

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