In my previous post, I set out an ambitious Reading List of math and education related reads. So far, I’ve made only fair progress; because of daily life but also because of other opportunities for fun and enjoyment with math online and in person. Read on for some diversions and refreshments to include with your summer pursuits.
Two online opportunities that I enjoyed immensely last summer are back again for 2019. First is the #MathPhoto19 weekly photo sharing on Twitter. Erick Lee (@TheErickLee) is hosting weekly prompts asking for photos on all sorts of math-y topics, such as Circles, Estimation, and even Beauty. “The Coffee Porch” is my favorite summer location for my math diversions (and this week’s entry for #Lines).
The second event is the return of the Big Internet Math-Off organized by the folks at Aperiodical.com. Last summer, sixteen mathematicians shared a fun math(s) pitch in a short blog post and/or video format. Every topic was captivating, from origami and hexaflexagons, to airplane seating, phantom parabolas, mathematical modeling, and more. The only downside was that every face-off resulted in an interesting mathematician going home, so there is a new format this year.
This time around, there is a “group stage” so every participating math person can give three presentations. Then on to the semi-finals and finals. The full list of sixteen “players” and schedule is here, and the fun begins on July 1. Follow on twitter using #bigmathoff and @aperiodical.
Listening to math conversations via podcasts is another way to enjoy math on-the-go, whether you are walking the dog in the early morning like me, traveling to a vacation spot, or even while cooking or working around the house. I’m catching up on some that I’ve missed from Mr. Barton Maths Podcasts with Craig Barton (@mrbartonmaths) and Estimation 180 with Andrew Stadel (@mr_stadel) and his math minions.
I’m not alone looking for good listens; this thread from @JennSWhite on Twitter gives some more suggestions (too many to list here, so click through!). Consider loading up a Global Math Department webinar podcast, or Make Math Moments That Matter makemathmoments.com/podcast and enjoy. And Craig Barton has recommended the Odds And Evenings podcast for “cracking puzzles and 100% math goodness”.
Blogs (Reading &/or Writing):
Summer is a great time to reflect on the teaching year that has gone by, and one way to do this is to dust off the neglected blog and write about some great teaching and learning experiences you meant to share along the way. What will you do again? What needs changing? What difficulties did you face and/or overcome? Many teachers in the #MTBoS* community have commented on Twitter that they plan to catch up on their writing (and the challenge of remembering what happened during the academic year!). And even if you aren’t writing, catch up on reading the blogs you bookmarked during the year when there wasn’t time to process.
Chats & Discussions:
Take part in the many chats and discussions happening on Twitter… about books you are reading or how you solved a math problem. Here are some to check out:
The hashtag #EduRead is being used as well for discussing educational books by teachers on Twitter. Or just search #MTBoS or #iTeachMath to find others thinking about the same things as you; use #ElemMathChat #MSmathchat #GeomChat #Alg1chat #PreCalcChat etc. to specify your audience.
I love puzzles and I spend many hours engaged with them, especially when they have a math or logic angle needed to solve. I recently discovered the daily MindGames puzzles from The Times UK [website here] along with their book collections. Cell Blocks is a great visual brainteaser, whose object is to divide the grid into square or rectangular blocks, each containing one number and made up of that many cells (image shows a solution; puzzle starts without any of the dark boundaries).My current favorite is Suko**, which is a 3-by-3 array for the digits 1 through 9. The number in each circle must equal the sum of the four surrounding cells, and the total of the colored cells must match the color totals given outside the array.
For example, in this puzzle from www.transum.org , the three blue squares add up to 17, and the four lower left squares add up to 23. Thus the value of the green square in that section must be 6.
The two red squares sum to 12, and the four lower right squares sum to 24, so the two blue squares in the middle column must also equal 12. Since the three blue squares add up to 17, that leaves 5 for the lower left blue square. And so on.
And if this isn’t enough to keep you going, one more puzzle idea is to try the Daily Math & Logic Challenges from @brilliantorg.
Whatever math you teach, summer is a wonderful time to reflect, refresh, and recharge. Hope you enjoy these math entertainments!
Notes and Resources:
* #MTBoS stands for “Math Twitter Blog-o-Sphere”, the online community of math teachers on Twitter. Ask questions, find resources, & discuss issues about teaching math, and follow @ExploreMTBoS for more.
I’ve found these websites with interactive Suko puzzles, listed above and here again: TIMES Mindgames, the Sunday TIMES Brain Power, and www.transum.org. Printing is also an option. Warning, these puzzles are habit-forming!