Mondrian Art Puzzle

CAMI plays around with a way to practice multiplication, think about area and extend into algebra and generalizations. Through art!

For our final CAMI meeting of 2017, I wanted to spend some time at a CAMI meeting doing some math that would create some thing visual and beautiful. As I was looking around for activities to bring to the group, I came across the website, Math Pickle (as in “Put your students in a pickle”). They had a trove of math problems that I look forward to exploring in future CAMI meetings. The one I chose for this one is at its core an opportunity for students to practice multiplication in a way that is much more engaging than just memorizing facts and doing worksheets. And it builds works of art. As I started to play around with it, I started to notice different ways to think about how to make designs with the best score. Continue reading “Mondrian Art Puzzle”

Can you fit more boxes in a shipping container than Jane can?

Exploring some of the mathematics in packing a shipping container.

For today’s CAMI meeting, Mark was trying out a draft of a lesson that he wrote with Eric involving volume and units in a workplace context. The problem we explored involves trying to fit rectangular boxes into a shipping container.  Continue reading “Can you fit more boxes in a shipping container than Jane can?”

Growing Rectangles

This task, from Mathematical Mindsets, by Jo Boaler, asked us to explore how area and volume are affected when shapes are scaled up in size. For example, if you double the dimensions of a square, how is the area affected? What if you triple the dimensions?

We used this meeting to explore a problem from Mathematical Mindsets by Jo Boaler. I had worked on it a few weeks ago as part of an online book group with LINCS. I decided not to give out all the questions in the task at once, but you can look at the problem URL above to see the whole thing. Continue reading “Growing Rectangles”

What Do You Do with a Dizzy Sailor?

CAMI often goes back and forth between problems that challenge us as problem-solvers and those which we could use to develop problem-solving in our students. At this meeting, Solange bridges the divide and does both.

Solange led us in an exploration of two problems – first, the Dizzy Sailor Problem and then the Perimeter of 18 Problem. The former was to challenge and deepen our own problem-solving. The latter was to have a discussion about how some of the math from the dizzy sailor connects to the perimeter of 18, which we all agreed was a problem we could do with our students. Continue reading “What Do You Do with a Dizzy Sailor?”

Gerrymandering Math

Can math save us from dark depression?

Among the thoughts racing through our minds on election night was the realization that we had decided to have a CAMI meeting on the next day. What were we thinking? Solange and I spoke before the meeting. We briefly considered scrapping our plans to explore gerrymandering math and do something to get our minds off the election, but eventually decided that we should take the opportunity to talk with other teachers about this moment. Continue reading “Gerrymandering Math”

Dana’s Rectangle

Inspired by the work of the Navajo Math Circle, CAMI explores the area of rectangles and their borders, testing conjectures and making generalizations.

Eric started the meeting by talking about the Navajo Math Circles, which is a joint project of the Navajo Nation and mathematicians from Math Teachers Circle Network. A recent documentary tells the story. This meeting’s problem is from an article about the Navajo Math Circle (see Further Reading pdf link above) by Tatiana Shubin, whose video Grid Power was the subject of this past July’s CAMI meeting.

Continue reading “Dana’s Rectangle”

The Lawn Mower Problem

What happens when we let students write the questions?

Tyler opened the meeting by giving us a situation adapted from one he’d seen on Twitter posted by Fawn Nguyen. He then asked two questions: What do you notice? What do you wonder? Continue reading “The Lawn Mower Problem”

Grid Power

What mathematical questions can you ask of a blank piece of grid paper?

After CAMI was recently accepted as a member of the Math Teachers’ Circle Network, a few of us started exploring their resources, which include a series of videos of mathematicians leading teacher circles. Eric was inspired to share today’s problem after watching Tatiana Shubin’s Grid Power.

Eric started the meeting by asking participants to look at a blank piece of graph paper for 7 minutes and write down questions that came up. 7 minutes?! Yes, 7 minutes. Continue reading “Grid Power”

Making and Testing Conjectures: The Diagonal Problem

Draw a rectangle on grid paper and draw a diagonal. Is there a way to predict the number of squares the diagonal will pass through?

I have been thinking about MP3 from the Common Core, specifically about how to get students to make conjectures, to test those conjectures and to refine their conjectures when it turned out they were not always true. I was also thinking about student perseverance and helping them not get too frustrated. I’ve done some activities like Marilyn Burns’ consecutive sums problem (see additional resources below), but I want something that feels messier and a little more unwieldy. Continue reading “Making and Testing Conjectures: The Diagonal Problem”

Resources from NCTM 2016

So many games, puzzles and problems from the NCTM annual meeting…

In April, along with some other CAMI members, Jane and Solange went to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) annual meeting in San Francisco. In this meeting, they shared some of their favorite games, puzzles and problems from different workshops.

We started with the game Which Number is Closest? from Building Mathematical Thinking Through Number Games, by Linda Dacey and Jayne Bamford Lynch. We played a variation of the game where we each rolled a ten-sided die and then wrote down each number in the box of our choice. Continue reading “Resources from NCTM 2016”