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Raymond Smullyan

The logician and puzzle-maker Raymond Smullyan died yesterday at the age of 97. After reports circulating on twitter, the news was confirmed, and articles in memorium have begun to appear. Smullyan was a brilliant designer of puzzles, and his books, especially The Riddle of Scheherezade, had a big impact on me. His idea of coercive logic, in particular, impressed me …

January Newsletter

Reposting our last email newsletter to the blog. If you’d like to sign up on our email list, click here. January News from Math for Love Loss: A farewell to Sid the goat Birth: Tiny Polka Dot Arrives Julia Robinson Math Festival registration is open Math for Love Winter Class registration is open Problem of the Moment Loss: A farewell …

A Math Magic Trick

I’ve been meaning to write this lesson up for a long time. Finally, here it is, in all its glory. You can check it out below, or find it here on the lessons page. This trick is an extraordinary introduction to the power of algebraic thinking, and a reminder of what makes algebra so awe-inspiring. When I was in middle …

Warm Ups: Number Talks and More

In my last blog post, I wrote about creating Doing-Math and Thinking-Math classrooms. One small but important ingredient I’ve found helpful for both is a good warmup activity. The goal of the warmup activity is to get students thinking and active right away. The barrier to entry should be extremely low, so that everyone can able to participate. It’s a …

The Doing/Thinking/Loving Math Classroom

This summer, we had the opportunity to draw up and institute a wholesale program from scratch, using our own lesson plans and providing the PD and support. Following that program, we began some fascinating conversations about how to articulate our vision of excellent math classrooms in more detail. From 30,000 feet, the direction we want everyone to move feels clear: …

App Review: Exploring the Core

I just downloaded a new app that I think will be helpful reference! It’s called Exploring the Core. (At last check, it was $2.99.) It is, essentially, an easy-to-use encyclopedia of Common Core math content standards. It includes a list of the standards, by grade, and a glossary to help you understand what all the terms mean. So, handy, though …

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Breaking and Remaking Lesson Plans

I just had an interesting lab session with a school district we’re working with this year. The teachers (K-2) want to extend the scope and dynamics of their lesson plans, and make sure they challenge their students. But the teachers also don’t have much free time, are, in many cases, new to the curriculum, and also feel that they need …

Thoughts on story problems

Story problems! They are the great bugaboo of math class, the problems everyone remembers hating, On the other hand, when educators think of “real-world” math, useful math, or motivated math, story problems are where they want to go. And this instinct makes sense. Story problems should be a fantastic resource in the classroom—a chance for reading comprehension, making sense of …

In Praise of the Open Middle with Pyramid Puzzles

Sometimes you hear the perfect word to describe something you were already doing, but didn’t quite realize you were doing. My most favorite recent case of this came from openmiddle.com. We’ve all heard of open-ended problems, the genuine, intriguing problems that can take us on journeys to unexpected answers. A lesson based around an open-ended problem can be a beautiful …

Pazuju – the great new puzzle you never heard of

I remember years ago reading about Sudoku. Already popular in Japan, the reviewer predicted that it would be featured in newspapers as regularly as crossword puzzles. Since then it indeed had, as predicted, a meteoric rise. Math educators tend to be fans of Sudoku and similar puzzles (especially KenKen). Logic puzzles motivate the same sorts of thinking we use when …