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Making sense of math

Math makes sense. Not only to mathematicians, it turns out. Math just makes sense. It’s internally coherent, and shows you so when probed. All the rules in math that seem like “just because”–you can think of them probably pretty quickly, like don’t ever divide by zero, or a number raised to the zeroth power equals one, or to divide fractions …

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Processed Math: Don’t Eat This

Now more viscous!

There has been considerable backlash against processed food products in the last few years, and for good reason. A slew of health problems implicate what we eat, and processed food products are more product than they are food. As industry spread through the last century and we began to see its uses multiply, the convenience made possible by industrially processing …

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Math education in two themes

There are two major thrusts to math education. One is to teach skills–how to combine numbers, for example, and the definitions and rules of things in the mathematical universe. The other is teaching how to think (as it pertains to the mathematical universe, though some would argue this qualification is unnecessary: how to think in math is, in general, helpful …

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Math For Love meets Washington STEM

We are happy to announce that we’ve received an investment from Washington STEM to expand our work with teachers in Seattle area schools this coming year! We’ll be running math circles for teachers from schools that serve underserved and underrepresented kids, working to spread the love far and wide. We are still in the early stages of arranging the project, …

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When Girls Leave Math and What To Do About It

The conversation around gender and mathematics is often driven by poignant anecdote or by statistics. We have either the individual story of heartache or we have a set of disheartening numbers, and in either case, I feel frustrated. But every now and then a study comes out that gives more specific data, data which gives one a sense of honing …

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Sierpinskitaschen

What is it? Delicious. Our friend and food blogger Debs Gardner made us a hamantaschen in the shape of Sierpinski’s triangle. Now in addition to being generated by recursive subtraction, chaotic games, and L-systems (seriously, if you haven’t yet seen Dan’s talk on this, watch it because it’s good), Sierpinski’s triangle has been made by sticky prune filling and delicate …

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Asking Questions

Dan and I have been co-teaching a couple classes at the Robinson Center this quarter: Zeno: Fractions within fractions for 4th and 5th graders, and Turtles All The Way Down for 8th through 12th graders. One of the areas of emphasis in our teaching is the art of asking questions. Without good questions, it is very hard to have good …

Symmetry and Pattern Blocks

I had a great session the other day with two wonderful kids, age 5 and 7. After warming up with a quick game of Hex, we jumped into our activity for the hour: playing with pattern blocks. Pattern blocks have been loved on here at the Math for Love blog before, and no doubt on countless other blogs about math. …