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Three Square Problem and Variations

I just saw an absolutely charming problem on Numberphile that I was shocked never to have seen before. They call it the Three Square Problem (featuring Professor Zvezdelina Stankova).  Three Square Problem Prove that It feels, as Prof. S says in the video, like a beautiful conjecture. I highly recommend trying to come up with a proof. There are many (54!), and …

3

what’s awesome about algebra

As students are enrolling in pre-algebra and algebra in droves, I thought I would post this video, which is part 1 of a magic trick illustrating the mind-boggling power of algebra. It is very common to learn how to do algebra without learning why to do it. To me, this magic trick gives a sense of how useful and powerful …

Fall Registration Open

If you are in Seattle or Bellevue, we have a host of great classes and circles to offer this fall, all focusing on the beauty, power, and elegance of mathematics. Saturday Classes at the PNA in Phinney Ridge This Saturday session runs for six sessions, from October 18 – November 22. This session’s topic: Games, Logic and Arithmetic. Kindergarten & 1st grade Section …

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From 21 to 500: Game & Math Salon

Here’s a fun, very simple classroom game you can play for multiplication. You may know the game 21, aka blackjack. In classrooms, I like to play with a deck that only includes numbers from 1 to 10. Twenty-one. Each player gets two cards (face up). They can “hit” to take another card, or “stay” to stick with what they have. Whoever …

1

Revisiting Internal Motivation

There is a tension between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in teaching mathematics. Our answer to the classic student questions Why do I need to learn this? is a good measure of where we look for motivation. You can appeal to the extrinsic, or instrumental, rewards: you need math to succeed in get a good grade, to succeed in middle school, …

Playing with Math and more

Early summer is a great time of year in Seattle and Eastern WA, where we’re splitting our time right now. We’ve been pouring energy into a few projects: launching our new game, Prime Climb; supporting Seattle Summer School with curriculum and professional development support; piloting a Math for Love summer camp, which just wrapped up after an excellent week; and …

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Primo – the beautiful, colorful, mathematical board game

Primo A Totally Unique Mathematical Board Game from Math for Love More than a year ago we had an idea to build a game around what felt like one of the unsung ideas in math: prime numbers make multiplication easy. (Why does no one learn this in school?) We realized that with the right color-coding, it would be possible to …

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Horseshoes (and Hand Grenades)

We’ve recently invented a game that surely already exists in some form already. But it’s been super fun to play, and we’ve been using it with kids and teachers at all grades. It’s kind of magic. We don’t have a scoring system for the game, and I don’t think it needs it in many cases, but if you have ideas …

Found note: “List of Counterexamples”

I found this note when I was cleaning out some old papers. It’s like finding a strange little gift from the us of the past. List of Counterexamples Communism Hitler Klein 4 group Petersen graph Plasma Hawaii Neutrinos Tacoma Narrows bridge Rwanda The 1% Duck-billed platypus Seahorses

Announcements

Note: The Math for Love newsletter does not usually get posted on the blog. If you’d like to sign up, enter your name and email in the sidebar. Here are the announcements from our last one. A Coin Problem I’ve posted one of my favorite problems of all time as this week’s NYTimes Numberplay puzzle. Consider this simple game: flip …