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 …

## 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 …

## 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 …

## A dollar that costs a dollar

I had one of those awesome experiences this week where a student thinks of a better question. I had been playing around with this issue of what money costs to make. (Get the lesson here.) Not a pretty picture, by the way. Rounding only a little for simplicity and age appropriateness, we had this chart of costs: Penny: 2.5 cents …

## Who is the most famous?

One fun thing math lets us do is measure difficult-to-measure things. Like fame. We all have an instinct for what fame is, and the more we put it into words, the more we’ll find we can translate fully into math. So what let’s us know if someone is famous? Well, famous people are well known. We tend to know them, …

## A Math Menu for Fraction Division

I’m not sure who came up with the idea of “Menus” as a math teaching device, though I first saw them at a workshop from the folks at MEC. Menus are essentially modified stations, designed to be a several-day structure that puts kids at the center of their own learning process. After a brief launch from the teacher, the students …

## 1-2 Nim Write Up

I’ve been taking some time to write up some lessons, and I’d love to get some feedback. You can click here for a pdf of this lesson on 1-2 Nim. It’s one of our favorites: a surefire way to get students of any age playing and thinking. The question is: how’s the write up? We’ve been shooting for 1-2 pages maximum, so …