Using Ann-Marie Ison’s incredible math art with kids

I have to start this post with an apology for *totally* butchering Ann-Marie Ison’s name at the start of the first video. I’d let my son move in front of me to see the pictures, and . . . . oh gracious. So sorry.

Despite that horrible start, this was a really fun project. I saw these three pictures on twitter today via a Dan Anderson retweet:

The first thing I did with the boys for this project was just look at the pictures and talk a little bit about what they thought was going on. [sorry again for getting the name so terribly wrong]


Next we made our own version. It took a while for the boys to suggest something that we could actually draw (!) but this was really fun. We got to talk about modular arithmetic, primes, and even a bit of geometry.


So, a super fun project. I’m so glad to have seen this pictures on twitter today!!

Some basics about lines

My older son is doing a little Algebra review and he told me that he was having trouble understanding “standard form” for lines.

Since he’s doing this review mostly on his own, I have to confess that I did not remember what the “standard form” for lines even was! We talked through some basics about lines and some different ways to represent the equation of a line for our project tonight:

Here are some of the basics about lines:


and here’s our conversation about some of the different ways to write the equation of a line:


I enjoyed talking about these ideas with him and definitely learned why different ways to write equations of lines could be confusing. In part, it is hard to understand that x and y are variables and the other letters in the equations are constants. Another source of confusion, I think, is probably similar to the confusion about why 0.999999 repeating and 1 are the “same” number. How can these two representations which seem totally different mean the same thing?