My plan for the 2017 Grades 2-3 Family Math night

I’ve been running the “Family Math” nights at my younger son’s elementary school for the last two years.

For the grade 2 and 3 kids last year we had a really fun program. The details are here:

2016 Family Math night for grades 2 and 3

The main program was:

(i) Doing some mathematical coloring,
(ii) Exploring the fold and cut theorem, and
(iii) Larry Guth’s “No Rectangles” program

The kids love the “no rectangles” problem so much that I basically couldn’t get them out the door after the hour was up!

The event will be similar this year – a 30 min introduction with fun little math activities spread throughout the room followed by a 60 min session with 3 longer activities. The activities for the main session this year will be:

(1) Playing with “Over / Under” by Gamewright (10 min)


I learned about this game over the year-end break. We did a short project with it last week, and I think some of the questions will make for a really fun ice breaker in a room full of kids and parents. Here’s theΒ  project we did with the game last week:

A review of “Over / Under” by Gamewright

(2) “Fold, Punch and Cut for Symmetry” by Joel David Hamkins (20 min)

Last year while planning for the Family Math nights I found this fun activity:

Joel David Hamkins turned the picture into an incredible activity for kids and I’ve been waiting to use it ever since πŸ™‚

Math for Nine year olds by Joel David Hamkins

I’ve printed out the full activity for the kids to play with. We won’t be able to go all the way through it in 20 min, but I hope the kids (and parents!) will enjoy completing the activity together when they go home.

(3) Jim Propp’s 2xN rectangle exercise (20 min)

Last March Jim Propp suggested that I try out a neat counting exercise with my kids.Β  His suggestion came after seeing our project on the Aztec Diamond:

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 7.07.20 PM

I’ll use the Aztec Diamond to motivate the project which is counting the number of ways you can create a 2xN rectangle with 2×1 dominoes. My hope is that the enthusiasm from the “no rectangles” problem from last year will carry over to the “lots of rectangles” problem this year! I also hope the kids and parents will enjoy the surprising appearance of the Fibonacci numbers. Here’s what it looked like when I went through the project with the boys last Spring:

A fun counting exercise for kids suggested by Jim Propp

The event with the 2nd graders is next Tuesday. Can’t wait to see how this all goes πŸ™‚