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:
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 the project we did with the game last week:
(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 🙂
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. His suggestion came after seeing our project on the Aztec Diamond:
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:
The event with the 2nd graders is next Tuesday. Can’t wait to see how this all goes 🙂