A fun discussion about prime numbers with kids inspired by an Evelyn Lamb joke!

Yesterday I saw this tweet from Evelyn Lamb: It inspired me to do a project on prime numbers with the boys. So, I grabbed my copy of Martin Weissman’s An Illustrated Theory of Numbers and looked for a few ideas: We began by talking about why there are an infinite number of primes: Next we … Continue reading A fun discussion about prime numbers with kids inspired by an Evelyn Lamb joke!

Using Evelyn Lamb’s tiling pentagons to talk about lines and shapes with kids

Evelyn Lamb’s latest article about tiling pentagons is incredible: Math Under My Feet We used it for a fun project this morning with some 3d printed pentagons. That project is here: Talking about Evelyn Lamb’s tiling pentagons with kids Tonight I wanted to show the boys how I made those pentagons. Not the 3d printing … Continue reading Using Evelyn Lamb’s tiling pentagons to talk about lines and shapes with kids

Learning about tiling pentagons from Laura Taalman and Evelyn Lamb

Last week we did made cookies using Laura Taalman’s tiling pentagon cookie cutters: You can find Taalman’s program here: and our project is here: Tiling pentagon cookies During the project my younger son found a different tiling pattern for pentagon #10 than the one in Taalman’s program. I suspected that the tiling pattern actually related … Continue reading Learning about tiling pentagons from Laura Taalman and Evelyn Lamb

Using Evelyn Lamb’s Infinite Earring article wth kids

Saw this tweet from the American Mathematical Society yesterday: It was such a neat article and I wanted to try to share some of the ideas with my kids today. They are heading into 4th and 6th grade and *obviously* are not experts in topology – ha! It was super fun to hear their ideas … Continue reading Using Evelyn Lamb’s Infinite Earring article wth kids

Celebrating Pi day with Evelyn Lamb’s idea

Last week Evelyn Lamb wrote a nice piece about and continued fractions. Since we’ve talked a little bit about continued fractions in the past, this seemed like a great way to celebrate day. We started with a quick reminder about continued fractions:   After the quick introduction, we used my high school teacher’s fun continued … Continue reading Celebrating Pi day with Evelyn Lamb’s idea

Evelyn Lamb’s fun Torus tweet

A neat post on twitter today by Evelyn Lamb got me thinking about simple topology:

One of the people replying to her post pointed out the amazingly neat video here:

http://aperiodical.com/2012/05/torus/

These posts  got me thinking about the fun square diagrams you can make for a torus, the Klein bottle, and the projective plane.  I decided to play around with some of those ideas with my kids tonight and it turned out to be super fun.  It is so great to have the  chance to introduce them to math that isn’t usually part of the pre-college curriculum.  Here’s what we did:

Since we were reminded of Vi Hart’s amazing “Wind and Mr. Ug” video in the middle of our video, here a quick link to it:

This video was actually the first Vi Hart video that I ever saw.  It is one of the most amazing pieces of math for the masses that I’ve ever seen.  Actually, I thought she deserved a MacArthur “Genius” grant after seeing it.  Even today it is mesmerizing.

There are also a couple of other fun videos on youtube that give a little insight into the Klein bottle and projective plane.  Riding a bike around a Klein bottle –


and neat visualization of the projective plane:

Though this wasn’t the field of math that I studied, I’ve always found it to be amazing.  It has a particularly fond memories for me because of one of my former students, Ali Gilmore.  She came to the University of Minnesota when she was in high school for a special math program.  She wasn’t all that interested in the multi-variable calculus we were studying so I gave her a copy of Massey’s Algebraic Topology to read.  She was hooked, and many years later is a post Doc at UCLA focusing on low dimensional topology and knot theory.

Talking through the the multiplication and division process in Count like and Egyptian with my younger son

For today’s project I tried a little challenge – I had my younger son read the first chapter in the wonderful book Count like and Egyptian and then we talked about what he learned. Here’s the book and and link to Evelyn Lamb’s review of it: Evelyn Lamb’s review of Count like an Egyptian The … Continue reading Talking through the the multiplication and division process in Count like and Egyptian with my younger son