This year, I'm going to be teaching one section of Intro to Programming. This will be my first time teaching any computer science, and it is definitely a bit outside my comfort zone. Fortunately, a colleague pointed me towards Carnegie Mellon's CS Academy curriculum. I appreciate that the course translates well to remote learning, and … Continue reading Playing with CS Academy

# I love the #MathArtChallenge

I absolutely love the #MathArtChallenge! Here are some reasons why: These challenges are incredibly accessible AND considerably complex. Annie has engaged a wide audience in recreational mathematical thinking. In a lot of ways, this is exactly what we try to accomplish with Play With Your Math. Annie's warm and encouraging attitude sets the perfect tone. … Continue reading I love the #MathArtChallenge

# Ceilings

Play With Your Math problems are designed to have low floors and high ceilings, but  designing a task which has a high ceiling can be really complicated. Take, for instance, 18. X-Factor: Of all the possible numbers I could have chosen for this problem, why did I choose 12? Here are three reasons. To make … Continue reading Ceilings

# 9. Four Fours

I meant to blog about this problem about 10 months ago, but better late than never. Highlight: We got student-supplied answers for 1-100. Lowlight: Those 100 answers did not come from 100 different students. In fact, one student was able to come up with about a third of them himself. We got some but not nearly … Continue reading 9. Four Fours

# 13. Thirteens

Source: NRICH Maths – Elevenses Why did we choose this problem? Good Play With Your Math problems: involve some sort of “play” before choosing a specific strategy. have a low floor (accessibility and entry point) have a high ceiling (need for more complex mathematics) have a succinct, accessible, intuitive wording and visualization This problem meets … Continue reading 13. Thirteens

# 12. Space Race

On Friday, we shared Play 12. Space Race with our students. Here is a sketch of how this problem developed. 1. Find a fun problem. We met Ben over the summer at a BU discussion workshop, showed him some of our Play problems, and talked about our approach to the project. Later, Ben sent us a problem that … Continue reading 12. Space Race

# 5. Maximaze

Source: Math Arguments 180 – Day 24: Arithmetic Challenge We tried this problem a few times and thoroughly enjoyed it. We created our own maze, took the operation-number pairs from the original version (Copyright(c) 2003 Ryosuke Ito), added a few extra pairs to fit our larger maze, randomized the operation-number pairs, and started brainstorming strategies. … Continue reading 5. Maximaze

# 2. Pentagram

Highlight 1: 25 Solutions 21 students, 3 math teachers, and 1 assistant principal submitted successful solutions. Highlight 2: I was one of them. I first saw this problem in grad school, and after trying it for a while, I got rather frustrated. My classmates were trying it too, and I wasn't entirely convinced that the … Continue reading 2. Pentagram

# 1. Split 25

The problem that started it all! This problem was a huge hit with our students, and we actually got enough submissions to sort through them, determine the winners, and post their solutions for all to marvel at. Important note: I suggest that you stop here and try the problem if you haven't already. The solutions below could … Continue reading 1. Split 25

# 0. Origin Story

Step 1: New Year, New Culture Entering my second year of teaching, I had no idea what our department culture would be like. We lost several seasoned veteran teachers and replaced them with teachers who were somehow even younger than me. I had discovered math-ed blogs over the summer, and throughout the fall, our conversations … Continue reading 0. Origin Story