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Optimal Locations of Firehouses (Taxi-cab Metric)


This session asks participants to expand their notion of “distance,” using a nontraditional taxicab metric instead of the usual Pythagorean notion. Participants are guided to construct the equivalent of “circles” with this new metric and to look at the intersections of multiple such circles. In particular, two firehouses in Gridtown are a certain distance apart and at specific addresses. What firehouse should serve a given house with a specified address? What areas of town should each firehouse serve? What if there were three firehouses? The focus of the session is on a deeper understanding of the coordinate system and notions...

Pick’s Theorem


Austrian mathematician Georg Pick first stated this theorem in 1899. However it wasn’t brought to broad attention until 1969. In this exploration, participants will use rates of change to aid them in discovering Pick’s famous formula by finding a relationship between the area of the figure, the number of perimeter pegs, and the number of interior pegs.

This session is also suitable for student circles or the classroom.

Hercules and the Hydra


After a late night reading about classical mythology (or watching “Clash of the Titans” yet again), you drift off to sleep and dream that you are face-to-face with a many-headed monster that is clearly not happy to see you, either. “Ahah,” you think, “I must be Hercules and that . . . thing must be the Hydra!” Following the Hydra’s rules, can you kill it?

This session is also suitable for student circles.

I Walk the Line


Your regular commute begins at your house and ends at your office at the corner of 5th street and 6th avenue. You have been making this trip for years, but you are the restless (or adventurous) type, and you try to take a different route each day. At some point, you start to wonder how long it will take you to try all of the routes.

Oh, did I mention that you have to avoid the zombies?