If you start with some beans on a seesaw and you’re given certain additional beans to place on the seesaw, can you do it so the seesaw balances?
In this activity, students start by trying to solve various challenges involving different arrangements of beans on the seesaw and then design their own challenges. Next, they try to predict which arrangements will make the seesaw balance and which ones won’t (and why!).
Developed as part of the Math Circles of Inquiry project, the goal of this module is to help students in Algebra II become fluent in the various forms of a parabola equation based on the information that they are given. Students sometimes fail to understand that there are multiple ways to find an equation of a parabola. This module incorporates multiple activities both in the learning packet and using Desmos activities online to encourage students to discover and practice writing equations of parabolas in their various forms. At the end of this activity students will work more efficiently with equations...
Developed as part of the Math Circles of Inquiry project, this session is aimed at grades 7 or 8, but may be useful for high school algebra. It consists of worksheets and series of videos meant to get students to develop an understanding of solving linear equations, using the real world example of distributing M&Ms into jars.
From recognizing a pattern to generating terms, to abstracting and making inferences, tasks based on patterns embody the “low-threshold, high-ceiling” trait of good problems. Liar’s Bingo is all about patterns. This session involves recognizing patterns and searching for underlying structure, number theory, numeration, and potentially binary arithmetic. Sometimes, as in the game of Liar’s Bingo, order seems to arise magically from something we first assume to be random or chaotic. In this case, we use the game of Liar’s Bingo to engage participants’ desire to find patterns, and supercharge that desire by demonstrating a magic trick that captivates attention by...
A classic Math Circle problem! At a large high school, there are 10000 lockers. The lockers are numbered, in order, 1, 2, 3, . . . , 10000, and to start, each locker is closed. There are also 10000 students, also numbered 1, 2, 3, . . . , 10000. The students walk the length of the corridor, opening and closing lockers according to a set of rules. How many lockers remain open? Which lockers? What if the rules were slightly different? Can you manipulate the rules to obtain specific outcomes? This collection of nine locker problems is suitable for...
Squares and numbers, numbers and squares. There is something very satisfying about arranging numbers in a square formation, following specific rules, whether it is a Magic Square, Latin Square or Sudoku. This is probably why Sudoku puzzles are so popular. This session touches on some of the deep mathematics behind these special squares.
In this session, participants will explore the Match-No Match game: two players each draw one chip out of a bag – if the color of the chips match Player 1 wins, if not Player 2 wins. Under what conditions is this a fair game? How do we know? How can we construct a fair game? What variations of this game are possible? Participants will explore these questions to determine how this game connects to other mathematical problems.
There are many card tricks based on simple mathematics as opposed to sleight of hand. In this session, participants will play with a number of such tricks, test them out and work on discovering the math underneath, with a goal to formalize the mathematics that makes the trick work.
This session includes 15 games using manipulatives or paper and pencil. The goal is to decide which one of the two players has a winning strategy. To solve a game means to find a winning, or a non-losing, strategy for one of the players. An answer must include a detailed description of such strategy, and you have to explain what the winning player should do so that this player wins regardless of his opponent’s moves.
These games may be presented as a single circle session, or individually in a circle or classroom.