Session Style: Manipulatives

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Investigating the Surface Area of Prisms

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Developed as part of the Math Circles of Inquiry project, this module enables students to build understanding about surface area. Students will complete three tasks dealing with surface area and volume of rectangular and triangular prisms, including a real world investigation, presented in Three Acts. The tasks will go from the concrete to the abstract as students gain understanding of what it really means to calculate surface area and volume. The module includes a refresher on area and perimeter.

Supreme Court Handshakes

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Developed as part of the Math Circles of Inquiry project, this session is a good introduction to the 8th grade or Algebra Math curriculum using inquiry based instruction. Students are asked to use their problem solving skills in order to determine the relationship between the number of Supreme Court justices and handshakes that occur when each pair shakes hands exactly once. Students will begin exploring with simpler numbers and work up to creating an algebraic expression to represent the function. This lesson allows for multiple representations by using a table, list, circle diagram, matrix and manipulatives.

One-Player Games

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Here is a collection of seven one player games, and one two player game. Your goal in each game is to find the winning strategy. As the rules change, can you still win? Various mathematical strategies can be employed, including working backwards, problem posing, invariants, and parity. Each game can be explored alone or in sets, providing material for several circle sessions or the classroom.

Tic-Tac-Toe 2.0: New Takes on an Old Classic

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The game of Tic-Tac-Toe has roots going back centuries. Grid-style game boards have been found in Ancient Egypt, during the Roman Empire, and in our current age on restaurant placemats. Multiple avenues of exploration are possible with this simple children’s game. A related game called “Gobblet Gobblers” takes Tic-Tac-Toe to a whole new level!

Frogs and Toads

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Frogs can only move right, or down, and toads can only move left, or up. Can you exchange all the frogs and toads? Can you create a formula for the fewest number of moves? This deceptively simple puzzle starts with a row of frogs and toads, then advances to a grid. The game can be played with manipulatives, online, or even with people to provide an engaging, solitary or cooperative activity for all ages.

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