In this circle we investigated something called the “falling sand pile”. But sand is boring, so instead we studied falling chickens! The primary rule of falling chickens is

When 4 chickens land in someone’s backyard, they “break out” and go to the neighbors’ yards instead.

Have you ever tried to list out all of the rational numbers? In this lesson we explored a nifty way of writing all rational numbers called the Calkin—Wilf tree. Continue reading A tree of fractions→

How can a calculator use the flow of electricity to add two numbers together? In this activity we explored the building blocks of electrical circuits, and the mathematical logic that lies behind it.

In this activity we explored periodic parametric curves. We particularly studied the patterns that arise when you change the periods of the $x(t)$ and $y(t)$ coordinates. To start playing around with parametric curves, you will need geogebra. Then you can use the following link to download our geogebra worksheet!

Bart and Lisa compete in a two-day spelling contest. On the first day, Lisa gets a higher percentage right than Bart. And on the second day, Lisa gets a higher percentage right than Bart. So why did Bart win?? Continue reading Bart vs Lisa vs Fractions→

What do you mean you can’t do that in your head?! In this session we had fun learning how to do a lot of handy calculations. Each trick has a simple algebra rule behind it. Check out our handout! Continue reading Mental math, version two→

It is often necessary to add more than two numbers together. For example, you might have made 137 deposits to your bank account this year, and wonder how much you contributed in total. But is it possible to add infinitely many numbers together? The answer is that sometimes it is possible, and sometimes it isn’t! In this discussion we investigated when, why, and how! Continue reading Adding together infinitely many numbers→

A circle has a center c and a radius r. The points on the circle are all a distance of exactly r units from c. What if we start with two fixed center points? The set of points on an ellipse have a fixed sum-distance to two center points c1 and c2 (called foci). An ellipse has kind of an oval shape. Ellipses occur in nature – the Earth’s orbit is not a perfect circle but rather an ellipse, with the Sun being just one of the two foci.

In this activity we investigated how to draw ellipses using pushpins and string. We also asked whether it is possible to have more than two fixed center points. Continue reading Ovals upon ovals!→

Suppose you are sending a crew of scientists to the moons of Mars: Phobos and Deimos. The scientists are botanists, geologists, and mathematicians, or any combination of the three. You want to divide the crew into to halves so that each moon gets an equal number of each scientists. When can this be done? Continue reading Mars moon mission→

The card game SET is well-known amongst game players. Each card has four characteristics, and each characteristic has three outcomes. Twelve cards are placed face up, and players try to find a set of three cards with each characteristic all the same or all different. It turns out there is a lot of math going on! For example, are twelve cards enough to guarantee you will be able to find a set? If not how many do you need? Continue reading The game SET→