Can you remember what made you first love math? My guess is it was not the quadratic formula. If you are anything like me it was patterns, puzzles, cool number tricks, and not math class that got you interested in mathematics. I saw a book titled “Math Recess” by Sunil Singh and Christopher Brownell. I haven’t read it (on my list) but just the title got me thinking of some of the things I found fun about math early on. As you start to think about prepping for fall (ZZZZZ) get back in touch with what you loved first or best. I challenge you to have a little fun with math this summer. Remember why you love it. Get in touch with that spark again.
I’d love to see some comments on the math topics that first and still interest you. What’s your Math Recess?
Here 10 of my favorite math recess topics:
Baseball is a big part of my life, so anything baseball stats is good. When I was young I devoured the backs of baseball cards, I could recite them like my ABC’s. Here’s a recent look at how the whole “Homerun Derby Curse” is a myth.
I remember being very young looking at my dad’s Life Science Library title on Mathematics and seeing Zeno’s Paradox the first time. It was always a favorite.
The math of juggling.
Hello, my name is Kelly and I’m a Harry Potter addict. Love this article on the genetics of Harry Potter!
I definitely remember working on that puzzle where you use 4 fours and try to make the natural numbers using them. This video shows how the entire set of natural numbers (yes out infinitely) can be created using just 4 fours. AMAZING!
I have always loved Ben Franklin, his work on magic squares is definitely something I go back to. This site has great Franklin info.
Of course Pascal’s Triangle is the gift that keeps on giving.
I’m a beekeeper so the Fibonacci sequence and its actual connection to the family trees of bees, pure gold (honey that is).
I learned the old binary numbers magic trick as a youngster. I still use it on my math for liberal arts students each term.
I’ll just let you Google this last one, I’m sure there is plenty on You Tube. How many times did I watch “The Human Calculator” infomercial and practice those tricks. Turn on the Human Calculator within? Yes, please!
So go read your back issues of Journal Recreational Mathematics (they still show up on Ebay now and then) or try the series they morphed into: Topics in Recreational Mathematics (available on Amazon). There is also the “Best Writing on Mathematics” annual (again on Amazon).
Feel free to comment on some of your go to “recess” faves.