Plinko is a fun carnival game of chance. This Plinko board is really just a portion of Pascal’s triangle. Stetson.edu informs us that 120 is the smallest number to appear six times in that triangle. Why did those six times happen?
120 = 10!/3!/7! That’s why it appears twice in the 10th row of the Plinko board below.
120 = 16!/2!/14! Which is why it appears twice in the 16th row as well.
120 will appear two more times in its 120th row.
Now step right up and learn some other incredible facts like
120 = 5! because 1·2·3·4·5 = 120
120 is also the smallest positive multiple of 6 that is neither preceded nor followed by a prime number!
What kind of shape is 120 in?
120 is the 15th triangular number because 15(16)/2 = 120,
it’s the 8th tetrahedral number because (8)(9)(10)/6 = 120 (That means 120 is the sum of the first eight triangular numbers), and
it is the 8th hexagonal number because (8)(2·8-1) = 120.
Math Journals and Creative Writing
Every Playful Math Carnival contains blog links about ways to play with math and insights into teaching math. Blogging about math helps clarify thoughts, document experiences, and share the joy math brings us. It is a lot like keeping a math journal. Denise Gaskins wrote a post about the benefits of math journalling and included some prompts to help students get writing. Whether writing about joys or frustrations, math journalling has its benefits.
Abhishek Pathania wrote a clever limerick titled Maths that uses mathematical terms such as chance, calculated guess, multiply and divide. I enjoyed the limerick and I bet your students will, too. Another blogger, Roland, shared Maths Limerick, which is quite a bit of fun, too.
I hesitate a little to share this next one. However, older students may enjoy reading a little satire from the Onion that was shared this month on the Bluebird of Bitterness, Young girls creeped out by older scientists constantly trying to lure them into STEM. It certainly could give you something to talk about.
The next stop at our carnival is a house of horrors that is simply terrifying to some people. It is known as . . . . .
In Life Cameo’s post Learning, a young girl goes from liking math to feeling significantly less confident and quietly suffering from math anxiety. Thankfully her teacher intervened and she is now just starting to understand it again.
Alyssa lets you take a peek into the world of one who suffers from math anxiety in her post What Does Math Anxiety Look Like?
A young man named Dave blogged about his lifelong struggles with math in Dealing with Learning Disabilities in Math. Although he occasionally used a strong word to voice his frustrations, his is an important point of view that ought to be shared. This school year I am working with students who need specialized help with mathematics so this post gave me some food for thought.
Preventing and Treating Math Anxiety
So as you can see Math Anxiety is a real concern. What can you do about it? Josh Rappaport of Math Chat advises How to talk about math without scaring children off.
And of course, Denise Gaskins’ Let’s Play Math Blog is filled with ways to PLAY with math. Play can relieve a lot of anxiety. Recently Denise posted a quote by Rózsa Péter about math being worthy of our time and how Rózsa’s class of twelve-year-old girls begged her to let them explore the Euclidean algorithm. These girls felt no fear; it was a joyful experience for them the entire time.
Which method is better for children to learn math, discovery or traditional? The Intrepid Mathematician suggests a combination of the two and how to implement that teaching in A third path for early math education.
Mathematical Art on Exhibit
The average preschooler/kindergartner only gets 58 seconds of math instruction a day. Those who get Paula Krieg to teach them for one fascinating hour a week are really fortunate! You can see what I mean by reading her post, Little Hands, Little Books, Folds, & Math.
Number Loving Beagle shares a raw, personal story of years of yearning for artistic talent in Math is Beautiful (and other lies). Math really can make beautiful, frameable art as demonstrated in that post, but too often math has become nothing more than misery-inducing, anxiety producing, seemingly worthless calculations. Which math will you choose for yourself and your children?
Su Leslie created a beautiful piece of fractal art in Pretty Maths. Su’s work could inspire others to see the beauty in mathematics.
Rachel Shey shares some more mathematical art and thoughts in the post Math and Art. I also liked her thoughts about two fields intersecting.
One great way to make mathematical art is to use mirrors as demonstrated in these photos by Annie Fetter when she went to Math on a Stick.
Robert Loves Pi once again has created some beautiful, rotating 3-dimensional mathematical art for us all to enjoy.
The Math Museum featuring Calculators, Castles, and Puzzles
Simona Prilogan of Let’s Math regularly posts a number puzzle on her blog, Let’s Math. Some of the puzzles may be easier to solve than others, but I’m sure students will be able to figure these two out. Boats Tuesday Maths Puzzle and Sunshine Thursday Maths Puzzle. That second one actually contains a few carnival pictures!
I visited a type of museum inside Romania’s Corvin Castle in Hunedoara this summer. Although I didn’t know when I visited, Hunedoara is Simona Prilogan’s hometown! I was delighted to find a post she published about the castle in her poetry blog less than a month before I wrote a post with some mathematical pictures from inside the castle. I am amazed at how small the world of mathematics can be!
Life Through a Mathematicians Eyes also grew up in Romania and offers a guided tour of Calculators That Made History. When I took the tour I was amazed at how old some of those calculators are. I’m sure you will enjoy the tour very much!
Colleen Young has several different mathematical examples in her post Here’s the diagram. What’s the question? What better way could there be to learn any of those topics frontward and backward than make it feel like solving a puzzle?
I took a photo at a Hungarian museum village and turned it into a mathematical puzzle/lesson for young ones by asking a couple of simple questions. How Are They the Same? How are They Different?
BloggingIsAResponsibility wrote a post titled Is Math Meaningless, and Is That an Insult? If you’re introducing syllogisms in your geometry class, you might want to try some of these effective but meaningless arguments!
Life Through a Mathematician Eyes offers thoughts and study videos on more advanced Logic Problems beginning with Studying Logic – Day 1.
Science Book A Day reviewed mathematician Eugenia Cheng’s book, The Art of Logic: How to Make Sense in a World That Doesn’t.
Math Literature and Books
Musings of a Mathematical Mom blogged about a mathematical adventure her children enjoyed. They counted and divided using Christopher Danielson’s book How Many. Her children even drew pictures afterward that would allow them to count and think about even more fractions. Who could ask for anything more?
Life Through a Mathematicians Eyes reviews three books that teens and teachers can most certainly enjoy in New Book Discoveries. The books reviewed are Weird Maths: At the Edge of Infinity and Beyond by David Darling and Agnijo Banerjee, Your Daily Maths: 366 Number Puzzles and Problems to Keep you Sharp by Laura Laing, and 50 Maths Ideas You Really Need to Know By Tony Crilly.
Susan mentioned Ramanujan and the book The Man Who Knew Infinity when she wrote a blog post she called The Story of the Locked Box and the Key of Dreams. Her title sounds like a mathematical fairy tale, but it is not a storybook at all. It gives a vivid description of her lucid mathematical dreams, her struggles with dyscalculia, and her triumphs in learning math. Ramanujan also had wonderful mathematical dreams, so she is in good company.
Crafts, Fashion, Souvenir booths
At this next carnival booth, you can buy a variety of clothing items. Should you buy any of them? Fashion Math-Thinking about the Cost Per Wear shares a formula created to help you make that decision.
TerifiCreations by Teri Lewis asks, “Has anyone ever written an article encouraging quilters to do math?” If any quilters out there struggle with the math, she will gladly help out.
Mathemagic or Carni Game?
How to get super-rich; millionaire math suggests 13 different ways to get to a million and would be a fun way to increase number sense for students who already know how to multiply.
Sometimes students come up with ridiculous answers to word problems. DC Gilbert shares a disastrous story and concludes, “Mathematics! It is Really That Important!”
Using statistics to tell lies: Open Mind gives an example in USA Temperatures: Can I Sucker You?
Winning Mathematical Game Skills
The son of one of Math Mammoth’s customers created a flash program that helps second-grade students practice simple addition and subtraction facts. Skills require practice so check it out!
Resourceaholic offers some fun beginning-of-the-school-year activities for year 7 students.
Dealing with histograms might seem as treacherous as getting through an obstacle on American Ninja Warrior, but Math Only Math gives step by step histogram instructions to help middle and high school students navigate through those different-height rectangles in record time.
If you’re teaching the Fundamental Counting Principle, I’m sure you can find a way to use Wrong Hands’ clever/funny comic Lesser super-hero movie title generator.
Chris McMullen can answer your students’ question, Which Calculus Skills are most essential, practical?
How do you prove that e is an irrational number? Mjlawler tackles that problem in Walking through the proof that e is irrational with a kid.
The Carnival of the Future
Joseph Nebus, who will host the carnival in September at his blog, NebusResearch mentioned some comics that could lessen geometry anxiety in Reading the Comics, Ragged Ends Edition.
Joseph also writes a humor blog that sometimes has gems like the Venn Diagram he made for his post Statistics Saturday: Trivia Night Questions, by Kind.
I can tell that Joseph is pretty pumped about writing the carnival next month. Read The Mathematics Carnival is coming! and enjoy his enthusiasm.
You can also enjoy the August 2018 edition of the Carnival of Mathematics.
Finally, no matter where or how you teach mathematics, remember these words Jennie penned in An Open Letter to Teachers, “You have to share your love and passions. That’s your joy. In that way, you are sharing you. And, all that children want to know is that you love them and love what you are teaching. If they know that, the floodgates will open to learning.”
The future of mathematics education is in YOUR hands. Have fun!