Funville Adventures and Math Renaissance: Newsletter May 23

Support Funville and Math Renaissance

Two New Books

Exciting news! Natural Math is almost ready to publish two new books – with your help! Funville is a math-rich adventure for children, and Math Renaissance is a support resource for teachers, parents, and math circle leaders. The authors are running their crowdfunding campaigns on Kickstarter. Please go there to see awesome videos, illustrations, sample chapters – and to check out prizes available with pre-orders, from your name in the book to group packages.

Funville Adventures is a math-inspired fantasy adventure by Sasha Fradkin and Allison Bishop, where functions come to life as magical beings.  After 9-year old Emmy and her 5-year old brother Leo go down an abandoned dilapidated slide, they are magically transported into Funville: a land inhabited by ordinary looking beings, each with a unique power to transform objects.

The siblings discover that Funville is full of surprises; one never knows when something will be shrunk, flipped upside down, turned into an elephant, or erased! As Emmy and Leo explore this exciting new world, befriending many Funvillians along the way, they discover that despite being able to do some very impressive tricks with their powers, Funvillians often get stumped by situations requiring more than just the straightforward use of a single power. Emmy and Leo think outside the box to solve problems by using combining multiple powers, as well as using ideas that do not involve powers.

CHECK OUT FUNVILLE ON KICKSTARTER!

Rachel's mandala

Math Renaissance is a book for teachers and parents of children ages seven and up. How can math experience be improved at home, school, and math circle? Learn from stories of Rodi Steinig’s experiences leading math circles and Rachel Steinig’s experiences as a school student and homeschooler.

In alternating chapters, Rodi tells stories about her math circle and exactly what happens there, while Rachel discusses why so many kids hate math, documents the ways math is taught in the classroom – and ways that it can be improved. We hope that the book will help to uplift humanity by shifting math education more toward inquiry, discovery, conceptual understanding, and lasting joy.

CHECK OUT MATH RENAISSANCE ON KICKSTARTER!


See you online!

Dr. Maria Droujkova, and the Natural Math crew

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Questions? Email reach.out@naturalmath.com

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Introducing New Self-Paced Courses

Self-Paced Courses

Natural Math course organizers know that so many parents and teachers have hectic schedules, and can’t always attend our live workshops and camps. Natural Math participants live on all continents but Antarctica, in time zones all over the world. Many people prefer recordings and the abilities to pause and review a course. We’ve had many requests for self-paced, recorded versions of our live courses, so…

We are excited to introduce new self-paced courses for you!

We’ve been offering Multiplication Explorers for years, which grew out of a live Natural Math course, the first open online math course for parents and teachers in the world. The new courses are also built from our live workshops. How do the self-paced versions work? There are recordings of previous live sessions, plus access to all the materials and handouts. Once you purchase a self-paced course, you will receive a PDF booklet with all the links and information you need. The self-paced courses have a suggested price, but you can name your own price if you wish to support Natural Math with more money, or are in need to pay less. We want excellent math materials to be accessible to everyone!

Our first new course is Transformers: Graphing and Matrices Camp, a joyful way to learn linear algebra and Cartesian geometry with children ages 9-15. It includes five days of recordings (each about an hour), the workbook, and the slides from the live camp. Want a taste of transformations your children will explore? Try out this linear transformations applet from Mercyhurst University.

applet image

Ready to try out Transformers? Download it now!

Check out other self-paced courses at Natural Math, and stay tuned for more.

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Yes, And Workshop Feb 8: Using Improv to Improve Math Play! Newsletter January 31, 2017

yes and workshop

 

  • Are you uncomfortable leading a math activity without a script?
  • Do you wonder: What if they ask questions I can’t answer? What if it doesn’t go like I planned? How can I let the kids lead the activity?
  • Do you want to be more comfortable leading discussions and activities that are open-ended?
  • Are you hoping to embrace the Natural Math principle of saying “Yes, and…” but you don’t really “get it”?
  • What does “Yes, And” look like?

We get it! Yes, And is probably one of the most difficult principles of Natural Math to feel confident about. Most of us likely didn’t learn our math this way. We may not even teach other subjects this way. No matter your situation or past math experience, you CAN learn the skill of effectively leading children while letting them make their own math. It may seem unusual, but acting improvisation (improv) can help us become more comfortable with this!

Sarah Trebat-Leder has taken improv classes, and she’s a 4th year Ph.D. student in Mathematics. She’s uniquely experienced in both areas! In this workshop, you’ll get to see just how improv can help you begin to grow your confidence in leading those open-ended, “what’s going to happen!?” types of activities!

What will you learn?

  • Three acting improv games that can help you be more comfortable with math discussions
  • How “yes, and” is more fun and allows a narrative to develop
  • How to make everyone feel safe in a math discussion
  • How each member of the group can help to create the math experience
  • How to really listen in a discussion
  • How to teach your children to listen in a discussion
  • The role of emotion in your math discussions and play
  • How to accept all emotions in your math experiences

Join us in February for this new workshop.

The Details!

  • What: Two-part live online workshop
  • Why: This is a great way to become more comfortable with leading open-ended discussions
  • Who: Adults of all ages (your children are always welcome to come in and out) with Sarah Trebat-Leder and Shelley Nash as organizers
  • When: Feb 8, Feb 15, 8:00 PM EST
  • Where: Online video-talk software Zoom (similar to Skype)
  • Price: Registration is $25 per family. Includes a PDF copy of the activities
  • Supplies: None

 


See you online!

Dr. Maria Droujkova, and the Natural Math crew

CC BY-NC-SA

Questions? Email reach.out@naturalmath.com

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Perseverance is Key in These Two Puzzles: Newsletter January 25, 2017

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Parents often ask us to list the best math toys and games for children. The good news is there are quite a few excellent ones out there. The great news is that most likely you already own some of the best math toys around.

Cups, spoons, sticky tape, markers, rubber bands, paper plates, buttons, twine, and many other household objects are awesome for exploring mathematical ideas.

In our book Avoid Hard Work book and its online course (launching on January 26), we use yarn, carrots, and LEGO minifigures to help in problem-solving.

Let’s transform a few items you probably have lying around right now into a mathematical problem-solving activity that is accessible and fun for all ages. You will need a few sticks. Use popsicle sticks, toothpicks, or markers. Or found twigs that are about the same length. 

Fish Matchstick Puzzle

Turn the fish in the picture so it swims in the opposite direction, by moving just three sticks.

Cherry Glass Matchstick Puzzle

This glass has a fly in it. Move two sticks to place the fly outside of the glass.

These and other classic matchstick puzzles are all about the geometry of transformations. By moving sticks, you reflect or rotate the fish, the glass, or other shape, but never stretch or otherwise distort it.

The key to these puzzles is to not give up. “Perseverance is Key” is one of the ten principles we discuss in Avoid Hard Work book and workshop. Keep trying different ways of moving the matchsticks. You will build intuition about the problem and eventually make your way to the solution. It is okay to take your time.

Have more good puzzles that help with perseverance? Reply to this email to share and discuss your favorites! This is all about making your home or class richer in mathematics. Not by obtaining more stuff, but through new ways to play and learn!

 


See you online!

Yelena McManaman, Dr. Maria Droujkova, and the Natural Math crew

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Questions? Email reach.out@naturalmath.com

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