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

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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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Play This Problem-Solving Game Today: Newsletter January 19, 2017

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In this newsletter:

  • A problem-solving game
  • Courses from Natural Math
  • Beta testing opportunity: Number Explorers (ages 3-5)

Play this game today

We moved our brand-new Avoid Hard Work online course (parents and teachers with children ages 3-10) to the end of the month. It will start on January 26. We also changed the time to 8 PM EST to make it more convenient. 

We want to share a quick little game with you. But before we get to that, we have a question:

What kind of mathematical experience do you dream about for your children?

We ask this question at the beginning of our courses, workshops, and conversations with parents and teachers. That’s because the question helps you focus on what’s important to you. When people focus on their  goals and dreams, they overcome their math fears and anxieties.

My Math Dream

Have you seen the t-shirts that say, “Dear math, grow up and solve your own problems”? Some adults we talk to still have nightmares about being in a math class. The fear is very real.

That is why we wrote the book, Avoid Hard Work. That is why we are going to run the math problem-solving course to go with it. And that is why the first thing we do is talk about hopes and dreams.

As we worked on the book and the course, our dream was to give children and adults a set of tools that would help make sense of math problems and open up the many joyous paths to solving them.

We invite you to learn how to transform the fear of not knowing into the adventure of not yet knowing. Find out how to replace math anxiety with math inquiry. Learn how to help your children to develop their mathematical curiosity and discover their own ways of solving meaningful problems. [Course sign up button]

What is your dream for your children? 

And now, the game we’ll call “Happy New Year!”

It is the year 2017. Look at the digits 2, 0, 1, 7. Find out how each of these is not like the others.
If you ask several people this little open-ended question, you may be amazed how much diverse math they uncover. That’s because the game shows half of what mathematics is all about: looking for differences in similar things, in this case digits.

More courses from Natural Math

Transformers Linear Algebra

Feb 27 – Mar 3 Transformers: Matrices and Graphs – for children ages 9-15

This week-long math camp with daily live online meetings is a fun way to learn about linear algebra: matrices, graphing, coordinates, and more! February 27 – March 3 at 8:30 – 9:30 PM EST (New York).

Also check out our ongoing self-paced courses.

Beta Testing Opportunity

Number Explorers

We are building a new suite of activities for the early development of number sense and number meaning (ages 3-5). Come test the activities live with the authors of the suite, and learn new ways to think about early numeracy. This requires no preparation, and is free: just show up, play, and learn! The next opportunity is January 25th, 4 PM EST (New York) time. Click here to sign up. You will be taken to check-out with a free product.


See you online!

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

CC BY-NC-SA

Questions? Email reach.out@naturalmath.com

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January courses – coupons – Avoid Hard Work is out! Newsletter January 2, 2017

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Happy New Year!

Natural Math wishes you beauty, joy, and meaning in your mathematical journeys of 2017! And to help you get started, we are offering 3 great online courses in January. Check out their short descriptions below. Then follow a link to each course’s page to download free sample materials to try with your students. Once you are ready to sign up, use the coupon code JANUARY2K17 to receive $10 off our January courses.

Begin your year of joyful math with these online courses.

Transformers Linear Algebra

Jan 9-13 Transformers: Matrices and Graphs – for children ages 9-15

This weeklong math camp with daily live online meetings is a fun way to learn about linear algebra: matrices, graphing, coordinates, and more! January 9-13 at 9:30pm EDT (New York), which is January 10-14 at 1:30pm in Sydney

Avoid Hard Work

Jan 11-18 Avoid Hard Work: Problem-Solving – for parents & teachers with children ages 3 and up

Our newest workshop for parents and teachers of young kids is based on our new book, Avoid Hard Work! This joyful, playful online workshop about mathematical problem-solving will meet live on January 11 and 18, at 5-6 PM EST (New York). Comes with a coupon for the book.

Kingdom on the Wall

Jan 19-26 Kingdom on the Wall Physics + Math Workshop – for parents & teachers with children ages 3 to 12

A lively interactive online workshop on physics+math explorations for you and your children ages 3 to 12. Topics include center of gravity, symmetry and ratios in algebra, spatial transformations in optics and geometry, and more. Live meetings January 19th and 26th 4 PM EST (New York) = 10:00 PM CET (Paris).

Also check out our ongoing self-paced courses.


The latest Natural Math book: Avoid Hard Work

This new book starts with a funky name, and delivers on that playful promise. Avoid Hard Work gives a joyful view of ten powerful problem-solving techniques. These techniques were first published by the Mathematical Association of America to help high school students with advanced math courses. We adapted the ten techniques and the sample problems for much younger children. The book is for parents, teachers, math circle leaders, and others who work with children ages three to ten.

Yelena's Dad 1

Would you like to review the book for your newspaper, blog, or another outlet? Request a review copy!

The book page has free sample chapters for you to try with your children. Check it out!

Avoid Hard Work houses puzzle

This is the sixth books Natural Math has published. All our books are Creative Commons, with DRM-free ebook versions and friendly group discounts. Stay tuned for more books coming out in 2017.


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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