Playing 9 Apples with some boys!

boys playing 9 apples

Our family received the 9 Apples card game from Discovery Express Kids to try out. There are a lot of cards and the goal is to reach a target number each round. The cards are positive or negative, and there are also cards that allow you to switch the sign of a card. The rules reward you for using more cards to reach the target number. On the first round, you try to use cards to reach the number 9. Each round you work your way down until you have a target number of zero. The game ends when someone reaches zero.

9 Apples

First I tried out 9 Apples with my nearly seven year old daughter. She is my math lover! She enjoyed the game, but it was really the two of us working together to get the answers. She wasn’t able to do the multi-step addition and subtraction in order to reach the target number. She also struggled to switch the signs. But we enjoyed working together to make the longest row of cards possible. Next time, we’ll put a number line out and actually jump around with our finger using the cards to see how close we can get to our target number. I think this will help her practice the math and visually see what she is doing with each card. It would be even nicer if the card deck had a sturdy fold up number line in the box already. Using a number line would help kids of all ages see relationships and patterns in math more easily.

A few weeks after working with my daughter,  I tried it out with my sons and some neighbors. I was a little nervous that my home-schooled boys wouldn’t be able to do the multi-step math as fast as their public-schooled friends. I needn’t have worried. All the boys did fine. The older boys were able to use more cards than the youngest (8 years old), but they all understood the game really quickly. They weren’t feeling competitive so I heard them giving each other ideas and suggestions about how to make the number they needed for the round. Things like, “Can I give him my change sign card? Then he can just add the six and four together and subtract the three so he gets seven.”  It is nice to hear the thought processes going on in your kids’ minds! I was gratified to see my own sons’ math thinking ability, and their intuitive understanding of math.

I asked the kids for their likes and dislikes (in exchange for the cookies you see in the picture). They said it was “funner” than they thought, and that it was harder than they thought. The public-schooled kids said it was a lot more fun than worksheets!

I liked that it was a lot of math in a simple and fun way. I liked that the change sign cards gave it a lot of variety and dynamics. One drawback is the sheer number of cards. It’s a pretty fat deck of cards! I told the boys today that we’ll play it again with the booster pack of division and multiplication cards. Should have seen their faces!

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Posted in Grow

Veronica’s multiplication online Thursday August 13, and big discount for small groups: Newsletter August 11

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Big discount for small groups

Mathematics works so much better when colleagues, friends, and family support one another! We want to help people do math together in local classes, groups of parents, and math circles. That’s why you now get big discounts for small bundles of paperback books, plus savings on shipping. This is also perfect for larger groups, fundraisers, and small bookstores, and you can resell the books at full price. Or buy five books and give four to friends as gifts.

You get a third of the price off if you buy 5 copies or more of each of our book titles.

 

Veronica’s multiplication

If your 6-10 year old children understand what multiplication is, but want to become more fluent, this math circle is for you! Veronica will lead a math circle meeting to help each participant make games. The goal of the games is to learn a family of facts (patterns) from the times table. Children will remix games and patterns for math variety, and play by themselves or with friends to become fluent. When you sign up for this math circle, you will get access to Multiplication Explorers materials that explain patterns in time tables. Veronica’s games take these ideas to the next level.

  • What: Live meeting with Veronica and friends to make and remix games about families of multiplication facts.
  • When: Thursday, August 13 from 4-5 PM (New York time) in a Google Hangout, plus conversations at your convenience in an online forum.
  • Who: Children ages 6-10 with parents or teachers. Your registration covers your family or small group using one computer. We will have 8 participating families or groups.
  • How: Children will make and test their games; adults will observe at the side, play Parent Bingo, and help if their children ask.

Veronica Avatar

Hi, my name is Veronica and I love Math and Science!

I just finished 3d grade math and I can’t wait to learn more. I love playing with my cat and watching him do funny things like chase his tail! In my free time, I usually call my friends, play outside, or draw.  My most favorite thing to do is read. 

Have a nice day!!


Do you or your child want to design an online math circle at Natural Math? Write us!

Dr. Maria Droujkova and the Natural Math crew

CC BY-NC-SA

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Root differences: a little exploration of patterns

This is a guest blog post by Danny Phelan, who is a student at Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh, NC, studying for an Associates Degree in Arts. Danny’s eventual goal is becoming a novelist and screenwriter, as well as editor for fantasy, science fiction, and horror novels.


When I was in high school, I noticed a curious pattern: one plus three equals four, plus five equals nine, plus seven equals sixteen, and so on. Each whole square was a certain number greater than the next, and the difference between the squares would increase by two every time. When I mentioned this to a math teacher, she either did not see it that way or misunderstood my phrasing, for she dismissed it as simple coincidence, not a natural law. After class, however, I was not convinced. Stubbornness is both a vice and a virtue of mine, and I continued to puzzle over how a series of odd numbers, increasing by two each time, connected to the succession of perfect squares.

Eventually, I drew the pattern out on scrap paper and saw something interesting: each square on a grid increases by the addition of new units to a side; being two-dimensional, they increase by two new units each time–one for each dimension.

Danny's Pattern

We came up with an equation that represented the pattern. Since we want to look at the difference between squares (how much you add to get the next whole square), we added 1 to r, which stands for the square root. There’s the 2 pattern!

(r+1)2 = r2+2r+1

But I was still not fully satisfied. Something felt missing. I reasoned that if one could calculate differences between squares, surely a similar pattern might hold true in three dimensions–that is, whole cubes. The formula would be more difficult to visualize, but fortunately, my friend Ray owned a bowl of small cubes which we used to crack this puzzle. Three new squares would need to be added with each successive layer, and by holding cubes together, we discovered that the edges between sides would also need to be accounted for.

We determined that the formula is:

(r+1)3 = r3+3r2+3r+1

Applied fascination, when shared with other curious thinkers, spurs the creation of wonders.

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Posted in Grow

Socks Are Like Pants Crowdfunding, Young Calculus, and Hacking Math: Newsletter June 9, 2015

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In this newsletter we offer sample activities from our new books and courses:

  • Algebra for ages 3 to 10: art activities and puzzles from the forthcoming book Socks are Like Pants and the invitation to crowdfund it.
  • Our “Inspired by Calculus” course for families and groups with children ages 5 to 12 starts in July; get the new and improved version of the course and enjoy Math Sparks about an X-Ray vision math superpower and a visit to Flatland.
  • The Hacking Math online course for ages 12+ starts on June 17; join us and get a free chapter of the book we’ll use to learn algebra through Python programming.
  • Are you inviting others to your Natural Math circles, camps, and other adventures? Let us know so we can spread the word! A few spaces are still open in the online camp for ages 8-14 at Monarch Webwork. It starts June 22 and follows our book, Camp Logic.

Socks Are Like Pants, Cats Are Like Dogs

Do you want your children to feel like algebra is beautiful, playful, and intuitive? Come play, solve, talk, and make math with us! Support our book, reserve your copy, and make these math adventures available to children, parents, and teachers all over the world. Visit the book’s page today to download and try the activities with your children.

Cats Are Like Dogs Preview

 

Our book Socks are Like Pants, Cats are Like Dogs is filled with a diverse collection of math games, puzzles, and activities exploring the mathematics of choosing, identifying and sorting. Teachers and parents have tested all activities in real classrooms and living rooms. The activities are easy to start and require little preparation.

Inspired by Calculus

We have updated and improved our young calculus course, and are happy to offer it again in July. Inspired by Calculus is a three-week intensive online course for 20 parents, math circle leaders, and teachers who work with children ages 5 to 12. We will meet in a webinar on July 7, 14, and 21 from 10-11 AM MST. The meetings will be for grown-ups, but your children are welcome to be there with you and to play along. We will also work with videos and stories in an online forum.

Go to the course page to get beautiful Math Sparks about the X-Ray vision math superpower and a visit to the 2-dimensional Flatland. You can also watch Dr. Maria Droujkova’s funky short presentation, “5-year-olds can learn calculus.”

Hacking Math with Python

How would you like to use the powerful tools of the Python programming language to explore math ideas like algebra, geometry, fractals and 3D Graphics?

spirograph

Hacking Math is an informal computer programming course for ages 12 and up that starts on June 17th and runs for six weeks. You’ll learn to use Python programming to explore math and science topics deeply. In this course you’ll retrain your math-think: it’s not about avoiding “real” math by using calculators or computers! It’s about automating the boring stuff so you can get to the fun stuff like fractals and 3D graphics. Our practical approach allows you to solve problems using appropriate technology as well as think mathematically–a skill that is equally important. No previous programming experience is necessary; you’ll learn the major tools of programming in Python, one of the most widely used programming languages.

Camp Logic

Our friends at Monarch have a few spaces left in their online camp for children ages 8-14. The camp runs June 22 to 26 in the mornings. This camp based on our new Camp Logic book is a joyful and useful way to learn logic through puzzles, riddles, challenges, and games. On the surface, many of these puzzles do not resemble traditional mathematics. It may come as a surprise to the students (and often even to their parents!) that in working these puzzles, they are practicing and honing their mathematical skills as much or more than they would using traditional mathematical material.

See you online!

Dr. Maria Droujkova and the Natural Math crew

CC BY-NC-SA

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Math adventures by email

Activities, courses, books, reviews for the Natural Math community.

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Do you want your children to feel like algebra is beautiful, playful, and intuitive? Come play, solve, talk, and make math with us!

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