Many math symbols are really pictures, such as 0 for emptiness or ∞ for endlessness. In the title Purple Comet! Math Meet the exclamation mark in the middle is the picture of a comet, of course. But what is a math meet?
Pictures: the Buddhist symbol of emptiness, the infinity logo of the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, and the Purple Comet! logo.
Imagine a group of kids who like to solve math problems, and who get together for the purpose. This is one of traditional ways to run a Math Circle. You just need some enthusiastic, more experienced kids or grown-ups as helpers, and good problem collections. Right? Not exactly! Turns out that in a few months, just solving problems becomes too monotonous.
Let us look at gaming. All successful games have a series of doable, satisfying, repeatable tasks. But these tasks build up to larger, more complex goals. Good games have sophisticated end-level puzzles, big construction projects that take all your resources, or fierce boss fights you can only win by heroic measures. You valorize the daily tasks, because you anticipate and remember these awesome special events.
The traditional big events for problem-solving Math Circles are math competitions. There are many competitions, but Purple Comet! math meet stands out because of its clever, modern design. As other quality competitions, Purple Comet! offers children original, meaningful, interesting, tricky problems that are a joy to solve – that is, real mathematics. But there is more:
Photo: Pasadena Middle School Purple Comet! team
To share the joy, Titu Andreescu and Jonathan Kane of the appropriately named AwesomeMath assembled problems from the first ten years of Purple Comet! math meet in a hardcover book with beautiful, clean layout of formulas and diagrams. You can use the book as a source of problems for family math or Math Circles. If you are a designer, the collection will be a valuable source of strong practices in curriculum development centered on problem-solving.
This December, Purple Comet! and other books from AwesomeMath are 20% off.