Math You Make; Camp Logic blog carnival; Knight’s Tour game – Newsletter May 30, 2014

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I am Moby Snoodles, and this is my newsletter. Send me your questions, comments, and stories of math adventures at

Moby Snoodles

Math You Make, Math You See

Sierpinski 3D

Do you think of math as something that “you have to solve”? Or perhaps as something that “you can play with”? How about math as something that “you want to see” or even something that “you can make”?

As we are getting ready for our first ever Maker Faire, we are thinking more and more about the DIY aspect of mathematics.  Of course, there is no shortage of project ideas for DIY manipulatives that adults make and present to kids. What we’re doing with manipulatives is different:

  • Usability outside of math lesson – we often hear that math, as it is frequently presented to kids, is disconnected from the real life. One way to restore the connection is to create manipulatives that can be used in many contexts, for example, art pieces, objects to include in children’s play, things that enrich storytelling.
    Covariance Monsters by Bloke School
  • Child-friendly process – if you can’t make a manipulative together with the child, as part of the math exploration, then don’t make it at all.

Follow these two conditions, and the mathematical conversations that spark naturally, as you are making a manipulative, will lead to deep mathematical explorations. Which in turn leads to noticing more math in more places!

Camp Logic – First Chapter Unlocked, Blog Carnival Coming Up

There are just a few more days left until the end of the crowdfunding campaign for Camp Logic, the book that explores, in a playful way, logic and mathematical reasoning. Thank you, contributors!

Reaching our first crowdfunding milestone of $3000 meant that we could make the first chapter of the book available for you to review and comment on. If you haven’t checked it out yet, here’s the link to the chapter.

And now we’ve reached the second milestone with over $5000 raised. This means that in June we will hold a blog carnival at It will be bursting with mathematical goodness – games, activities and mathematical art you can make with your children.

So what’s next? Reaching the $8000 milestone means we will hold a special Math Cafe with the book authors. You will be able to attend virtually or, if you are in New York City, in-person. Plus, for all pledges of $8 or more, you will also get electronic versions of the book. Pledges of $20 or more will get you a paper copy of the Camp Logic book. So don’t wait, contribute now.

Bored in a Math Class?

Okay, so this happens to all of us. We get bored. Bored in math or history or biology classes. Bored in meetings or on conference calls. How to deal with such boredom is the question we are exploring on the Ask forum. View boredom (whether your own, your child’s, or your student’s) not as a sign of personal failure, but as a call from your brain that it needs to do something creative, for example:

  • Make up a game or a riddle out of what bores you
  • Doodle
  • Play an existing game, like Knight’s Tour (below)

Find more ideas and add yours to the growing collection on the forum!

The Knight’s Tour – A Grid-Hopping Game

When I sat bored in a class (and not only in math class), one of my favorite games to play was the Knight’s Tour game. The way it was taught to me was on a 10×10 grid. But you can play on smaller (or larger) grids, like 5×5 or the traditional chessboard’s 8×8. By the way, you can play it on any rectangular grid, so don’t limit yourself to a square. So here we go:

  1. Draw a grid
  2. Pick your starting cell and write “1” in it
  3. Move as a knight would move in chess and write “2” in the cell you land in.
  4. Move again and this time write “3” in the cell you land on.
  5. Continue until either you visit every single cell once and only once or until you cannot make another move.

This game will present many choices (apart from the size of the grid itself) – where to start, which way to move first, which way to move next, should you backtrack to the skipped cells? Play a few rounds, and some patterns start to emerge. The game itself is simple enough to be taught to young kids: you can reduce the grid dimensions, increase cell size, and use stickers instead of numbers to mark already-visited cells. But the math behind the game is not simple at all. Enjoy!


You are welcome to share the contents of this newsletter online or in print.


Talk to you soon! Moby Snoodles, aka Yelena McManaman

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