Last Saturday was crazy! The mini-Maker Faire NC was a large, noisy, bright and exciting event. 6000 people of all ages spent 8 hours 3D printing, sewing wearable electronics bowties, creating music with a few carrots and a MakeyMakey kit, taking apart old printers, practicing sword fighting, and learning to tattle. And amidst all this excitement, right next to a giant marble run and across from a table with life-size puppets, was where we set up our little math house. It was a last-minute idea and a hasty run to the nearest home improvement store. We got some PVC pipes and fittings, plastic safety fence, and lots of ducttape and zip ties. Our little math house, when put together (which took about 15 minutes once PVC was cut to size), was just a bit sturdier than the stick house of the second little pig. It wouldn’t stand up to even the weakest of the Big Bad Wolves. It was time to strengthen it with lots and lots of math. We filled our little house with tools for building big mathematical ideas: weaving grids (check out our posts about weaving and math here, here and here), puzzles, geometric origami decorations, and photographs of beautiful math hidden in plain sight all around town (from Math Trek scavenger hunts). Still we were a bit worried. Would our little house even be noticed in all the excitement of the Faire? With over a hundred Maker displays, most of them hands-on, would the children want to come in and play for a few minutes? Most importantly, would our little house lead the adults to thinking about mathematics in their homes? Well, the house did get noticed and was played in. Kids spent a while there weaving, exploring puzzles, and playing with the balance scale. Adults looked at the photographs and talked to us about mathematics in their lives and in their homes. And now we’d like to continue this conversation.
So look around your house. What math do you see? What math that you see can your kids see, touch, make, and enjoy?