Monthly Archives: November 2015

MoMath: The Art

When you walk into the MoMath you see this in the lobby.

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And then you step close and realize that each design is really just this.

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Metal with intricate scratches on it. Add some complex lighting and suddenly there are knot theory marvels floating before your eyes.

The art and the beauty inside the MoMath is breathtaking. There are tesselations, 3D solids, and fractals. The symmetry is everywhere, even in the logo. The order and beauty of it all leaves you feeling peaceful and thankful God made a universe with math.

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Photo Credit: MoMath website

 

Visit to the MoMath

Last Saturday my husband and I had the chance to visit New York sans our beloved 18 month old. Jason’s list of must-sees included the High Line and the lights of Times Square. My one destination was the MoMath, the only museum of mathematics in North America.

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The museum is wonderful, all the exhibits are colorful, engaging, and interactive. If you are willing to scroll through the computer screens explaining each demonstratation you will quickly discover some complex mathematics. But the displays are designed in such a way that even the most math-phobic of us can jump in and have fun.

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Photo Credit: MoMath website

The highlights? It is hard to pick so there will be future posts on the math art, the Enigma Cafe, the 3D solids, and best of all the store. But probably the most fascinating thing was a tricycle with three different sized square wheels that runs on a hemisphere track.

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Tricky SAT Problem

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This problem from Khan Academy earned my respect this morning. Although the numbers and math are quite simple it contains several details that might trip you up. First they wrote the binomials with the constant first and then the variable which always kind of annoys me (and sometimes leads to me making mistakes!).

Why does x+2 look so much better than 2+x?  I don’t know but whenever I see it written the second way I tell myself to slow down and proceed with caution. That is of course after I sigh and wonder why’d they have to write it like that?

Next, they’ve mixed order of operations and polynomials. Do I FOIL or subtract first?

And then there is that pesky subtraction sign to be distributed…so many math students have died in that battle 🙂

Finally, the answer choices are written differently than the question. So when you finish you have to see if you can rearrange your answer to match theirs.

Phew! Not bad for a practice problem.

Post your answers and explanations below 🙂

Varsity Math Revisited

This week my algebra students are going to be tacking some of the Varsity Math problems from the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal. The problems are a great resource for building your problem solving skills and they are sponsored by the Museum of Mathematics. Here’s an engaging video that walks your through one of the easier problems. The idea is to work your way up to playing on varsity.