Tag Archives: advent calendar

Jim Loy, Exploding Dots, and an Advent Calendar

Jim Loy

Jim Loy

Welcome to this week’s Math Munch! We’ve got a mathematical advent calendar for you, two new puzzle pages, and a whole course’s worth of videos and problems to think about. Let’s get into it.

Up first, if you like you can read all about Jim Loy (and just about anything else) on his enormous website. The thing I want to share with you are Jim’s puzzle pages. You could pull out some toothpicks or spaghetti and try these matchstick puzzles, or perhaps you want to give his maze a try. Or maybe you just want to learn about the pig pen cipher, a kind of code.

Matchstick Puzzles

Matchstick Puzzles

Jim's Maze

Jim’s Maze

pig pen cipher

Pig Pen Cipher

advent calendar 2Up next, some math in the holiday spirit. Plus Magazine has a nice little advent calendar going on again this year. They’re counting down to Christmas by posting their “favourite bits of maths” – a new post each day. On the website you can see preview pictures for each day, which has me pretty excited. What could #7 be? What is going on in 18?! Check out #2. It’s a nice little explanation of a classic math story about Achilles and the tortoise. (Zeno’s Paradox). Plus Magazine is a great website in general, but you have to be prepared to do some reading. According to their about page,

Plus is an internet magazine which aims to introduce readers to the beauty and the practical applications of mathematics. A lot of people don’t have a very clear idea what “real” maths consists of, and often they don’t realise how many things they take for granted only work because of a generous helping of it.”

BONUS:  Take a look at the Plus Mag puzzle page!

Finally, you might remember James Tanton for his partition videos. Well, he just released a really cool series of videos and math activities that’s completely free and online. It’s kind of an entire math course (but it’s unlike any course you’ve  seen before), and it’s called “Exploding Dots.” As James says in the intro video above, this is his favorite topic of all time! The course is broken up into 4 lessons, with a handful of videos in each lesson, and there are some really nice questions to think about. I’ve studied math for many years at this point, but there were lots of things that surprised me.

If you’re ready to dig in, here’s a link to Lesson 1.1 Base Machines.

Have a great week, and bon appetit!

Math Comics, A+ Click, and a Mathematical Advent Calendar

Welcome to this week’s Math Munch!

Ada Lovelace | the first computer scientist

Ada Lovelace | the first computer scientist

Up first, are you enjoying the technology you’re reading this on? Well you can thank Ada Lovelace for that. She’s the 19th century mathematician that worked on the first computing machines with Charles Babbage and is often called “the first computer scientist.” There’s no better day to thank her than today, since it’s Ada’s 197th birthday. Justin found a great little comic dramatizing her life and work. It’s called “2D Goggles or The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage.” It’s also available as a free iPad app called Lovelace & Babbage, in case you have one of those.

Ada Lovelace | The first computer scientist

Ada Lovelace hard at work in comic book form

Bertrand Russell from Logicomix

Bertrand Russell from Logicomix

I can also recommend one other math comic. It’s a graphic novel called Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth detailing the life and research of English logician Bertrand Russell, a personal hero of mine. You can buy it here.

A+ ClickUp next, I found a nice little web resource lately called A+ Click. It’s basically just a collection of math tests, but they have them for every level, and the problems are actually pretty great. Give it a try, and don’t feel like you have to stick to your grade. There’s bound to be tough ones and easier ones in every set. You can actually learn a lot by working on new kinds of problems you’ve never even heard of. You just have to figure out what the words mean, so here’s an illustrated mathematical glossary to help you out, or this maths dictionary for kids.  And here’s a sample problem I like:

Add the adjacent numbers together and write their sum in the block above them. What is the number at the top of the pyramid?

Add the adjacent numbers together and write their sum in the block above them. What is the number at the top of the pyramid?

I wonder if there was a way to predict the answer without filling in all the boxes. And what if the pyramid had 1,2,3,4,5,… all the way up to 10? Hmmmm. Any readers have any ideas? Just leave us a comment.

+plus magazineFinally, Plus Magazine’s website is full of really good math articles and things. For the holiday season, they’ve created a mathematical advent calendar. Each day, a new “door” can be opened which leads to further links and descriptions to neat math content. For example, on the 8th day we had Door #8: Women in Maths, including information about Ada Lovelace!

And here’s a little bonus video for you this week. For their recent music video, Lost Lander decided to illustrate the prime numbers as they build up. It’s quite nice, and not a bad song either.

Bon appetit!