As mentioned, I now lead another math circle. This one for the local homeschool group. So it’s on Thursday mornings for now. It will run through June 1st. Then we will take a break and, hopefully, start again in the Fall 2017.
This circle is quite large. There were at least 12 kids at the first meeting. The ages, math skills and level of interest in math varies a lot. So the format of this circle has to be different from the one I run on Thursday evenings. For now my plan is to have a few board and card games, a few puzzles chosen for accessibility and depth, and at least one make your own math activity.
Here’s what we did at our first meeting:
Board Games/Card Games
I brought Фрукто10 – a card game somewhat similar to SpotIt where players need to match fruits on their cards by color and/or by type while also figuring out if the numbers on the matching fruits add up to 10.
There was also Ghost Blitz – a card and objects game of “odd one out” with a twist. It can be played for speed, but I rarely do so with younger players. This was a big hit with younger participants.
I also brought a deck of cards for a game of Fantastic Four – a card game with a standard deck (face cards removed; Ace = 1). The dealer puts out four helper cards and one goal card. Players have 5 minutes to use the helper cards to make an expression (or more than one) that equals the goal card. Can use 2, 3 or all 4 helper cards.
And I printed out a few pages for playing the wonderful SnuggleNumber – a paper, pencil and a 10-sided dice game that explores place value.
Puzzles – Which One Doesn’t Belong
I love the WODB puzzles. They allow kids to get very creative and analytical at the same time. They are built on the idea of more than one correct answer. And they are easy to adapt for a very wide age range. I brought about 20 or so puzzle sheets with me. Some I copied from this beautiful collection, but I also added a few of my own.
After trying to solve a few puzzles, the participants had an opportunity to create their own. All you need to make your own puzzles is some paper and something to write/draw with. Or you can get fancy and add old magazines, colored paper, stickers, small objects and really anything else that strikes your fancy.
This was something I added at the last moment. I saw it at one of the Julia Robinson Math Festivals, along with other wonderful puzzles. I also brought some wooden blocks for this problem. Not enough to build large staircases. But personally, I find it very important to have some manipulatives, not just pen and paper. Somehow moving physical objects around helps me get onto a path to solution.
So that was it for the first meeting. Time to plan the next one. I think the format worked, but needs a few changes here and there.