I’ve been more and more impressed with the internet lately. By reading blogs and twitter feeds, I have an overflowing stream of incredible math content flowing my way. I want to put my students in a similar stream.
It’s not like putting iPads in the hands of seven year-olds makes everything easier at school, but man, when you’re interested and want more of something, the internet has got it going on. Here’s a small ode and the story of a new website, “Math Munch.”
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First, a quick story of something I found and shared with some colleagues. In a magic square every row, column, and diagonal add to the same number. These have historical origins, known to the Chinese as early as 650 BCE, but the geomagic square is an amazing recent twist on the idea. (see below) My colleagues were blown away and decided to share these with kids.
I see incredible things like this everyday, and just like that, by putting my friends in contact with it, their teaching changes. Their classrooms become just a notch more “content rich.” For this I was called “Ambassador to the Internet,” a role I am happy to play.
Can I do the same for my students simply by putting them in contact with rich math sources more often?
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This year I’m working harder to show my students how much they can learn from the internet if they take it seriously. It’s important to me that they know math exists outside of classrooms, and that I am not their only source for math expertise.
Justin had the brilliant idea to start a blog and share with our students, so three weeks ago we started Math Munch, “a weekly digest of the mathematical internet.” I wrote my first entry today, so I thought it was time to share.
Each week we try to post three good math sites covering all kinds of math. We feature creative and artistic aspects of math as well as connections to number concepts. We’re also thinking about trying to showcase the people behind the work and include a diverse group of mathematicians. Hopefully we do more than amaze our readers; we aspire to spark creative work.
Justin asks his fifthies to check the site once a week and write a journal reflection on what they’ve seen. I haven’t shown it to all of my fifth graders yet, but I did have one girl check it out during her free choice time on Friday. She heard about it by word of mouth and after playing around said “this website is so cool!”
Nothing better than that.
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I hope you’ll take a look around Math Munch and enjoy the huge and fascinating mathematical internet.