Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Monday began with breakfast at 7am in the main building's dining hall. Frank had said it looked like where the students eat in the Harry Potter movies. I've only seen one & haven't read any (you can throw the books at my head later on) but I agree anyway. There is a rather old clock hanging on the wall. Some believe it is moving but not on the right time; others that it is not moving at all (I think these folks might be right) but it is interesting to look either way.

We then had a keynote address by Tom Chapin. He mixed songs into his lecture...though I felt less like it was a lecture and more like it was a story. His songs were excellent and he took the time to answer questions, play things people requested and interact with the crowd.

I went to three sessions yesterday. Session 1 was about puzzling mathematics. What I most enjoyed about the math in that one was a problem where there is a square piece of wood (we did 10 inches on each side) and you have to cut right triangles our of the corners in order to create a regular octagon. This would be better with a picture...I might try to upload one later. If you don't get to see John Titterton's session do yourself a favor and ask him to sing you one of his math-themed songs.

Session 2 was all about games young thinkers play (also the title of the session). These games were so simple in some cases (meaning there was not a whole lot of set up or pieces one has to go hunting places for and so forth), yet they really hit at some important concepts in elementary school mathematics (I might even say middle school) and the great thing about it was with some adjusting you could use them with older students. I am definitely using some as warm-ups with my pre-service elementary school teachers. Oh and though they were for "young thinkers" us adults got some fun out of them as well. That session was by Mary Altieri and there is another similar one by Mickey Jo later in the week.

The last session given by Alan Alterman (the man who was walking around with the t-shirt that had pi on it and the words "irrational but well rounded" ... we did this problem called the painted cube problem which is a really rich problem. We did other things and got a cd full of problems and such but the painted cube problem was fascinating.

The night ended with puzzles...but I will save that for the next post. If you went to some good sessions why not let the rest of us know? Thanks and until soon.

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