Math in Unexpected Spaces

This winter I wrapped up my manuscript and submitted it to Heinemann. It’ll be out in the Fall. In the aftermath, as the realization that 2 1/2 years of concerted effort and inquiry were now behind me, I decided to close up my blog of 5+ years. It is an old friend and a repository and archive for the process by which I came to strengthen and deepen my understanding of “what math is”, grow my teaching practice, and write my books.

I do have plans to develop blogs related to my two new books, but I thought maybe my days of musing were over.

Not so.  Second thoughts about this topic surfaced on my  drive home from a really nice three day trip to the University of Michigan. I had spent my time working with Martin Strauss, the undergraduate math club, a middle school math circle, and 4th through 6th grade girls.

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The girls were asked to create a Pattern B that was different from their A. One team wondered what would happen if they combined the first beat of all the A options to build their B. It worked!

Working with the undergraduates in particular had pushed me to frame (or maybe, re frame) my work with Math in Your Feet. I decided to call my math club presentation “Math in Unexpected Spaces” which is literally and figuratively what my work is about. I described my presentation like this:

Experience math as both an art and a science using just a little bit of tape and your own two feet. Harness the math of making and making comparisons to explore congruence, symmetry, transformations, categorical variables, group theory, and spatially complex physical/temporal patterns.

It was a delightful hour of mathematical thinking. During the elementary sessions I had math undergrad helpers. They were super curious about my use of “congruence” in this context and gave me a lovely short primer on group theory.

So there I was, driving home after all this, realizing that just posting a few things to Twitter & Facebook were really not going to be satisfying in the long term. I now have a new sort-it-out, musing, thinking, overthinking, making connections blog for myself.

I still have so much to explore and learn. I hope that you will join me for some of it. Conversations welcome, push back expected. Let’s get started!

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