Perhaps my very favorite moment at Twitter Math Camp was setting up the Blue Tape Lounge for some informal after hours Math in Your Feet math/dance making. Brian Bushart, Max Ray-Riek and I set up our space. While we were waiting for folks to arrive we played around with the movement variables that help kids build their own foot-based dance patterns. Brian and Max both made new patterns and Max & I put them together into something quite terrific. Here’s the video evidence 🙂
As the night went on, and folks got used to learning, making and reproducing foot-based dance patterns, their physical spatial reasoning also kicked in which opened up possibilities for playing with transformations. Below, we’re all doing the same four-beat pattern but two of us are rotated 180 degrees and the pattern itself has two 90 degree turns.
The next day, someone new to my work told me that when he first walked into the room the activity seemed really random to him, but when he got inside the square and learned a pattern he realized that what we were doing was working within a set of mathematical constraints. Christopher Danielson has wondered
“whether a characteristic of a novice is an inability to distinguish noise from pattern”
and I certainly think this idea holds water.
One final thought: Max said, “Here, the math is the dance…” and that is really at the foundation of it all.
p.s. If you are curious about finding out more about this work of pairing the moving body with math learning, check out my new book which will be published by Heinemann in October 2016!