SonIa Kovalevsky Day

I am currently coordinating a Sonia Kovalevsky Day at Iowa State University for the spring of 2019. This is an event designed to promote the involvement of middle and high school girls in mathematics. For more information, see https://math.iastate.edu/2019/02/07/sonia-kovalevsky-mathematics-day-2019/!

 

Summer Math Camps

This past summer, I was able to design and run summer mathematics camps for students in grades 3-8. We had a great time exploring mathematical patterns in History, Mythology and Art. Check out some of the amazing projects that the students completed!

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The Fabulous Fibonacci

These pieces of artwork were created by 3rd and 4th grade students. Using the Fibonacci Numbers, students drew a grid on which they constructed the Golden Spiral. Students either used the Spiral as an abstract design, or created a piece of artwork whose proportions were guided by the Spiral.

Towers of Hanoi

The Towers of Hanoi puzzle is an engaging puzzle requiring students to recognize and generalize patterns, as well as show persistence in problem solving. When I was a child, my father made a complete set to use in his mathematics classroom. I have been fortunate enough to inherit this set to use in my own projects—they are always a winner!

This project represents the culmination of a week of work of students from grades 3-8. Although the details were tailored for each grade, the main project components were:

  • Solving the Towers of Hanoi puzzle completely

  • Identifying recursive and explicit formulas for the minimum number of moves needed to solve each size of puzzle

  • Using Microsoft Excel to program the recursive formula, answering the larger question of the time needed to solve a 64-layer puzzle!

  • Modeling the scenario graphically, in a table, and algebraically

The students did an amazing job organizing and displaying their work to explain to their friends and family!

If you would like to try your hand at a Towers of Hanoi puzzle (and don’t have a dad who makes them in his spare time!), this electronic version lets you increase the layers up to nine.