The Challenge: Create a magic square. Bonus points if you make it a physical thing.
Materials Needed: Legos, blocks or coins all work well for making these towers. Could also be pen/pencil & paper, of course. Math Concepts: Algebra, arithmetic, counting, proportions/ratios, structure, sum of 1-n integers
Materials Needed: Paper, pencil, and probably a good eraser. You could also do this using a whiteboard or other writing surface. Math conceptsyou could explore with this challenge: algebra, arithmetic, counting, fractals, functions isometric, proportions/ratios
The Challenge: Create a visual (or audio?) of the Recamán sequence, created by a Colombian mathematician, Bernardo Recamán Santos (who seems to have very little biographical information out there??). I was first introduced through Alex Bellos and Edmund Harris’s book.
Materials Needed: Straight edge, maybe a compass, maybe a ruler. Paper, riting utensil. Math conceptsyou could explore with this challenge: algebra, circles, counting, functions, proportions/ratios, randomness, sequences
The Challenge: (Re)create a Sona drawing. I did a couple hours of research yesterday (which is totally insufficient to fully understand it), but what I can tell you is that these drawings originate with the Chokwe people in southwestern Africa, specifically Angola and the southern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The drawings are told in conjunction with a story, and the goal of most is to draw them in as unbroken a line. Please check out some of the resources below, and if you have others to add, I’d love to see them and link them here.
Materials Needed: grid, pencil, paper, perhaps graphing software. Math conceptsyou could explore with this challenge: angles, counting, geometry, graph theory, proportions/ratios, slope, symmetry, vertices/intersections
The challenge: Create a rainbow and get it reflected in a curved surface to reveal a rectangle. All credit here to Woolly Thoughts! (They have wonderful things for you to play with there.)
Materials needed: I crocheted mine, which was a fun puzzle to get an even rainbow. They have knitting instructions on their website, but you could just as easily draw this with markers. I used tinfoil as my reflective surface wrapped around a nail polish remover bottle. I bet you all get more creative than myself. Math conceptsyou could explore with this challenge: circles, geometry, perspective, proportions/ratios