#MathArtChallenge 88: the Recamán Sequence

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 concepts you could explore with this challenge: algebra, circles, counting, functions, proportions/ratios, randomness, sequences

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#MathArtChallenge 86: Tla’amin Basket Weaving: Coding and Indigenous teaching

The Challenge: Play with the widget here to explore your own Tla’amin basket weaving patterns.

Materials Needed: The applet linked above.
Math concepts you could explore with this challenge: geometry, sequences, symmetry, tessellations

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#MathArtChallenge Day 75: Black Lives Matter

I live in Minneapolis. Today, on May 31st, 2020, things are challenging. People keep asking how they can help. So here are some ways you can help.

  1. First, please say out loud with me right now, “Black Lives Matter.” Don’t just tweet it, say it out loud where ever you are. Believe it.
  2. Please do not ask any person of color to do the work for you. That includes putting the onus on them to figure out how you can help.

3. If you are white, talk with your people: your family, your co-workers, your neighbors. It may get uncomfortable, but it is not as uncomfortable as being Black in America. And again, in those spaces, do not put the weight of the work on the people of color. If you hear something along the lines of, “but the protests are so destructive”, point them to the many examples of peaceful protests. Then remind them that peaceful protests have been tried. Colin Kaepernick’s kneel was peaceful. Then, point them to this thread and article which documents many, many, many instances of the police escalating and inciting violence.

4. You can donate to help out at these organizations:

5. And here is an EXCELLENT list of resources to help support the Minneapolis Protests.

6. You can call Mike Freeman, the DA responsible for bringing charges to the police officers. (612) 348-5550

This is a partial and small list. But if you do any #mathartchallenge do this one. I’d love for you to add any additional suggestions in the comments.

Black Lives Matter.

And don’t think that this means we can’t talk the 8 mathematical practices! We sure can.

Depending on how you use this activity, you may engage with different mathematical standards. I’ve listed possible connected math content above. Here are a few suggestions for how you might integrate the 8 mathematical practices. Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments! 

1.) Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. How will American society , which is still predominatly white, address the problems of systemic racism? What structural changes can be advocated for so Black Americans live freely and safely in our communities?

2.) Reason abstractly and quantitatively. Why are Black Americans proportionally overrepresented in interactions with police?

3.) Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. In the book, Weapons of Math Destruction, Cathy O’Neil examines the way in which some police departments use algorithms to determine where to send their officers. Study that phenomena and form an opinion as to the merits of those systems.

4.) Model with mathematics. How can you help those who may not yet see the disproportionate experiences Black Americans have with the police see that? What data is useful to collect? What is not? How is your data skewed or representative?

5.) Use appropriate tools strategically. What methods are available to you to help deconstruct systemic racism?

6.) Attend to precision. Avoid speaking in generalities. How is systemic racism present in your life? What can you do about it?

7.) Look for and make use of structure. In what ways is our society constructed in unfair ways? In what ways is it fair? What structures exist that you may or may not have yet noticed?

8.) Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning. There have been way too many names. The problem is not something we can ignore. How will you help?

#MathArtChallenge Day 61: Hilbert Curve

A Hilbert Curve

The challenge: Create a Hilbert curve.

Materials needed: Paper and pencil. Grid paper is helpful.
Math concepts you could explore with this challenge: exponents, fractals, geometry, sequences, symmetry, tessellations

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#MathArtChallenge Day 47: Origami Cube with Windows

The Challenge: Fold an origami cube with windows. Possibly make multiple. (This could be a great collaborative activity for a class!)

Materials needed: 12 pieces of paper, cut to rectangles with a 1:2 ratio.
Math concepts you could explore with this challenge: angles, geometry, origami, sequences, symmetry, vertices/intersections

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#MathArtChallenge Day 40: Flexagons

Several Flexagons.

The Challenge: Make you very own flexagon. Inspired today by this from @ayliean. Instructions from her below.

Materials Needed: Strips of paper, cloth, or some other foldable strip.
Math concepts you could explore with this challenge: graph theory, polygons, sequences, symmetry, topology

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#MathArtChallenge Day 37: Pascal’s Triangle Patterns

Blank Pascal's Triangle

The Challenge: Start by making (or use mine below) a Pascal’s Triangle. Then shade in some sequence of values. I suggest starting with even/odd numbers, and then perhaps multiple of 3, 4 etc.

Materials Needed: Pascal’s triangle. You can print one or you can create your own!
Math concepts you could explore with this challenge: algebra, arithmetic, combinations & permutations, counting, functions, proportions/ratios, sequences, symmetry

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#MathArtChallenge Day 32: Megan’s Spirals

A spiral created by connecting sequence values on a spiral chart of 1089 numbers.

The Challenge: Color a spiral of numbers. Or 3. Or fifty. (This one gets quite addictive.)

Materials Needed: A spiral chart. Two pdf versions are shown below.
Math concepts you could explore with this challenge: algebra, arithmetic, counting, functions, lines, sequences, symmetry

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#MathArtChallenge Day 31: MÖBIUS

A zippered Möbius strip.

The Challenge: If you have a math friend in your life, they’ve probably introduced you to Möbius strips. If you haven’t been introduced, my apologies, on behalf of all math teachers, for having failed you this far. Please, follow instructions below to create and then deconstruct a möbius strip.

Materials Needed: Strips of paper, possibly a zipper (note! If you choose to use a zipper, make sure it is completely detachable. Meaning that the two sides can actually separate. Some zippers are permanently connected at the bottom and will not work for this task.)
Math concepts you could explore with this challenge: knot theory, sequences, topology.

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