5-8, 6-12, Art, Careers, Computer Science, Education, Math, Teaching Tools, Websites


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Mathigon is a website that explores and displays the true beauty of mathematics. The site is relatively new, and still has some parts that are under construction.  However, there are plenty of features that are ready to use right now.

Mathigon includes an e-book called World of Mathematics that can also be downloaded as a Chrome app. It is full of wonderful information, activities, and animations.

Along with its e-book, Mathigon currently provides 6 other slideshows and activities, with 3 more that are “under development.”  My favorite two of the completed projects are, “Alice in FractalLand” and “Maths Treasure Hunt.”  The second one offers resources for teachers and wonderful graphic printables to engage upper elementary and/or secondary students.

“Alice in FractalLand” is a delightful slide show that uses footage from the Disney film and integrates some of what I term “Masterpieces of Mathematics.”  The Fibonacci sequence, Pascal’s triangle, and fractals are all included in this digital adventure.  (If you would like some other resources for these topics, here are some links to posts I have done in the past: Fibonacci, Mensa for Kids, The Twelve Days of Christmas, and Nature By Numbers.  You also might be interested in this Rainbow Loom Fibonacci link that I recently got from the fabulous TechChef4U.)

Got a student fascinated with origami?  Try Mathigon’sMathematical Origami” link. (You can click on the “i” underneath each picture for folding instructions.)

Or perhaps you want to show the applications of mathematics in various careers, including sports?  Try Mathigon’s “Panorama” tool.

For anyone who has a passion for math – or even shows potential for a passion for math – Mathigon is a site that will be welcomed and enjoyed.


3-12, Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking, Education, Math, Teaching Tools, Videos

Vi Hart

photo credit: thane via photopin cc
photo credit: thane via photopin cc

I mentioned last week that I would do a post about the Vi Hart videos.  It is probably that many of you already know about Vi Hart, but if this post introduces even one more new person to her genius, then it is worth it.

If you look at Vi Hart’s Wikipedia entry, you will see that she calls herself a “Full-Time Recreational Mathemusician”.  She has her own YouTube Channel, and also partners with Khan Academy to create videos about math.  To put it simply, Vi Hart makes math entertaining.

My students particularly enjoy her Fibonacci series (here is a link to Part 1).  As I mentioned last week, she has become their math hero, and when they designed their own math museums, many of them dedicated rooms to her.

You can learn more about how Vi Hart films her videos by going here:  http://www.ebsstudios.com/vi-hart.html, or watching the video I have embeddeded below.

3-12, Critical Thinking, Education, Math, Problem Solving, Teaching Tools, Videos, Websites

The Twelve Days of Christmas


First of all, I would like it on the record that I despise “The Twelve Days of Christmas” song.  Repetition makes me snore.  I do like the Straight No Chaser version, though…

Anyway, I am sorry to post this so late, but I just devised this lesson yesterday.  Maybe you can file it away to use next year.

My 4th grade gifted students are studying mathematical masterpieces.  We had looked at the Fibonacci series earlier this year, and a couple of days ago, I stumbled across an interesting lesson that ties Pascal’s Triangle in with “The Twelve Days of Christmas”.  We spent half our day: creating the triangle, finding patterns in the triangle, finding Fibonacci in the triangle, trying to make sense of a Vi Hart video about the triangle, and using the triangle to figure out how many gifts were actually bought each day.

Then, I lucked upon this awesome website that has a fabulous interactive which tells the current going rate of each gift in the song.  You know a site is good when the kids are begging you for the URL and writing it down so they can access it as soon as they get home.  It’s really fun to use if you have an Interactive White Board.  Although this does not tie in directly with Pascal’s Triangle, you can use this nifty recording sheet to figure out the actual total cost of all of the gifts for the year 2012.  I had my students estimate the cost of each gift before we looked at the web site.  They were pretty close to the totals for buying each gift once – but had a hard time conceiving the cost of buying the gifts multiple times (like 12 partridges in pear trees).

You may not have a chance in the next couple of days to use every resource that I’ve linked here, but I highly recommend you visit PNC’s Christmas Price Index Gift Hunt.  You may be surprised at the cost of 8 maids milking!

Education, Independent Study, K-12, Teaching Tools, Websites

Mensa for Kids Lesson Plans


I have posted about the Mensa for Kids website before, but did not emphasize the fact that there is a section of the site that provides lesson plans for gifted children.  The Lesson Plans section offers at least one enrichment lesson for each grade level from Kindergarten to 10th grade.  It also has a unit on “The Power of Invention” that could be adapted to several different levels.  Including such topics as Fibonacci, Hurricanes, and using Music Lyrics to teach, this is a great resource for teachers who are looking for ways to extend learning for gifted kids.

3-12, Art, Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking, Math, Multiple Intelligences, Music, Science, Teaching Tools, Videos


The mysterious Fibonacci pattern can be a great way to hook students into both math and science. Here is a fun video from YouTube that shows the connection, and a link to some Fibonacci lesson plans integrating music.

Direct YouTube Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahXIMUkSXX0

Art, K-12, Math, Teaching Tools, Videos, Websites

Nature By Numbers

This is the week of video posts, so here is your third one – an absolutely stunning video that visually relates how nature and math are absolutely connected.  This video was brought to my attention by a fellow teacher, Shari M., who knew that my gifted students would enjoy it as much as I would.

Nature by Numbers from Cristóbal Vila on Vimeo.

You could: pause this movie after the number pattern to see if your students can identify the pattern, have them research Fibonacci, challenge them to list all of the natural objects represented, ask them to find other items in nature that have connections to this pattern.

The creator of this video has an amazing website that explains the math, shows stills of his work in progress, and more.