An article and recipe (YUM!) to share…
Friday, April 19th, 2013
Tuesday, March 5th, 2013
The one-and-only, marvelous math-convert, Jama Rattigan, has posted a wonderful review of “Eat Your Math Homework: Recipes for Hungry Minds” on her “Alphabet Soup blog”. Thanks so much, Jama! The review is delicious!
Please check it out here:
Monday, February 4th, 2013
Okay, so it’s been a little while since I have posted. . . But, I thought I’d do something a little different (and a lot fun). Here is a poem (disclaimer: I’m not a poet so read at your own peril) to get your creative juices flowing. What kind of alien food can you can come up with? That’s it– no rules about ingredients, length, style, or difficulty. Just… a recipe that you consider out of this world! Please leave a comment with your name and recipe and I will randomly choose a winner who will win a free copy of EAT YOUR MATH HOMEWORK: RECIPES FOR HUNGRY MINDS. Whoo Hoo! I can’t wait to see what you come up with. This event will close Feb. 28, 2013. Have fun!
A boy didn’t burp in a world far away
Didn’t sleep in the night, or wake up during day
He didn’t have toenails, so no need to be clipped
He didn’t wear pants, so no need to stay zipped
He didn’t get haircuts; he didn’t have hair
(But his noses were handsome; he had a nice pair)
He looked oh-so-different; his world was quite wrong
He talked in a talk that sounded like song.
There was just one thing that made a connection
A scrumptiously sweet alien kind of confection
Cause that far-away being- his name was Zagook
Loved to eat food and even knew how to cook.
One day came some guests, in two real UFO’s
Zagook ran to his kitchen to make Sloppy-Joes
For he knew that the aliens had made a long trek
They were prob’ly all starving, having come a parsec
Zagook served up a feast to ensure good relations
Between the realm of Zubooks, and all human nations
Will you share all your recipes? We love every one!
Zagook smiled as he said, “Consider it done!”
The following is a cookbook, Zagook put together
(He cut out the pages and bound them in leather)
You can share this good food and some interesting data
Remember: some say tomato and some say tomata!
Sunday, October 7th, 2012
A few weeks ago, I had the distinct pleasure of being able to do an author talk at the Damascus Library Sleep Over. Boy, was I in for a pleasant surprise! This cherished event has been going on for years and years– I forget just how many– and I believe the organizers when they say that families plan around the date of this annual event. The kids were so excited (and so was I!). By the time I got there, they had already staked out their sleeping areas with sheets over the bookshelves to make ‘forts’ and cozy sleeping bags laid out on the floor underneath. I told the story of Fibonacci rabbits and then had participants make Fibonacci Snack Sticks. We next made a probability line where children had to answer questions like “Will you get extra allowance this week?” Or, “Will an alien pop out of the ceiling?” They stood at the appropriate point on the line: beside Mrs. No Way, next to Mr. Yes, or somewhere in between. To enhance the idea of probability, especially experimental and theoretical probability, participants sampled some tasty Probability Trail Mix (And learned about the mathematics of probability). All in all, it was a fun, fun, fun evening. Here are some pictures to prove the point!
Saturday, September 8th, 2012
What: Math and Food– Math and Fun!
Rabbits making patterns. Aliens popping up from the book stack– Impossible? Probable? Likely? Tessellating Brownies. Books. Math. Food. . .
These are just a few of the topics and activities to look forward to during this event for ages 6 to 106. The event promises to whet your whistle with tasty math treats while having fun– and learning some pretty neat stuff along the way!
13065 Chinn Park Drive, Prince William, VA 22192
When: Saturday, September 22, 2012 at 2:00 p.m.
Who: Anyone from 6 to 106 years old who likes math (or who wants to like math)
Hope to see you there!
Saturday, August 25th, 2012
A quick ‘math’ story for you:
Once upon a time there was a girl who loved to garden. This girl liked to work in the garden to plant peas, weed watermelon, and grown all sorts of tasty and interesting fruits and vegetables. In fact, not only did this girl have a green thumb, her whole hand was green!
On the first day of fall, the girl went into her garden to pluck some peas. There in front of her, merrily munching on some carrots, was ONE PAIR of bunnies Well, the bunnies were very cute, and the girl was very kind, so she let them be (A different kind of person may have shoo-ed them from the garden, but not this girl).
On the second day of fall, the girl went to her garden again. This time, low and behold, those baby bunnies had turned to full-sized adult rabbits! But… they were still cute, so she let that ONE PAIR alone. After all, what were a few cabbages? She didn’t mind if they ate some of the vegetables.
On the third day, the girl couldn’t wait to get out to her garden. This time, she was all set to prune the parsnip. She looked around for her rabbits, but instead of seeing just one pair of rabbits, there were now TWO PAIRS– an adult pair and a pair of babies. Hmmm…
The fourth day of fall was another lovely day, and so the girl went into her garden once again. “Oh my goodness!” she exclaimed. Not only were there the original adult rabbits, but the new bunnies had grown into adults and then the originals had had another set of baby bunnies. Now there were THREE PAIRS of rabbits and bunnies.
You kind of get the picture, right? The fifth day came along and there were FIVE PAIRS of rabbits and bunnies; the next day there were EIGHT PAIRS of rabbits, and so on, and so on, and so on.
If this pattern were to continue, how many rabbits and bunnies would soon be in this girl’s garden?
This story, my friends, describes an adaptation of the rabbit problem that Leonardo Fibonacci, a mathematician who lived hundreds of years ago in Italy, is so famous for. He was studying a math problem not too different from the scenario described here when he stumbled across this special pattern of numbers. Take a look at this interesting sequence:
1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8 . . .
What comes next, but more importantly, how do you determine that next term in the sequence?
(If you said that 13 comes next and it’s because you always add the previous two terms to get the next, you would be 100% correct!)
You can read a math fairytale to explore this fun Fibonacci rabbit problem:
Or, you can explore the pattern further by creating a delicious math recipe called Fibonacci Snack Sticks. . .
Fibonacci (and pattern) is just plain fun. Quick, run out and see how the rabbit population is growing in your neighborhood park or backyard!
Saturday, July 21st, 2012
Take a bite of delicious– and explore math at the same time!
Food and math add up to a whole lot of fun! And, pairing these two things is easy. For example, to introduce patterns, you can start with one of the most famous sequences of all time: The Fibonacci Sequence. In this famous pattern of numbers, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8. . . etc, the rule is to add the previous two terms to get the next. Here is a demo of how you can use fruit on a stick to make edible kebobs of the pattern. (Check out the whole activity in EAT YOUR MATH HOMEWORK: RECIPES FOR HUNGRY MINDS)
A kebob stick is only so long. But, how about putting several sticks together and trying to continue the pattern? (Use small pieces of fruit, or raisins, miniature marshmallows, gummy bears, etc.) How long can you go until the numbers get ridiculously large?
What, or more accurately, WHO was Fibonacci? Find out more about this famous man and how, exactly, he became so interested in the sequence that now bares his name.
Monday, May 28th, 2012
Minutes until the bus comes, amount of money leftover for ice-cream, number of homework assignments due before Tuesday. . . Every day we have plenty of things to count and keep track of. Good thing we have numbers and paper to help us. But what about a society that had NO symbols to represent numbers? How would they keep track?
Rewind about 800 years and take a trip to the Inca Empire. These people had no way to write down numbers– no paper– and no symbols to represent numbers yet. The emperor of the time lived in the capital city of Cuzco. His huge empire, called Tahuantinsuyu (TA-wan-tin-suyu), was connected by a system of roads that joined the four quarters of the empire. The emperor and his family were very rich because they collected taxes from the people who lived throughout this empire. But how could the tax-collectors keep track of all that money they collected with no written numbers?
In Mesopotamia (Modern day Middle East), people at first used pebbles to represent numbers, and then later clay tablets with number symbols carved onto them. They could carry these tablets with them to keep track of the amounts of things.
In the Inca Empire, it was a long way from each of the quarters of the empire to the capital city. It would be hard to carry around all those heavy clay tablets. What do you think the Inca people used to keep track instead?
Introducing the QUIPU!
There are plenty of llamas in South America, right? Instead of using clay tablets, the Inca people used what was readily available: wool from all those llamas. Now, this quipu might look like a mop, but it was actually an elaborate system of knots to represent numbers. Here’s how it worked:
First, several strings were tied to a top cord. A group of knots were tied in the cord at various positions to represent numbers. The placement of the knots was important. For example, the knots on the bottom of the string represented units (ones) and the next highest cluster of knots meant tens. Next was the hundreds place and so on. In the example here, the number is 586. That is, a cluster of 6 knots in the ones place, a group of 8 knots in the tens place and 5 knots together in the hundreds place.
Like our own numbers, the Inca people used a system where the position of the knots made a difference in what number was represented. (We call this a positional number system)
Can you create your own quipu?
What to Do:
Lay a sturdy cord horizontally on a flat surface. (Give yourself plenty of room)
Tie 3 or 4 pieces of string so that they are perpendicular (vertical) to the top cord. Start at the bottom. Tie a few knots closely together. These are your ones. Leave an inch or two and tie another cluster of knots closely together. These are your tens. Finally, leaving another inch or two of space, tie a third cluster of knots. These will represent the hundreds.
What knotty number did you create?
Wednesday, May 16th, 2012
The Gaithersburg Book Festival is just around the corner and is even bigger and better this year– I hear that Jud Ashman and the organization committee is going for 20,000+ attendees! Go, Gaithersburg Book Festival!
Here’s a teaser from this morning’s Fox5 news. Mayor Katz and Gaithersburg Elementary fourth graders Nicholas and Giselle help make Tessellating Two-Color Brownies while Fox5′s Holly Morris reports on Eating Math!
Here’s the link:
Here’s hoping the weather is terrific! (But eating math can be done rain or shine!)
Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012
The Gaithersburg Book Festival is just around the corner (Is it really already May?!). Eat Your Math Homework: Recipes for Hungry Minds will make an appearance. Please join me at 11:30 to 12:00 on May 19 in the Willa Cather Pavilion to cook up some tasty math and have some mathy fun. We’ll be sampling probability with Probability Trail Mix and counting bunnies to figure out the Fibonacci Number Sequence. Lots of freebies to give away, too!
And, just to make things even more exciting, please stay tuned for Fox 5′s morning news on May 16. As a pre-festival teaser, I’ll be cooking up some Tessellating Two-Color Brownies. Yum!! See you then!