Saturday, May 3, 2014

Math fun: Exploring radial symmetry

I'm not at all artsy-craftsy, I don't do many educational activities with my children, and I've never bothered trying to make education fun for them.   Really, when we sit down together to read and talk about books we love, that is in itself so fun that I don't have to figure out how to make it fun. 

So this is something that's really out of character for me.

During the month of April, the kids and I took the Natural Math Multiplication course offered by the bloggers at Moebius Noodles.  Each week there were five suggested activities to do with your children in order to "learn multiplication by exploring patterns and structure."  It's been a lot of fun.

This was one of the activities suggested for Week 3.

First we made a couple of mirror books, then I set them up on the table and placed a single object in front of each one to see what they would do with them.  My 15 year old daughter immediately used a few more pencils to build a tree fractal (we had studied tree fractals the previous week).



Changing the angle of the mirrors changes the number of reflections and makes the pattern look really different:






A really acute angle is so dark inside that it's hard to see the reflections, so they brought out the flashlight




and played around with chess men.

It's bigger on the inside



They had so much fun with it that they spent well nearly two hours half just playing with the mirrors and lights and random household objects, and they set it back up again after supper to show it to their daddy and older siblings. 


Infinite teacups



"So, what's the point of doing fun math activities with your children instead of doing, you know, math?"

That's a very good question!  I'm so glad you asked. :-D 

But it will have to be answered in my next post.

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