Category: Math and Science

String design, ellipses, and orbital mechanics

Artistic way to encourage understanding of a conic section.  Participants physically build an ellipse by choosing two foci and sketching the figure through a loop of string. While stitching an elliptical string design they puzzle about varying the foci spread and the loop length to create more extreme ellipses and are intuitively introduced to the measurement of eccentricity.

Coronavirus trends

Johns Hopkins University of Medicine has a team that maintains current maps and data about the Coronavirus.  They record changes and show trends of the virus activity throughout the World. Enjoy exploring the data, all of the visual mappings, and…

Summer Solstice, the longest day

Saturday, June 20th, 2020 Sunrise on summer solstice at Stonehenge On Saturday, June 20th, at 5:44 pm EDT, the Earth’s North Pole will be tilted as far towards the Sun as it will ever be in the year.  This marks the…

A socially-distanced party

I risked infecting my friends or becoming infected myself by throwing a very small socially-distanced party.  I served baked appetizers, disinfectant wipes, and latex gloves.  I cooked while wearing clean latex gloves and served the appetizers with a spatula.  The…

May 27th launch from the U.S. again

NASA and SpaceX plan to launch humans from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, to the International Space Station for the first time since July 11, 2011. This is a more current events activity than mathematical.

The AQI – Air Quality Index

See how much particulate matter, low-lying ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide there is in the world’s atmosphere at any one time and place. Students learn about the scale of the AQI and search for some of the contributors to unhealthy locations.

Microns and Masks

How big is a coronavirus cell? How big is a micron? How well do these masks protect against the virus? What can you observe about the size of particles mentioned? Why are we wearing masks?

Celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day (3 activities)

Finding 4-leaf clovers! Shamrocks in Ireland are actually be 3-leafed white clover, trifolium repens. If you are lucky, you can sometimes find a four-leafed clover.  How rare is finding a 4-leafed clover?  How hard do you have to look?  What…

The R-naught number of the coronavirus

We’re still learning about the coronavirus and its ability to and tendencies toward infection and spread. Students learn about the R-naught number which is a measure of infectious growth. Real-world mathematics!

Gonna be a Leap Year

By George C. Baxley

This year we will add the 29th of February to our year?  Why do we do that?  How can you tell?  What if we didn’t add a day every 4 years? Calendar math and flow charts.

The Times Square ball

On New Year’s Eve, the iconic Times Square ball will descend to mark the start of year 2020. The ball isn’t really a ball. It is a geodesic icosahedron. What does that mean and how do you transform an icosahedron into this ball?