How much will it cost this year to go back to school?

Back to school spending is huge and students might not appreciate what it costs to send them back to, essentially, their job of learning.  In this activity students decide what equipment and supplies are necessary, estimate how much that will all cost, confer with classmates to refine their lists, and then research to find out more accurately how much it will probably cost to send them back to school.  This activity could be used for students in upper elementary school all the way to high school.  It offers an opportunity for kids to estimate, research, reason, calculate and communicate with each other. 

The new R-naught number

Click on this image to see it larger in a new window.

There's a number used to quantify how fast a virus will spread, the R-naught number.  As the coronavirus spread though out the world, we saw how the threat of infection was measured and understood the mathematics of judging how a population would be affected.

Now we're plagued with the Delta variant of the coronavirus.  What was the original virus' R-naught number and what has it become?

The drag in swimming – 5 Olympics activities

USA swimmer, Katie Ledecky

Compression swimwear

To win in Olympic swimming, contestants have to be incredibly fit and have marvelous endurance and technique.  Do they also need to consider the science of their motions and their equipment?

Could your swimsuit, swim cap and goggles be holding you back?

This activity is about drag and one method for calculating drag.  Students observe what increases or decreases drag and how each element of drag directly, directly squared, or inversely affects a swimmer's performance.

Olympic Skateboarding + more

Huston Nyjah

We are very excited to see skateboarding as an event in the Tokyo Olympics.  Skateboarding is athletic, artistic and difficult to master.  Why has it taken so long to become an Olympic sport?  What events will you be able to watch?  How are skateboard runs and tricks judged? Is there a possibility of bias in the judging? ... and who is well-known that we should make sure to  watch?

The activity: Skateboarding.pdf

Beautiful mathematics


Pythagorean triples are not only handy for students to recognize but produce some interesting and lovely patterns. We've combined a little coloring with our Pythagorean Triple pattern investigation to let your students relax while they color, view the beauty, and recognize the progression.

Simply coloring our Fibonacci patterns might allow students to ponder the Fibonacci sequence (while they learn more about its beauty) and just relax while creating a pretty image. We've given you colorless patterns that students can shade in their own way (for a simple coloring project) or you can use our Fibonacci Project document to allow students to create these patterns themselves.

Students explore the patterns of perfect squares and Pythagorean Triples as they analyze our piece of art and decide why the resulting construction looks like spiraling squares. For a finale they color their own spiraling triple.

First ask students to color in our Golden Spiral by giving them the hexadecimal codes of the colors that we want them to use. Then help them begin to understand which number weights between 00 and FF have the strongest values and how they blend.

As students begin working with the Pythagorean theorem let them create a little art project that help them actually see a segment of length square root of 2. Drawing this irrational number spiral is beautiful and motivating.

Students use polar graph paper and calculate the size of each increasing round of squares. They consider what sort of spiral this makes and find spirals within spirals.

Students investigate Pascal's triangle and the many useful patterns that it contains. The triangle is explored for patterns, coloring, and motivation to learn more about modular arithmetic (clock math).
What is happening here?
Students watch this tree grow and explore its fractal nature. They get a taste of Python computer language as they decipher the repeats and scaling of a drawing program.

Students physically build an ellipse by choosing two foci and sketching the ensuing figure through a loop of string. While stitching this elliptical string design, they puzzle about the effect of varying the foci spread and the string length. They are intuitively introduced to the measurement of eccentricity.

How do you find the area of a heart? Get your students to calculate how many sequins you'll need to order to create this mother's day class project.

Use our hexagonal grid paper to create a lovely Pascal triangle and investigate where Pascal's triangle can help you with binomial expansions.

Explore parametric equations in the construction of this heart. Students figure the coordinates of this figure using trigonometric unit triangles. They simplify and accelerate this task with either a graphing calculator or online software like Desmos or GraphSketch.com.

Students explore 4 different ways of creating this cardioid ... Using our polar graph paper, with magnetic disks, on their graphing calculators, or with polar graph paper and a compass.

Students measure and create whole number ratios for the official U.S. flag. They decide how their artistic flags will be different from the official flag and make stars from regular pentagons. They finally create their own flag.

This time use Pascal's triangle to explore probability. We used coin tosses. When the combinations get too complicated to list, students use the numbers in Pascal's Triangle to ease their work.

Students can learn to make cardstock polyhedra and assemble their nets and creations. This is from Leslie's old site on building polyhedra.

Drawing and coloring a Fibonacci patterns might allow students to ponder the Fibonacci sequence (while they learn more about its beauty) and just relax while creating a pretty image. We've given you colorless patterns that students can shade in their own way (for a simple coloring project) or you can use our Fibonacci Project document to allow students to create these patterns themselves.



Students can learn to make cardstock polyhedra and assemble their nets and creations. This is from Leslie's old site on building polyhedra.