Jan 09 2016

Fractions Made Visible – and Fun

Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons The aptly named website, “Visual Fractions,” shows fraction concepts and operations the way I teach them – from a visual basis. Although it is standard for math curricula to introduce fractions visually, most of them drop the visualization too early. Worse, when many children are just starting to grasp these concepts, they are expected to move onto the next ones before they have practiced and explored enough to feel confident and remember what they need to do. The “Visual Fractions” website not only… Read more

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Sep 17 2015

New Osmo Game

Osmo®, the educational game platform that incorporates actual, hands-on pieces while giving software-based feedback and enhancements, has a new game for teaching basic math concepts and operations, called “Numbers.” As I mentioned in a previous post, Osmo uses the camera on an iPad to “see” which game pieces the player(s) have put in front of it. The creators of “Numbers” attempt to avoid math anxiety by incorporating flexibility and creativity, avoiding time limits, and building in options for collaboration and fun…. Read more

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Sep 16 2014

Cash Gifting Systems Exploit Math Illiteracy

Category: MathematicsAdmin @ 8:17 pm

Math-phobic children often grow up to be math-phobic adults. Math-phobic adults are sometimes exploited for their money, even if they do not have much of it. Although Spark a Playful Mind is mostly about children and learning, I want discuss one of the many “get-rich-quick” schemes my friend recently introduced me to, because it shows the value of playing with mathematics in grown-up life. This one falls into the category of a “cash gifting system” (known also by similar names, such as the “cash tracking system”). It is a variation on… Read more

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Sep 16 2014

A Simplistic Mathematical Model of a Cash Gifting System

Category: MathematicsAdmin @ 1:58 pm

Introduction A gifting system, in its purist form, sells no goods or services, but promises to make you money through the people you recruit to sign up. Below is a simple mathematical model showing how, in principle, such a system cannot go on forever. There will always be people who lose money. On the other hand, there will also be people who make money (so why not you?) The model below is unrealistic because it does not concentrate money in the hands of the few the way real-world gifting systems operate. My model is the best one could… Read more

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