CHOMP

As part of the sMOOC/online course I’m taking, we’re all reflecting on a site called Math Munch.

Every week, they (it?) post(s) on 3 mathematical topics. This week, it was the Coastline Paradox, Clueless Puzzles and Beach Art. Last week, it was honeycombs, a polyhedron called the rhombic dodecahedron and a game called Microtone.

And now, an unrelated image (’cause: child of the 80s):

Image

What I like about Math Munch

  • Extra resources. I’m liking the resources and background information that Math Munch provides. More often than not, I find myself clicking on these links to find out more about the chosen topics which is great because many of the topics are new or are concepts that I don’t know much about.
  • Short and sweet. When reading Math Much, I don’t feel overwhelmed the way I did when slogging through 20+ page articles for graduate school. Similarly, I appreciate that Math Munch only covers 3 topics a week. In an ideal world, I’d find more time to do my own research on math. But in the reality of the teaching world, learning about 3 new topics seems like enough without being overwhelming (see prior point about being to extend research through links as needed).
  • Hands on and Theoretical Content. I’m liking that some themes are very practical while others are more theoretical. I find myself still thinking about the Coastline Paradox and feel that students (at least where I live, where we are relatively near the beach) could access this idea. At the same time, I like that many of these ideas are more theoretical, such as prime gaps and Fermat’s Last Theorem. While I have a harder time wrapping my head around theory, I know that it’s important to understand (and be able to explain to students) and that there’s some good background reading to get started here. I also like that most of the posts have a hands-on component (the nets for the rhombic dodecahedron) and that there are games (I’m especially eyeing this section for my class next year)
  • History of Math. I’m liking that Math Munch is connecting math to history and to people. I feel like none of my math classes talked about the history of math, which I’m learning is a big part of how math came to be. Incidentally, one of my students last year kept asking “who invented math?” and I never had an answer for him (until now?). Incidentally, I’m thinking there must be “modernized” drawings of mathematicians somewhere – sketches that depict them as real people rather than the fancy, wig-wearers we usually see (not that these pictures aren’t valid, but I feel like my students think of them as distant, historical figures)

What I’m Still Wrapping My Head Around

  • How exactly to use Math Munch in a classroom. I can see some great uses for this as an extension/differentiation technique or at lunch/during advisory (all teachers at the school I’m at next year meet with a small group of students 4 days a week). I’m still trying to wrap my head around how to integrate this directly into the classroom curriculum, both because our curriculum is arranged in specific units and because we’ll most likely be trying to milk every precious minute out of the classroom. Incidentally, I’m also trying to wrap my head around our curriculum for next year, so the timing on these 2 may work out. I do know that we have a unit on tesselation, which was one of the topics from Math Munch, so…)
  • How to connect to the larger Math Munch community. Or how to work with other people who are using Math Munch. This is more of a question of what I want to do about this. There are other math teachers in the same sMOOC who will likely be looking at and using Math Munch. I know a few math teachers in my area who might be open to using Math Munch or at least bouncing ideas off the drawing board, or however the saying goes. 

What do you think of Math Munch? Any ideas for how I should attempt to integrate it into next year’s classroom?

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One thought on “CHOMP

  1. Hi Nicholas,

    I’m with you on still figuring out how exactly to incorporate MM into my classroom when you feel the pressure to keep moving in some shortest-distance path every day. It sounds like that “small group of students” thing might be a good place to try it out though! Then you can show something cool and word will spread.

    As for finding other teachers into MM, you might seek out a math teachers’ circle. Even if they don’t read MM, it’s nice to have a community of teachers interesting in doing math together. See http://www.mathcircles.org/.

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