Stephanie Twedt, ‘Doah Contributing Writer
October 1, 2014
Could math really be just addition, subtraction, algebra, geometry, trigonometry or any other ‘try?’ No way! Thanks to the FYS class, “Games, Puzzles and More, the Universal Language of Numbers,” math is shown to have a fun side, too. In this class, students play fun games and listen to guest speakers in order to understand the importance of math in our world.
The class went to the Arts and Crafts Festival to teach children how to play simple math-based games, including Origami, Tangrams, Tower of Hanoi and even the Rubiks cube. The class objective was to share how much fun math can be and how it can be used without even thinking about it.
On the first day, the Origami and Tower of Hanoi group worked together to attract children to the table, handing out prizes to anyone who could successfully fold a paper ghost or move all three blocks to another pole. The origami group had prepared a colorful poster filled with paper animals and other shapes and instructions on how to create three simple works of art. After some assistance with the folding, the children got to keep their creations and take another small prize as a reminder of how hard work pays off. In the Tower of Hanoi, children were instructed to move three blocks to another pole, but the catch was only one block could be moved a time; a larger one could not be on a smaller one. If the children finished three rings, they could add a fourth one, and if they completed that, they could do a fifth ring. The children were given a small prize afterwards as a way to say ‘you did it.’
On the second day, the Tangrams group and Rubiks cube group had their chance to shine. In the tangrams game, the children could create whatever shape they wanted with the help of seven different shaped tiles. The shapes created were as different as the number of children who tried the game out. During the Rubiks cube game, the children could help the students solve a cube, and while difficult, paid off with a small prize.
The idea beneath the table was to teach children that simple games are just as fun, and possibly even more fun than playing with complex toys or mom and dad’s iPhone. The students seemed pleased with how well the fair went, teaching them a little bit about how sharing small things can make a big difference.