Friday, August 27, 2010

Math can help build a....Bridge over troubled waters....!!

Did you know Art Garfunkle has a masters in math?? He holds an MA in mathematics from Columbia. He started on his PhD, but quit in order to pursue a career in music

Many famous people studied mathematics at one point in their lives before going on to do other things for which they are more famous. It just goes to show that math is a great skill to have and use in life.
Listen to his classic tune Bridge Over Troubled Waters here

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Big Fat Zero!

Did you know the number zero was invented independently in India and by the Maya?

In India a decimal system was used, like ours, but they used an empty space for zero up to 3rd Century BC. This was confusing for an empty space was also used to separate numbers, and so they invented the dot for a zero. The first evidence for the use of the symbol that we now know as zero stems from the 7th century AD. The Maya invented the number zero for their calendars in the 3rd century AD. The number zero reached European civilisation through the Arabs after 800 AD. The Greek and Roman did not need the number zero for they did their calculations on an abacus.

Thanks to the folks at for posting this fact on their site!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ever think about the Design and Geometry of your Pasta???

Check out this book from Caz Hilderbrand & Jacob Kennedy;                                                  The Geometry of Pasta
Buy it on Amazon here

There are said to be over 300 shapes of pasta, each of which has a history, a story to tell, and an affinity with particular foods. These shapes have evolved alongside the flavours of local ingredients, and the perfect combination can turn an ordinary dish into something sublime. "The Geometry of Pasta" pairs over 100 authentic recipes from critically acclaimed chef, Jacob Kenedy, with award-winning designer Caz Hildebrand's stunning black-and-white designs to reveal the science, history and philosophy behind spectacular pasta dishes from all over Italy. A striking fusion of design and food, "The Geometry of Pasta" tells you everything you need to know about cooking and eating pasta like an Italian.

About the Author Designer and publisher CAZ HILDEBRAND is well known as the designer of sumptuous bestselling cookbooks by Nigella Lawson and Moro. JACOB KENEDY is the co-owner of Bocca di Lupo, recently voted London's best restaurant by both Time Out and the Evening Standard.

Overview and About the Aurthor from

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Math Shapes: Go Figure!: Creativity and Imagination are essential to Learning AND ESPICIALLY Math

Math Shapes: Go Figure!: Creativity and Imagination are essential to Learning AND ESPICIALLY Math

Creativity and Imagination are essential to Learning AND ESPICIALLY Math

We are so inspired by this blog post by Scott Noppe Brandon.  The post in its entirety is below, but i am especially struck by Shelly Carson's quote

“[t]he essence of creativity is the ability to combine disparate bits of information in novel and original ways to form new ideas"

Math is a beautiful lens to view the world through, some of the most gifted artists, saw the world mathematically.  Musicians, photographers, painters, architects, writers, poets, incorporate elements of math into the creation of their art.  They use light ratios in photography, scales and cords and measured beats for rhythm in music and poetry and measure and metrics are essential for painters and architects.

We must help our children be able to piece together information and knowledge so they can become the innovators of tomorrow.  Mathshapes Go Figure helps children to SEE and THINK math in all sorts of situations....!

 You Say “Creativity,” I Say “Imagination,” Let’s Not Call the Whole Thing Off

Posted on July 27, 2010 by Scott Noppe-Brandon

In a July 20 piece for The Huffington Post called “Creativity in the 21st Century,” Harvard research psychologist Shelley Carson writes about the urgent need for creativity in the globalized, technological, rapidly changing world of the 21st century. The starting point of her discussion is one of the conclusions reached at the recent G-20 summit in Toronto: “in order to attract investors, nations need to provide ‘an environment that promotes creativity.’” She goes on to talk about the role of creativity in different areas of life, some of which are particularly interesting to me because Eric Liu and I don’t deal with them in our book, Imagination First. These areas include the search for a job during an economic downturn, the quest for a mate in a new social landscape epitomized by Facebook, a parent’s task of instilling values in increasingly media-saturated children, and the modern struggle to manage one’s time and maintain one’s sense of balance. Carson asserts that creative thinking is crucial to success in each of these cases.

Reading the Carson’s arguments, I couldn’t help but think that these scenarios are inextricably bound up with imagination as well as with creativity. The two terms are, after all, often used interchangeably in contemporary discourse. Carson concludes with a “creative tip” for all of us: read about a variety of topics and increase your interests, because “[t]he essence of creativity is the ability to combine disparate bits of information in novel and original ways to form new ideas.” This is the very thinking behind the seventh imaginative practice in Imagination First, “Hoard Bits.” Whether we choose to think in terms of “imagination” or in terms of “creativity,” we must remember that what’s really at stake here is a way of life characterized by courageous openness to possibility.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Are We There Yet?? Making time in the car fun!!

How long is the drive to your favorite vacation spot? How many times do you say “settle down back there?” If you have a good distance to go, take advantage of the time to discover the use of numbers along the way:

  • Look for different route signs in a 10-minute time span. Whoever spies the largest wins the game. If your children are older, you can have them add or multiply the digits on the route signs.
  • Count to 20 by finding the numbers 1 to 20 on various signs. You can always extend the activity by increasing the number.
  • Count specific things: green cars, mini-vans, etc. There are hundreds of things to count.
These are just a few things you can try to keep the children engaged on a long car ride.  Enjoy the rest of the summer!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Numbers Numbers, Everywhere!

Fun Fact of the Day: Today, just after 5 o'clock, it will be 05:06:07 08/09/10. This won't happen again until 3010! Our thanks to National Lab Day for Tweeting this!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Winnie from the Wonder years knows that "Math Does Not Suck"!

Winnie from the The Wonder Years, otherwise known as Danica McKeller, loves math like we do!

She has published three books about math geared towards middle school girls. Her first book, Math Doesn't Suck: How to Survive Middle-School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail, then Kiss My Math:Showing Pre-Algerbra Who's Boss, and now her latest book, Hot X: Algebra Exposed. She presents math lessons in the style of a teen magazine.

A summa cum laude graduate of UCLA with a degree in Mathematics, she is a qualified expert in mathematics. Danica has been honored in Britain's esteemed Journal of Physics and the New York Times for her work in mathematics.

Check out her website
As Winnie Cooper ...

...And today

She is passionate about girls succeeding in math, and being confient about being smart.  We love that!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Can I get your digits? Where these numbers came from...

Do you know why numbers look like they do? Someone, at some point in time, had to create their shapes and meaning. Watch this short presentation and then you will know how our Arabic numbers were originally created a very long time ago and what logic the people that created them used to determine their shapes. It is really very simple and quite creative.

Click Here to see a video about how the numbers we use today came about!

You have to admire the intelligence of a person or people that created something so simple and perfect that it has lasted for thousands and thousands of years and will probably never change.

When the presentation gets to the number "seven" you will notice that the 7 has a line through the middle of it. That was the way the Arabic 7 was originally written, and in Europe and certain other areas they still write the 7 that way. Also, in the military, they commonly write it that way. The nine has a kind of curly tail on it that has been reduced, for the most part nowadays, to a simple curve, but the logic involved still applies.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hello World!

We love Math!  How uncool is that? 

The population of math lovers is plummeting and our mission is to grow it! 

As adults, we think we have forgotten the math we learned long ago in school. We think we use computers and calculators so we "don't use math anymore" and therefore cannot help our kids learn math.  This is simply untrue.  

This blog intends to inspire you to help our students become the creative, problem solving, critical thinkers they need to be in today's world.  We intend to inspire you with thoughts and ideas about mathematics, learning, education and the world we live in.

A year ago we began selling MathShapes: Go Figure! , our smart and unique, at-home math enrichment program. Go Figure! gives parents everything they need to help their children at home with the math they are learning in school. Each grade level kit provides a year’s worth of material empowering parents and children to see, think, visualize and touch math in their everyday lives! This multi-faceted approach to learning provides an understanding of math concepts far beyond traditional computation exercises. When students are given the opportunity to “think mathematically” a whole new world opens, and success in math is inevitable!

The program was developed by Ellen Mulligan and Tracey Knerr, passionate and professional educators in the field of mathematics. Every day we balance our checkbooks, cook, buy fuel efficient cars, and use a myriad of technologies that require us to “think mathematically.” Our children will need to be able to do the same. We have witnessed the transformational effects of engaged and empowered parents in the process of learning math. Parents who use Go Figure! share that the program eliminated the need for math tutoring, easily translated their children’s curriculum into the concepts they remembered learning in school and resulted in better math grades.

Please check us out online at