Our look at math conjectures continues with Goldbach’s Conjecture, which states that all even integers greater than 2 can be written as the sum of two primes. Is this true for all cases? Another authentic, unsolved question.
A “conjecture” is an idea that is believed to be true, but has not yet been proven. They are authentic unanswered questions for students to explore. The Collatz Conjecture uses two simple rules to get from any number to 1. It seems to work for all numbers…
Pi Day is just around the corner, but the typical fare include π art projects, memorization challenges, or other activities that separate π from its real uses. But π is such a fascinating topic that it should inspire curiosity and wonder on its own.
What if you want to buy a big gift that’s cheap for its size? By calculating the volume of the object, we can find how much each cubic inch costs. Measured by price per volume, Thomas is 250 times more expensive than a big outdoor slide!
Sometimes you encounter that math student who is simply interested in numbers. Here are some famous (and not so famous) sets of numbers that have curious properties.
Sometimes I find authentic data, but it doesn’t necessarily have an obvious conflict. The measurements of the Great Pyramid are cool, but where’s the conflict? What draws students in if they’re not inherently interested in pyramids?
Struggling math students shut down when they’re smacked with a mouthful of academic vocabulary right away. So lower the barrier of entry. Ask students to identify the conflict between two shapes, rather than defining “congruent sides” and “bisected diagonals.”
As a teenager, I loved monitoring the weekend’s box office results. This kind of data is exciting, oozing with built in conflict. It sets up questions that require math to answer.
Let’s develop a math project to challenge students who have demonstrated a mastery of multiplication and are ready to explore its applications. We’ll count the parking spaces in the Disneyland parking structure!
Sure, these may be games at heart, but you can take them to the next level by requiring students to develop strategies, write them out, and then use them to challenge you to a match! Unlike a game of chess, each of these activities are incredibly simple, so students can quickly formulate and test strategies.