After surviving another wonderful Thanksgiving in NYC, I experienced once again the crazy pace of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Terrific Tuesday (I made that last one up). In negotiating extensively with several companies over the weekend, I once again was faced with hundreds of mathematical calculations using every operation (+-x/). Although calculations were critical, I noticed that many of the companies with whom I dealt made significant mistakes when using a calculator (usually a place value error). Also, being specific was critical.
The election on November 8, 2016 was a very close call in so many key states. It was also the first time that I remember the candidates being so divisive in style, rhetoric, message, policy, and yes, ethics. So many children were angry on Wednesday morning that I created a lesson focusing on how the results stacked up from a mathematical perspective.
The 3rd through 6th graders were craving multiplication Kakooma after its introduction last week. Not only did we explore this new challenge but we did it with square, pentagonal, hexagonal, heptagonal, and octagonal patterns. We spent considerable time looking at the advantages of hexagonal tessellations vs. pentagons which do not tesselate.
Kakooma is a wonderful puzzle created by mathematician, Greg Tang, to challenge children to see the operations visually requiring hundreds of mental calculations and strategies.
The logical extension to finding all of the factors of a number using the double/half method is to dissect numbers into their prime factorization. Every whole number greater than one can be factored into prime numbers multiplied by other prime numbers. For example, 12 = 2x2x3 or we say 2^2 x 3.