NYC Math festival 2020, online

This was the 5th time that the National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) hosted its annual math festival. Last year, the festival was held at 28 Liberty where everyone was having a blast at the Geometiles table. As I was starting to make plans to bring Geometiles to Manhattan this year, the pandemic struck. Not to be deterred, MoMath held the festival online.

The event was held on Zoom this past Saturday, July 18th, and it was clear from the first few minutes that this was going to be an online celebration like no other. As math enthusiasts from all over the United States, Serbia, South Africa, India, Australia, and other countries were joining the session, I could feel the energy of the event coming at me from my laptop screen. The line up of speakers covered a vast range of styles and topics– there were origami experts, world class mathematicians, high school teachers, jugglers, and more. What all these people had in common was a genuine love for math and communicating math to others.

The festivities started with James Tanton (bottom center) demonstrating the international math salute. PC: MoMath

I was honored to be among the speakers. I presented a design I came up with for a paper spinner, which you can find in this presentation. Afterwards, Zdenka Guadarrama had shared these pictures she had taken of her son enjoying the festival, and making the spinner! Watch that spinner go!

And for some extra STEAM fun, why does it look like the spinner is spinning backwards? Think about it! Here’s a video that might help.


And, in case you are curious what the shape of this spinner is called a scalenohedron.

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