In the footsteps of Archimedes: celebrating Pi day

Nowadays, thanks to modern day computers, we have instant access to the approximation of π (the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter) to any degree of accuracy. But back in antiquity, getting a good approximation of π was elusive and difficult. Over 2000 ago, the Greek mathematician and scientist Archimedes derived an accurate approximation of π using…
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Gift wrap and symmetry

This is a time of year when many of us are running around frantically shopping for gifts. Caught up in the spirit of the holidays, I was looking for some math-themed gift wrap as part of a holiday promotion for Geometiles.  In the middle of all the madness, this winter holiday giftwrap caught my eye because of its rotational symmetry. To most people “symmetry” means “mirror symmetry”. But to mathematicians, mirror symmetry is just one of the four types of symmetry used to classify patterns. The other three types of symmetry are rotational, translational, and glide reflection….
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Math and Economics at the Farmers Market

There’s still nothing like experiencing math in the context of of simple cash purchases. I say “still” because of the plethora of available extra-curricular math resources like competitions, online programs, manipulatives, etc. In our age dominated by credit card and online purchases, many kids don’t have the opportunity to develop the skills of making simple arithmetic computations in real time while talking to people….
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