Reflections and Connections

Sabrina Casiraro                                                                                 

          Before going to the National Museum of Math I was unsure as to what to expect. This journey started out as a supplemental assignment to my introductory statistics class. I assumed it would be filled with the history of mathematicians such as Pythagoras and Euler. Upon arrival I began to notice it would be much more than that. This museum was filled with interactive hands on problems that visitors could take the opportunity to solve. It was engaging and sparked curiosity in all those who visit. There was not one person who was not intrigued and consumed by the activities and stimulations offered in the museum. In order to solve or participate in any of these exhibits one must use deductive reasoning and solve problems. I could have spent a whole day trying to find solutions and answers to all the activities in the museum. This museum has made a very large impact on the views of Math especially for those who find math tedious and boring. This museum showed how interesting and fun math could be for all ages.

          One exhibit that I found truly interesting was the “Monkey Around exhibit.” In this exhibit there was a circle that had twelve red monkeys and a circle that had only eleven blue monkeys. There is a lever that rotates the center ring. After it is rotated there were now only eleven red monkeys and twelve blue monkeys. At first I thought that a monkey was added in somehow, but then realized that with rotation you cannot change the total area. The monkey was created by taking little pieces of other parts of monkey to rearrange the area with out changing the total area.

          Another exhibit I appreciated and enjoyed using inquiry to try and solve was called “34”. In this exhibition there were rows and columns of six. The goal of the exhibit was that the numbers had to total 34 in each row and column. I was able to solve up to the last two pieces and then had to rearrange again. I would love to come back and try to solve this.

          As a future math teacher I believe that making math interactive and engaging is very important to keep students motivated and to help guide more students into fields that are math-based. We see all branches of mathematics from algebra to statistics as a living subject in this setting. This museum strives to enrich our society's perception around mathematics. Math is important in everyone’s life to perform daily tasks and make strategic decisions. Although there are many ways for people to experience mathematics throughout the day, visiting this museum will definitely enhance the public’s understanding of mathematics. For me it has left an indelible mark and gives me a greater appreciation for the subject matter and I hope that it motivates others to experience this remarkable display of mathematics.

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This was an optional writing assignment where students were required to attend the Museum of Math and reflect upon how various interactive mathematical applications might further shape their views on the subject matter. -- Dr. Satyanand Singh