The students loved today's theme: games!
The class began with a talk from Bob Panoff, Bob1. He talked to them about how mathematics is used in applied sciences, and how his interest in mathematics led him to become a physicist.
Maria began by asking people to share their favorite game with the class. Then they shared how they believed it was related to math. The explorers had a wide variety of favorite games. Several of these games were computer math games, others were card games, and a few were board games. Tomas, one of the explorers, said that his favorite game was checkers. Another math explorer exclaimed, "Checkers doesn't have anything to do with math!" Maria responded that there are actually many mathematicians who spend their whole career studying simple games such as checkers.
Concluding sharing their favorite games the explorers got a chance to play some interactive games on the Internet. Maria challenged them to find as many math ideas as possible.
The students participated in a wide variety of games. One of the math games, Monty Hall, was based on a game show scenario to teach the explorers probability. In another game, coordinates were given to move around in a coordinate plane. The explorers had to maneuver their character to the goal, while avoiding mines and other obstacles. Other games were less directly related to math such as Corner the Queen. This game prompted the students to develop a winning strategy to force the computer to make a bad move. The Chocolate game challenged the players to break apart a chocolate bar of various sizes in as few breaks as possible.
A few of the groups took some of the games to a higher level. Some groups made new rules to make the previous game more interesting. They then tried to devise strategies that would force their opponent to make a bad move.
After they finished playing the games they used a program called Inspiration to write a concept map. They learned how to condense their ideas into one or two descriptive words. When they had finished the map they printed out a copy.
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