Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Curriculum Resource: Who Wants to Win (REAL) $1,000,000--Math Edition

Yesterday we talked about a science game based on the TV show, Who Wants to Win $1,000,000?  Today, we are talking about a site that is offering $1,000,000 (to be split with their most inspirational math teacher) for people who solve 13 great math questions, one for each K-12 grade level.

Just one caveat--the sponsors of these competition, Math Pickle and the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences, haven't yet gotten the funding for the puzzle winners.  But I guess they don't have many people claiming to be winners yet, either, so perhaps they've got a while to raise the money.

Here is a video that presents the unsolved problem for the 8th grade, which is based on the ancient Greek myth of the Minotaur in the labyrinth:

Even if you don't expect to win $1,000,000, you should definitely check out Math Pickle.  It has a bunch of different videos, all geared to specific grade level, about ways to spice up your math teaching.  In particular, it features puzzles, exploratory questions, and hands-on activities that draw students into problem-solving and applying the math they are learning, rather than doing rote exercises.   The problems and ideas are quite interesting, and I've tried a few of them with my own son.

It is this kind of approach to math (also a hallmark of the work we have done with Maria Droujkova of Natural Math) that has turned around my son's attitude towards math, which he used to hate but now thinks is neat.  And that is worth more than $1,000,000 to me.  So it is worth your while to visit Math Pickle and pick up a few ideas for getting your students engaged in math problem solving.

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