Monday, September 19, 2011

Curriculum Resource: Edible Mobius Strips

There is only one day left in the fundraiser for my friend Maria of Natural Math, who is trying to raise $6,200 for a community-based initiative to help parents, caretakers, and preschool teachers to introduce deep math concepts to children from infants to age 5.  Since the deadline is so near, we kind of have mobius strips on the brain (because the name of the project is Moebius Noodles).   We are thinking, breathing, and eating mobius strips...

And I mean that literally:

Yes, tonight's dinner consisted of edible mobius strips, made out of handmade pasta, courtesy of my brilliant son.  He is the one who had the idea of showing our support for the Moebius Noodle projects by making mobius strips out of actual noodles!

So we made some dough and pulled out the old pasta rolling machine:

Then we rolled out the dough, cut them into strips, and joined the ends of each strip together in that paradoxical inside/outside form that is the mobius strip:

It took quite a while, and it seemed like we had made 6,200 pieces of pasta, although I imagine it wasn't quite that many:

I had also made a homemade tomato sauce out of the fresh tomatoes and peppers from our local farmers market, combined them with some turkey meatballs, and VOILA!

Mobius Marinara!

And I share all this, not only because it is fun, but because it demonstrates the potential of the Moebius Noodles project.  First, I doubt my son would ever have had this idea without his exposure to Maria, because let's face it--cool things like Mobius strips aren't covered that much in traditional math curricula. Secondly, it illustrates the way that Maria makes math fun and concrete and real life in a way that works for children of all ages.  Sure, my son is a middle schooler, but toddlers could enjoy making a meal of mobius strips just as much.  Finally, Maria's concept for Moebius Noodles is to make it a community project, not just her personal product.  She wants to publish the ideas under a Creative Commons license, which means it would be free for others to use and adapt.  She also wants to make it a open web-based program where everyone can contribute ideas and resources.  So my son came up with this project, which was fun and worked out really well and which we are glad to share with others.  But what might you or your children come up that would not only work for your family, but might really benefit others--if you had a way to get it to them.  THAT is the idea behind Moebius Noodles--not simply a book or a commercial product, but a vehicle by which we can all access and add to the community of ideas about teaching even our youngest how to use and enjoy math.

So as of the time I'm writing this (10:00 PM on Monday, September 19), we only have 24 hours to raise the remaining $2,500 for this project (remember, with Tipping Bucket, if the entire sum isn't raised, all the money goes back to the donors).  So if you have been meaning to donate, but haven't gotten around to it, now is the time.  And whether you donate or not, stay tuned to developments with the Moebius Noodles project.  Maria wants your educational ideas and experience as much, if not more, as she would like your money.

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