We are continuing playing with math this week through the Moebius Noodles project (do you like the name, by the way?). The first week was all about symmetry. The second week's theme is grids and functions.
The games were a lot more challenging for me to wrap my brain around. Yet they were fun. We got to try most of them:
The first game was called Chimera Grids. It introduced the concept of structured variations and some big words such as table, row, column, cell, combination. Since M is not into Star Wars (more on this later), our grids were all about the Star Wars characters. In one we created chimeras or combinations of torsos and legs of three different characters - R2D2, Chewbacca, and, of course, Darth Vader.
The storyline of the second grid is built around R2D2 looking for a suitable house for himself. I can't start to describe how much fun M had with these grids. Who would've thought, really?! I can still hear his happy laugh when we came up with a chimera we called Chewvader. "Чувейдер рулез!"
The next game was all about introducing gradients. There are so many ways to do it, but ours involved pen and paper (yeah, I realize I need to learn to draw better). This time it was R2D2 that traveled along a horizontal line. When he went to the left, he got bigger. When he went to the right, he got smaller. The big question we discussed was just how small (or big) would R2D2 get if he continued traveling way beyond the page's boundaries. M asked me this question - would he be so small that a bacteria would eat him? I said that yes, he'd get super-tiny like the nanobots we'd been reading about and even smaller. Then I asked him what would R2D2 need to do to escape from the hungry bacteria. With just a slight pause and a look at the paper, M said "R2D2 would need to move this way" pointing to the left side of the picture.
We also played another gradient-related game a couple of days later. It was basically role-playing the Goldilocks and Three Bears story. Except instead of the Three Bears we had Three Robots and instead of Goldilocks - a DIY Death Star made out of egg carton cells. First the robots had to eat bolts and drink gasoline. Then they all went on a walk around their garage. The Death Star landed and scared them. They all had to hide behind different-sized objects. Finally, they all made friends and there was much cheering.
We never got around to making our own grids as such. But the day before this assignment I asked Maria, the math brain behind the course, if comics could be viewed as examples of grids in literature. She said that without a doubt they would. Funny enough, the next day a homeschooling friend gave us just that - a blank comic strip and challenged to come up with a story. I wasn't sure M would be into it. Boy, I totally underestimated my son. Into it? He loved the activity. Of course, I had to draw everything and write the words. But he came up with the entire story - the plot, the lines, the sets.
It's in Russian, so if you don't read Russian yet (how come?!) it's all about Luke Skywalker saving Princess Leia from evil robots, flying her safely through an asteroid belt and into the Galaxy far-far-away.
The next game was called "Grid Hangman". It is played just like the regular hangman game, but with a grid (also, instead of hanging anyone we built a house). So you make up the rules of how the elements in your grid will change from cell to cell (in both rows and columns) and the other player tries to guess the rule. Admittedly, I didn't tie it into any kind of Star Wars story so M's reception was lukewarm. We will try again when I figure out how to get it more Star Wars-y.
The final game was Multiplication Towers. We just played it today. At first M was into it since the story was Wall-E building his towers of multi-colored trash in the grid cells. At first M helped Wall-E find just the right interlocking blocks (by color and size) , but somewhere in the middle of the second row he got tired of the game and moved on to something else (building a Starfighter that came to frighten and then to friend Wall-E). Good thing too 'cause turned out I didn't have enough blocks to complete that row let alone for the entire game. Didn't get a chance to take a picture either.