Monday, September 19, 2011

Moebius Band Strikes Again

There are just a few hours left in the Moebius Noodles fundraiser. We do need the last-minute push to make it happen and I'm asking you to take a quick detour to our Tipping Bucket page.

We're finally back in NC. But before we left NY on Sunday we went some place super awesome that I had no idea about. Specifically, we went to the New York Hall of Science in Queens.

It was a totally unexpected thing too since I had no idea there was much in NY outside of Manhattan (ok, Brighton Beach and the Bronx Zoo being notable exceptions). The reason we ended up at the Hall of Science was that the World Maker Faire was held there.

I'm going to do a separate post about the Maker Faire. It's simply too awesome and needs plenty of space of its own. But there, in the Hall of Science, in between Physics and Life Science was Mathematics section. And it opened up with a very large Moebius Band. And let me tell you, it was a huge hit with the younger crowd since they could push the big button and watch the arrow make its way all around the single surface of the band.

The whole scene reminded me how much fun math can be when it's hands-on and game-like. So I keep my fingers crossed for the Moebius Noodles project. Every child should have a chance to play with math, whether they get to go to the New York Hall of Science or not. Help us make it happen.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What is Moebius Noodles

I really hated math when I was in school. Ever since that first word problem about 3 pipes filling a stupid swimming pool, it was boring and hard to understand. I tried to avoid it whenever I could.

Avoiding math was a miserable experience. And not the one I wanted for M. So I was excited earlier this year to take a course offered by my friend Maria Droujkova. The course was all about how to introduce math concepts to young children in a non-scary and highly engaging way. It is also about giving math-shy parents a second chance at succeeding at math.

In case you want to check out some of the games we played in the Moebius Noodles course:

And here's the link to more Moebius Noodles math games.

And now Maria is working on publishing a book and building a community around this novel idea of showing the non-boring, intuitive and fun side of math to both kids and parents. Does this sound like a great idea? If yes, then please support it by dropping a tip into Moebius Noodles tipping bucket and spreading the word. But please hurry since there are only 6 days left to raise the money.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Another Trip to NY

Oops, it's Labor Day weekend and I haven't posted anything new in a while. Which is too bad 'cause we've been pretty busy and lots of interesting things have been happening. For example, once again we are in NY visiting my parents.

We drove up here almost 2 weeks ago. That was an eventful week for all of us. It started with an earthquake in Raleigh. Then we were busy packing and preparing the house for Hurricane Irene. Then it was time to drive to NY. Once again, we chose the backroads over I-95, partially because we wanted to make it a 2-day drive, not 1-day. It's more relaxed and more pleasant that way.

Driving through the mountains in western VA we noticed something great, the Blue Mountain Brewery. It was about time for lunch anyway and the place looked amazing - fermentation tanks with local brews, a huge veranda with fantastic views, a promise of cold fresh beer and locally-grown organic food.

Afterwards we pressed on and in another hour or so arrived at just about our favorite stop of the entire trip, the Frontier Culture Museum. Let me tell you, it's worth a trip in and of itself! I think this was our 4th visit there. So we figured we'd spend just a couple of hours there this time. I was actually a bit worried that our stop would be too short since, as it turned out, the African Village was closed in preparation for Hurricane Irene. Well, we ended up staying there for not two, not three, but almost five hours!

In fact, the visit turned into a great treasure hunt game for M. He found lots and lots of little treasures - a bit of washed wool, a feather out of a rooster's tail, wood shavings, a real iron nail that was made just for him and many many more exciting things. He petted a cat, fed chickens, tried his hand at carding, weaving, getting water out of a well, playing Jacob's ladder, etc. In short, it was awesome.

After a night in a crummy Best Western somewhere in Frederick, MD, we drove to Hershey, PA. I've been meaning to take M to Hershey for a couple of years. This time we were going for sure. Nothing could stop us, not steady rain nor threat of a downpour from the approaching Hurricane Irene.

I didn't realize how huge Hershey was! There's a ton of stuff there, in and around the factory. You can spend a whole day having fun and then, on Day 2 hit the Hershey amusement park next door. But we only had about an hour or so.

What I had in mind was to go on a little 15-minute World of Chocolate ride and create our own chocolate bars. Of course, the exit from the ride was through a gift shop and so it took us some extra time. But then we were on our way and arrived at my parents' house just 3 hours or so later.