Thursday, May 14, 2015

Moebius Noodles is Delightful

Moebius Noodles is headed into its second printing soon. For the past few days I've been reading it over carefully to offer suggested edits. What a delightful task I gave myself! It has been so fun to remind myself of all the activities for young children Maria Droujkova and Yelena McManaman have put together.

Their suggestion for creating an iconic times table got me dreaming. How can I get my son (who "hates" math, unfortunately) inspired to take photos for a times table collection? I was dreaming of a website that would show the whole table on one page, with each photo pretty small. And when you hover over a photo, that one would show up big. I don't know how to do that, though...

Here's a photo (from that feels like it belongs in the Grid section of Moebius Noodles, except that there's no pattern to the pieces. Well, the rows and columns are a bit wonky too. Hmm...

Kate Nowak posted this on Facebook. The question that came to her mind (among other less mathy questions) was ... How do you count these?

[Edited to add: In the comments, Joshua described a very cool pattern he saw, and suggested that it's like 9 plus 4 is 13, which looks like my diagram below.]

Moebius Noodles has four sections: Symmetry, Number, Function, and Grid.

The mirror book introduced in the symmetry section is so simple, and so cool to play with. Just get two small rectangular mirrors (at a dollar store), tape them together along one side, and use with photos or drawings, to see lots of symmetrical designs.

My favorite game in the function section is Silly Robot. The grownup plays the robot, and follows orders exactly (while always trying to find a way to mess up the intention of the orders).

If you know anyone with a child from one to eight who'd like to find ways to play around with mathematical ideas, Moebius Noodles is a great resource.

And my book, Playing with Math: Stories from Math Circles, Homeschoolers, and Passionate Teachers, is delighting readers across the U.S. (and hopefully around the world).  Here are a few photos of happy readers. Send me a photo of you with the book, and I'll add it to my collection (especially if you live far from me!).

This is shaping up to be a very fun summer...


  1. Thank you, Sue! We are actually almost done with the times tables page, pretty close to what you describe. Great minds think alike :-) If your son is interested in beta testing it, let me know.

  2. FWIW, I see that top picture as a 7x8 grid with a 6x7 grid inside, so 7x8+6x7 = 7x(6+8) = 7^2 *2 = 98

    It reminds me of a 13 configuration I really like: 2x2 array inside a 3x3 array. I am not sure why I like it so much, but I somehow feel it shows me a feature of 13 that I hadn't otherwise seen to be part of the number's "personality."

  3. I love what you got from that photo!


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