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Teaching remotely is difficult. These four Zoom classrooms could be part of a discussion on how to teach remotely. The children here are not average. Most are gifted. At least one is a genius. The span of ability is roughly the same as an average class.

The first video is “Mishap at Venn Zoo.” Venn diagrams were never so nasty–nor so fun. Help us as we try to fill our zoo. Here is a website with the slide show: https://mathpickle.com/project/venn-diagram-puzzles/

The second video is “Lining Up.” The kids who show up to PuzzleTime are above average so you’ll need to adjust your expectations when introducing it to an average elementary school classroom. The key to teaching the puzzle well is to look for symmetry and patterns.

The third puzzle is inspired by the old Alcuin puzzle from over 1000 years ago! It’s called “Monster River Crossing.” What is the largest proper factor of a number? That’s the number that’s in danger of being eaten in this puzzle inspired by Alcuin (735 – 804) and his cabbage-goat-wolf river crossing puzzle. The app I use in this video is from the Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival. Check out their beautiful apps and mathematical materials at jrmf.org.

The last puzzle is called “Ups & Downs.” Some numbers gather together in a loop. The Ups & Downs Algorithm is repeatedly run. What happens? I’m far from sure about all of the possibilities–even after running the activity for an hour ðŸ˜‰ I was wrong about the six-loop. It seems it usually just ends up in a static state like the students discovered here, but about 8% of the time it explodes… getting bigger and bigger and bigger with no end in sight. Perhaps it is more interesting for students to start exploring the 5-loop starting with 6,5,6,8,4.

These were all recorded in collaboration with the National Museum of Mathematics or MoMath. It is the premiere math museum in North America. Physically visit it in Manhattan, New York City. Virtually enjoy its many online courses at https://momath.org/.