August 27 Day 902: Spreading Math Joy

#TacomaMath participated in the 18th Annual Back To School Bash hosted by Pastor Kevin Rogers and the City of Faith Christian Center. It was amazing!

My son Anson and I arrived an hour early at 9 am and families were already lining up to participate. Free backpacks, school supplies, haircuts, immunization clinics, and sports physicals were available. There were hot dogs, popcorn, and snow cones to eat plus bouncy houses, science labs, and most importantly math puzzles, games, and crafts to play.

For 5 hours, from 10 am to 3 pm, families wandered about, gathering supplies and playing games. I would not be surprised to find that more than 1000 people walked past our table today.

#TacomaMath had chalk puzzles throughout the location to engage the minds of people waiting in lines. Today we picked some open middle problems.

The hit of the show was the Jumping Julia Puzzle (adapted from the Julia Robinson Math Festival). Some kids kept coming back again and again. I was so proud of Anson, encouraging the players and helping them past their frustration when the solution didn’t come right away.

At the table we distributed tape measures and #TacomaMath postcards with links to the Math Around Town YouTube Playlist. There was a hexaflexagon paper craft. And (thanks to Allison Henrich’s lecture at MathFest 2022) I used some rope tricks to engage shy younglings in conversation at the table.

It was exhilarating and exhausting. But worth it.

Published by Jenny Quinn

Mathematician. Mother. Wife. Leader. I am a professor of mathematics at the University of Washington Tacoma. Mother of Anson and Zachary. Wife to Mark. President of the Mathematical Association of America.

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