Onward, to adventurous math for the playground crowd. I am Moby Snoodles, your friendly cetacean guide to the Moebius Noodles community.
All games in the Grids and Functions sections are now ready for illustrating. Just three more sections to go! Hooray! When I first started developing these games some fifteen years ago, I never expected the somewhat insane number of hours that goes into making each page of a good book. Some pages go through dozens of revisions, like the page of Bright Ideas in "The Three Bears and the Middle Way" grid game. Sometimes I get stuck figuring out how to express a complex mathematical idea, such as composition of functions, in simple terms. It is all worth it: I am loving the resulting quality.
Our artist Ever Salazar not only invents ways for every detail of the picture to show some interesting math, but also draws the goofiest faces. I look at these Three Bears, and picture a toddler looking over parent's shoulder at the book, giggling at the picture and asking to play with that math, whatever it is.
If you haven't yet, check out the new post by Malke Rosenfeld, from the series of guest games that go with the book. Malke calls her ongoing game about symmetry Small Moments of Math: "My approach to math exploration at home has been hands-off, necessitated by a child who likes to captain her own ship. Math generally happens in bite-sized pieces around here. While I do influence the process, I hardly ever make formal plans. Instead, I am always looking for new games, thinking about what she might need or want to learn next and also how to introduce new things in a way that has the appearance of being at least 50% her idea."
Share your family's "small moments of math" in the comments. If you have a game you'd like to share with us, let us know!
One picture is worth a thousand words, one experience is worth a thousand pictures, one insight is worth a thousand experiences. That is why insights are so rare, it takes a lot of words, pictures, and experiences to grow them. This is the cornerstone of learning.
Over the last year or so following Maria's accounts of math clubs, math treks and, especially, the Moebius Noodles project I have found my way to math. And, I am not ashamed to admit that, as an adult who is remediating herself from years of math anxiety, I have learned more about real math from an approach created for small children than I ever did in high school! My new confidence and understanding is largely due to how Moebius Noodles models math and math learning for parents and families -- one small observation, question, inquiry or game at a time.
Writing for the Moebius Noodles project sometimes feels like drawing an explorer's map and a naturalist's catalog of a wild, uncharted territory. So many - in fact, most - exciting advanced math topics aren't yet made into good games for little kids! The Moebius Noodles crew is working with Dor Abrahamson (Berkeley) and Chris Hazard (Hazardous Software), mapping existing games and analyzing their "anatomy." How many essential parts does a good game have? We started by identifying three, then discovered two more, and then parts started to multiply; we are currently at fifteen! The number of parts is silly at the moment, but the analysis has to get complex before it gets simple.