I’m derelict in my writing duties this month. This is for many reasons the primary one being that I lost my glasses and probably won’t be able to replace them until November. There is an event that I’m so excited about that I had to write about it. This Friday October, 28th 2022 there is going to be a 24 hour math stream for charity. The topic is math games. It features several Numberphile presenters; Katie Steckles, Simon Singh, Tom Crawford, and James Grime.
Information about the Stream
You can watch the stream here; https://24hourmaths.com/gameshow/. I think they will announce the YouTube link when they are live there. You may also want to follow them on Twitter. The times are in BST but there is an option to convert them to your local time zone. I believe it starts at 11 am PST for those on the West Coast of the US.
Why Does this Matter?
So, why us this a big deal? Well, at lest to me, it is incredibly interesting and this is my story. I was the worst at math in fourth grade. I could not understand greater or less than. Multiplication was totally lost to me.
Things were even more challenging because my family didn’t know how to help me and were themselves math anxious.
Well, I figured out how to do multiplication by turning numbers to letters. Making them more like the cryptogram puzzles that I would solve with my mother. I wanted to turn my strength in language into a way that I could study mathematics. Through this ,method I was able to understand the grammar of mathematical equations.
I didn’t stop there. As a lonely child, I would often make up games that I could play by myself in my room. I would play a game where I would turn words into addition problems and compare the values of different words.
In this way, I worked my number sense like an atrophied muscle and was able to catch up to my peers.
Stream Segments that I’m Looking Forward To
I think that math games are a great way to spark a kids love of mathematics. These are some of the stream segments that I’m most interested in.
I[‘m intrigued by the premise of playing a math game against a book. I don’t know what I’m expecting. I had a great book of logical puzzles when I was a kid though. It had three types in it. The first were variations on the water jug puzzles. The second were liar puzzles with increasing difficulties. The third were the ones where you had to have an animal cross a stream but it could only be done in a certain order. I loved that book and I’m so sad that I lost it.
Math Games with Bad Drawings
This is with author Ben Orlin who also has a popular math blog. As someone who made my own math games, I want to see what ones are featured in Ben’s book. I may pick up a copy if I like them. One of The contestants is Ayliean MacDonald who has appeared on Numberphile and Objectivity. The other players are Rasitha Maddage, and Samuel Hansen.
Note 1: Ben and I were both interviewed for an episode of the podcast Alone Together.
The Game of Nim
I don’t know how many people are familiar with Nim. If you like math you might have seen it or a variant. Two people take turns removing objects, like stones, from different piles. The objective is to force your opponent to take the last object. Well, turns out, there is a clear mathematical strategy for winning the game. So, yeah, play with your friends and amaze them with your skills. This segment is hosted by Colin Wright.
Note 1: A variation of this game is featured as a plot point in the classic film Last Year at Marienbad. A film that I was fortunate to see at a fancy theater in Chicago while I lived there. If you are interested in films,, I also recommend Hiroshima Mon Amour by the same director.
Note 2: Matt Parker also did a video about Nim that I really enjoyed.
I have nothing to say about this one.. Just wanted an excuse to post this clip. Should be fun though!
Dungeons & Dragons
Well, it’s pretty obvious that I would love this one as a former TTRPG community manager. I look forward to some dice rolling. Also hoping that a mathematical adventure might pique people’s interests to play. It is a fun hobby that only requires your imagination and a set of dice..
Any other Dimension 20 fans: (NSFW)?
That is all I wanted to say on the subject of math games. I think it will be so much fun. So much t hat I have decided to live Tweet/live blog. And by live blog, I’m just going to embed my Tweets into a blog post over the weekend. If you want to follow along, you can connect with me on Twitter.