Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Math Trek : Adventures in Math Zone

Title : Math Trek : Adventures in the Math Zone
Author : Ivars Peterson and Nancy Henderson
Publisher : Jossey-Bass

There is an amusement park in town but this is quite unlike the ones that you must have been to so many times. Since this is an extraordinary amusement park, how can the ticket be a regular one for such a place. Of course, it is extraordinary too. Here your mind is the ticket as you unravel the secrets of many joy rides while having fun with math in everyday life.

The only way to open the naughty knotty gate is to find the knot that is not a knot. Tying a simple knot was never a problem and we all learnt it pretty early but tying a knot which is actually not a knot?, now that is the tricky part. Many magicians have earned our appreciation and applause performing exactly this trick seamlessly and now the visitors of this park can do it too. One hurdle crossed, time to enter MapZone and the lady manning the stall invites people to try the Map-ematical challenge. The visitors are handed six coloured pencils and they need to figure out the smallest number of colours that is needed to fill in the MathZone map so that a distinctive colour could be seen for each activity area. And the rule is : no two sections that share a border may by of the same colour.

Here is one for you to try. Can you complete the map using six colours? Five? Four? Three?

Once through the mapzone, proceed to fractal forest where an intriguing Mobius Strip roller coaster is waiting for you. Here you will be guided to design your own Mobius strip in order to feel confident that after the ride you all will end up right side up. So no need to fret. You come out of the roller coaster and enter the Mercenne's Fun House and The Fractal Pond Race. This is not it, in fact the joy ride continues with dice, decoding the code, a ride on Tilt-a-Whirl and in the wild game hall. Soon enough it is time to advance to the way-out zone where you are welcomed by intriguing fractal mazes to guess.

Remember how we all try to cover a regular amusement park by sampling different rides during the whole day that we spend there, similar is the case with Math Trek. The idea is to try as many activities as possible to derive maximum fun out of the Math Zone. Interesting trivia, sneak peek into historical background of the concepts, mind-exercising puzzles and the answers to the problems make this book a fun filled adventure read. 'Math Trek' is a wholesome package for children, parents and teachers. The driving force which led the couple to compile this book was to highlight the 'fun' component with math learning. 


Choxbox said...

Sounds very interesting Vibs. Loving the 'math rain' as my friend S calls it.

We have been doing some craft stuff with the Mobius strip. Stick two together at right angles and cut along the length of the strip and you get two inter-linked hearts! Great fun trying to figure out the logic behind it.

Sheela said...

Sounds quite a riotous adventure, Vibha, thanks for bringing this book to us!

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