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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Math Fun Facts!

Exploding Head           As the students walk into a math classroom, the students have one thing on their mind, " math is so boring! Why do we have to learn it?" In Professor Su's  lecture, "My Favorite Math Facts", he talks about how starting off a class period with one math fun fact can change a students perspective about math. These math facts show the students that there is more to math than just numbers on a paper and calculus equations that need to be memorized.  I enjoyed the lecture that was given by Professor Su to the Grand Valley student in which he shared his favorite math facts that he has shown his students throughout his years of teaching. It was very interesting to see some of the facts that he presented, I have already seen throughout my years of being a math student. I wrote a proof about the nine point circle and how the points correlates to the midpoints, the feet of the altitude, and the orthocenter.  Professor Su also presented the different ways that the Pythagorean Theorem can be proven. In one of my classes I had to write a formal proof solving the Pythagorean Theorem in the way that made the best sense to me. Also with the Pythagorean Theorem, we discussed in my class how it is represented in neutral and spherical geometry. The last fun fact that I knew was the friendship theorem. I discussed this in two of my classes on different occasions and how it can be proven by using simple math.

            Professor Su also presented fun facts that I did not know to the student body that were very interesting. My favorite one that he showed was the "magic trick" of the black and red pair of cards. He uses this trick to show people his magical side but in reality it is just some simple math and arrangement of the deck of cards.
The Red and Black Card Trick Revealed
1) 52 deck of cards
2) one mathematician  
step-up: arrange the deck of cards every other color (black,red,,red,black,red)
let the trick beginning
1) hand the deck of cards to a student already split in haft (important note: make sure when you split the deck the colors on the bottom are two different colors)
2) have the student shuffle the cards only one time by the bridge shuffle and give the deck of cards back to you
3) put the deck of cards behind your back and "pretend" to fish around for two different cards
4) Pick the first two cards off the top of the deck! If the trick was done correctly the two cards will always be a pair of black and red cards!
These simple math fun facts can help  students become interested in the world of numbers. One fun fact can show the students there is a reason in learning math and it is not so boring after all!

For more interesting math fun facts, click here


  1. I enjoyed Professor Su's lecture as well, and I agree that giving students a fun fact before each class will help students change their attitude towards math. It will make math less like a chore and more about making discoveries that the student's think of as their own. And when people make their own discoveries or connections, they feel like they have contributed, and not just followed instructions.

  2. This is a really fun blogpost! I didn't get to attend the lecture but it sounds really interesting and like it could really make a difference in the classroom. Just a simple thing like presenting a fun fact could break the anxiety that a lot of students feel just by walking into the math classroom. Very fun!

  3. That was a good trick.

    I always wonder about this approach: fun facts > boring ol' lecture, but does it change learning at all? Does it matter if it's unrelated to student topic? Does it matter if students never get to do the fun themselves?

    How do you see yourself using them? (Be good consolidation.)
    Other Cs +

  4. I had a blast at Professor's Su's lecture too! I really appreciate that you posted the layout of that card trick because I plan to use it when I teach. I think it would be great for a probability lesson intro. The excitement he brought to his teaching was also something I took away! The way he worded every math fun fact with such wonder, really made the time engaging and seem valuable.

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