The #mathphoto15 challenge is happening on Twitter this summer, hosted by an enthusiastic international cadre of #MTBoS members. The challenge runs June through most of August and is being broadcast in English, French and Spanish.
The premise is simple, the results are inspiring. Photos that illustrate each week’s mathematical theme are posted to Twitter using the #mathphoto15 hashtag and can also be viewed in the associated Flickr photo stream. We are heading into our third week of the challenge focusing on tessellations, wallpaper groups and frieze patterns (#tiles). Our Week 4 challenge is the enigmatic prompt of “three,” suggested by the inimitable Christopher Danielson. We hope you (and your kids and/or your students) will ponder the weeks’ challenges throughout the summer, keep your cameras nearby, and add to our joyful and growing collection of inspiring mathematical images!
Why take photos of math ideas in the everyday world? Even if something seems “obvious” we can still deepen our understanding of a mathematical object or idea by comparing it against non-examples or almost-but-not-quite examples outside of more familiar mathematical contexts.
Consider our Week 1 theme of arrays. Is the image below, posted by @ms_hansel, an array? What properties are you focusing on when you give your answer?
Or how about this image from @julietaSpace? Is this an array?
Or what about this?
What are the essential properties needed to define an array? Can an array be circular? What is the difference between a rectangular and a circular array? Does the shape change the nature of the information we can find there?
In addition to viewing the photos we are also having interesting and useful conversations about the images. And, in a wonderful turn of events, moving examples (videos, gifs and other animations) are being added into them mix to help us further deepen our understanding and conceptualization of these foundational mathematical ideas.
We hope you will join in the fun and conversation this summer. The challenge has already been inspirational to many, and the Flickr photo stream has already been useful for educators who were still in school during the first half of June. Check out the weekly challenges on the Summer Photo Challenge Website and then start playing! We can’t wait to see what you find!
Written By Malke Rosenfeld (@mathinyourfeet)
Sahar Khatri (@KhatriMath) adds some other tips on how to participate:
- Identify the week’s theme and tag by checking out this page. The challenge is currently running it’s third week with #tessellations. Here is a quick cheat sheet for the entire summer.
- Take a picture and share it on twitter using #mathphoto15
Many schools across the country are on their summer breaks, but I have a few more weeks left with my students so this is also a great engaging opportunity to get my students involved. Since the challenge continues through August, I am excited to see how many of my students continue during the summer. Don’t forget to share this with that friend…you know the one who always takes pictures of everything. Challenge them to find curves, lines, tessellations, symmetry, and so on.