Date: Apr 27, 1995 12:26 AM
Author: Dr. Susan Addington
Subject: MAW activities

The California Math Show opened this week, on Saturday in Santa Cruz,
CA, and all week in the lobby of the Math/Business building at
California State University, San Bernardino.
The CMS is a collection of hands-on exhibits related to symmetry,
videos, and a giant kaleidoscope you can get into. Eventually we
will supplement the low-tech activities with interactive computer
programs.

The two main stations provide materials, recipes, examples, and
questions encouraging visitors to construct their own tessellations and
polyhedra. There are also stations to learn basic concepts of
symmetry, and a selection of (computer-generated) coloring book
pages to color on the spot or take home.

The CMS is a pilot project funded by the Eisenhower State Grants
Program. If fully funded, it will travel around the state to
middle schools and public locations such as community centers and
shopping malls. The school visits will involve teacher education
in using the CMS exhibits in their curricula, with follow-up via the
internet.

Reactions so far:
Kids really like it. Younger ones make polyhedral hats and dance
inside the kaleidoscope.
Adults are more inhibited; unless people are already sitting around
making things, they will just look and walk by.
Several classes of prospective elementary teachers were
brought to the exhibit and given (fairly vague, open-ended) questions
to answer. They all felt very comfortable, and got right down
to work. I overheard lots of mathematically significant discussions.

[Another MAW event: lecture by historian of mathematics Judith Grabiner:
"Maclaurin among the Molasses Barrels: Mathematics and Society in
Eighteenth-Century Britain"
followed by tea and discussion about women in mathematics
at the Women's Center]

Susan Addington (addington@gallium.csusb.edu)
Math Department, California State University
San Bernardino, CA 92407
World Wide Web: http://www.math.csusb.edu/