Math Treasure Hunts come in a various shapes and forms. The main principle of it, as the Father of the Math Treasure Hunt, Dr. Ken Fan envisions, is collaboration between a group of people working together on a mathematical theme in order to achieve a common purpose in a fun and educational atmosphere. As long as you keep this main goal in mind, you can take the Math Treasure Hunt in any direction imaginable.
Dr. Ken fan and I organized a very special Math Treasure Hunt last weekend September 21st at the Games Night of the Math Prize for Girls Competition. Since a fierce competition would take place the day that followed and since we expected a huge crowd of girls, about one hundred participants, we wanted this event to be fun, relaxing and a good experience for the girls to build relationships. We thought it would not be a good idea to base the hunt on solving specific serious numerical problems. Instead we came up with special mathematical activities that included all the girls and were used as an icebreaker between them. We chose a direction padlock (as opposed to a numerical combination lock) and decided that when each activity would be solved the girls would get the clue to open it.
So Dr. Fan came up with the Mental Math Madness activity, in which “10 participants in a circle had to perform mental computations in turn and try to make it all the way around without error. At one point, the number rocketed into a twelve-digit astronumber. I watched in awe as not two, not three, but four girls valiantly manipulated twelve-digit numbers, eventually getting to the number 215,999,999,987.”(from Girls’ Angles blog.)
My activity was the “Math Statute”. I prepared cards with about seventy math concepts like parallel, sphere, the Shoe Lace Theorem etc. One girl or a group of girls, chose a card and needed to act it out and without talking or moving until the others participants succeeded to guess what the phrase was. That was really fun. The statutes were great, funny, and the girls did a great job guessing those phrases.
The most crazy and fun filled laughter activity was the “Algorithm writing”. Dr. Fan pretended to be an alien that came from Mars, did not know anything about our world. The task was to write a “code” for him how to peal and eat a banana. Remember that the alien did not know what banana is, how to peal it or how to eat it. We split the girls into four groups, each should write its own “code”. When they finished I read the directions and Ken acted up and followed the direction of what I just read. It was hilarious! It is not so easy to write a code like this! Try it out for yourselves if you want a challenge!
At the end the girls had such a great fun night! They solved the fun activities, figured out the code for the padlock, and opened the treasure box which was filled with lots of candies and wonderful hibiscus pins for their hair.
Great job everyone!