Celebrate #NMF2019 with Dr. James Tanton’s week of puzzles!

From February 4-8, 2019, 2019 Festival presenter Dr. James Tanton of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and the Global Math Project helped us celebrate the upcoming National Math Festival with a social media takeover event. For five days, Dr. Tanton shared videos of some of his favorite mathematical tidbits, which we’ve shared with you below. Thanks to all who followed along with us!


Day 1: Weird Multiplication

Here’s my first video for the week – one of my mathematical favourites. Why does this weird multiplication work?


Day 2: 90-degree Rotations

Today’s Social Media Takeover discussion: 90-degree rotations are weird! Is the composition of two 90-degree rotations another rotation? In 2D …yes! In 3D … eeerrr??

(Confused? Here’s a little essay about it that might help!)


Day 3: The International Math Salute

I have to put this out there. Can you figure out the International Math Salute?


Day 4: A Topological Yoga Stretch?

Here’s a REALLY WEIRD TOPOLOGICALLY-ODD yoga stretch. Try it at home!


Day 5: A Folding Rope Puzzle

Here’s how to fold 3/7 of a section of rope. Can you now do 13/31? YES! Have fun!

I wish I realised the full length of rope wasn’t showing on camera (oops!) but hopefully the side pictures I inserted make matters clear nonetheless!


Do you know your PERSONAL POLYNOMIAL? Here’s a free app that let’s you spell your name–or ANYTHING!–through the power of mathematics. (And all the mathematics is fully explained!) It’s a gift from The Global Math Project and the National Math Festival. Enjoy!


Dr. James Tanton is an author, a consultant, and an ambassador for the Mathematical Association of America in Washington D.C., currently serving as their Mathematician-at-Large. He has taught mathematics both at university and high school institutions. He is absolutely committed to promoting effective and joyful mathematics thinking, learning, and doing at all levels of the education spectrum. He is a founder of The Global Math Project, an initiative to transform the entire world’s perception of what mathematics can and should be. Already over 3.8 million students and teachers from over 150 countries have taken part in a common joyous piece of mathematics and saw how classroom mathematics can serve as a portal for human joy, wonder, and delight. See his sites jamestanton.com and gdaymath.com to learn more about his work.