This week, students in Grades 4 and 5 had the opportunity to visit the award-winning National Museum of Mathematics in Manhattan. Escorted by their teachers, Ms. Vovsi and Mr. Kovacs (and a group of parent chaperones), our young mathematicians explored dynamic, hands-on exhibits designed to stimulate inquiry, spark curiosity, and reveal the wonders of mathematics. Fourth graders were eager to share their experience with the PJS community. Some “astonishing” things were noted:
“You load up the basketball and you can change the height, angle, and speed using levers, pumps, and dials! Try to [get the ball] in the basket, but believe me, [it’s] easier said than done!” (Ball Bot Exhibit- A robot that shoots regulation-size basketballs shows the role of math and brain power in making a basket)
“The Harmony of the Spheres are spheres that have different colors and when you touch them, they play music.” (Harmony of the Spheres Exhibit- Create a harmonic soundscape through an interactive musical sculpture)
“In Robot Swarm, we needed a backpack, and every backpack had a color: red, blue, yellow and green. There were robots under the floor for every color, and they were chasing you!” (Robot Swarm Exhibit- Small, colored robots under a glass floor move and react to the person standing on top of the glass and each other)
"Yesterday I encountered a fun exhibit I called ‘Cool Cars.’ I was wondering about the top track and why it only had one car and the bottom track had two. My answer was it was something about a Mobius strip. A Mobius strip looks like it has two surfaces, but it only has one." (Twisted Thruway Exhibit - Explore how remote control cars drive on two unique racetracks: a Mobius strip and a trefoil knot)
The exhibits and activities that students experienced broadened the students' thinking about mathematics, and they agreed that they would like to visit again soon.