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# Math OER Playgrounds

What playgrounds do is provide kids with a relatively safe way to learn about using their bodies to navigate the world—how to balance, how to get from here to there, what to do when you get stuck. In other words, how to solve problems in the physical world.

As I was watching my daughter, I realized that math too is a playground. But itâ€™s not a playground for our bodies, it's a playground for our minds.

- Jason Marshal

Here are places you can use math to explore, analyze, and estimate without being expected to accomplish any specific goals or reach any specific answers. Just play!

Kids first engage with a physical playground when they see it. They start thinking about the slide, or the tire swing, or whether they could step from one place to another. Math playgrounds are less visual. So these explorations provide a little bit of descriptive guidance to help you "see" the math clearly as you approach.

There are suggestions: questions to think about, and challenges to attempt. But please do not treat these suggestions like homework problems. Approach the exploration in your own way.

Be mindful as you play. What goes quick? What goes slow? What gives a sense of progress? What makes you feel off-balance? How do you recover from getting stuck?

You can explore alone. But playgrounds are more fun with friends.

## Games

These playgrounds emphasize having fun with family or friends.

 These 16 games have winning strategies. If you can discover the secret strategy can always win! These 11 games use dice to help us think about numbers. The game sonar and spies is a better version of Battleship useful for reviewing geometry before the GED. Challenge classmates to a math duel in the spirit of the dangerous world of 16th century algebra.

## Explorations

These playgrounds explore interesting math topics seldom seen in the classroom.

 With graph theory we explore math without numbers. Math interferes with democracy because of voting paradoxes. Let the Angry Chemist tell you about logs, avacados, moles, and acid. With clocks and codes we learn a surprising amount of cryptography. Which of ten famous ideas would you pick to win a beauty contest? Watch tradgedy unfold as error propagation wrecks estimation! What type of carbon emissions should a stock market investor feel responsibile for? Which kinds of measurements make the best pattern for foot size and height? Can you make a cheat sheet to help sort word problems by which operation to use? Imagine you run a small business while writing a short book report

## Projects

These playgrounds share ways to make math helpful in your life. They take a bit of effort, but can save you time and money!

 With a pretend and real budget explore the 50-30-20 Rule. Make a comparison between an expensive and budget version of either a vacation or a wedding. Try some grocery shopping strategizing by recording what you buy and comparing prices by category. Explore the issues about renting versus buying a home. Explore U.S. fatality rates to learn surprising things about big numbers. Prepare a somewhat structured essay or slideshow about math in your life.