Do You Want Your Daughter to Excel at Math and Science? Get a Little Help From GEMS


GEMS was started to address the well documented but underserved problem of girls not taking high-level math and science classes in high school, thereby limiting their college and career options. It has evolved over the years into a full-focus STEM program, addressing the dearth of female engineers and computer scientists, in addition to the workforce problem of low numbers of female workers in these fields. Continue reading

Have Geeklets, Will Travel: Museum of Mathematics

Image: justgrimes via Flickr

If you’re lucky enough to be in New York, you can visit the museum itself and play with numbers. Hands-on exhibits teach concepts such as fractions, dimensionality, and geometry, making math interesting for everyone from kindergarteners to adults alike. If you don’t live in New York, you still have a chance to try out many of the math games as they crisscross the country in a traveling exhibit called Math Midway. We were fortunate that it came to our local science center prior to the opening of the museum, and the kids loved walking the maze (never making a left turn!), playing with the harmonograph, and trying to figure out the organ function grinder. Continue reading

Play With Science With PhET

Image: PhET, The University of Colorado, Boulder

The University of Colorado, Boulder, has put together a fantastic website called PhET. It’s full of interactive simulations for all branches of science, and for math. The simulations run from the very basic for elementary school students, all the way up to university-level material. Continue reading

Zooreka and the Odds of Winning


I thought about that this week when I made a bet with the twins as we played Zooreka. If either of them won, they could both stay up 15 minutes later that night. If I won, they would go to bed five minutes earlier. The odds were in their favor as there were two of them and only one of me, but they still agonized over whether to accept the bet. Simple math, I explained to them: they could win more than they could ever lose. Continue reading

Because a Geek Has to Do it: Calculating the Dimensions of a New TV

1080p - the "p" stands for Pythagoras.

The bulb in our 10 year-old DLP rear-projection TV burnt out for the second time in its lifespan earlier this week. The last time I had to replace it, my journey to secure a bulb ended in haggling with the rather unsavory proprietor of a strip-mall TV repair outlet. As a family, we decided it was time to put the old gray mare out to pasture, and give ourselves a little upgrade. Continue reading

Danica McKellar’s Girls Get Curves Makes Geometry Relevant

Ever since Danica McKellar, the actor (best known for playing Winnie in The Wonder Years) and UCLA-trained mathematician, began her New York Times-bestselling series of math books for girls in 2007, I’ve been curious to see what’s going on that’s … Continue reading

Fractal Broccoli for the Gardening Geek

Yes, math really is everywhere. Having just spent the last few hours of daylight preparing containers for our eventual heirloom tomato harvest (Black Krims, Brandywines, Pears, and Baby Brandywines) I happened to swing by Etsy to check out their home … Continue reading

Middle-Aged Math Prodigy? Never Say Never

The story was pretty much as I remembered it. A seemingly ordinary 10-year-old boy of humble origins blows away the ogre-like village schoolmaster with his ability to add up a series of one hundred numbers in his head. Feeling pretty … Continue reading

Happy 50th Birthday to The Phantom Tollbooth!

This year, the celebrated children’s book The Phantom Tollbooth turned 50. It’s a fantastic story about a boy named Milo “who didn’t know what to do with himself — not just sometimes, but always.” It’s a book about being bored … Continue reading