Welcome to Somerville Mathematics

Welcome to Somerville Mathematics, a blog devoted to exciting mathematical things happening in Somerville MA. I am the founder of The Somerville Mathematics Fund, www.Somervillemathematicsfund.org
The Math Fund was chartered to celebrate and encourage mathematics achievement in Somerville. I hope you will check out my TEDxSomerville talk on the Somerville Math Fund,
I find that there are many other interesting things happening mathematically in Somerville and I hope on this blog to have others share what they are doing. So please contact me at mathfund@gmail.com if you would like to contribute an article.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Somerville Mathematics Fund offers scholarships

The Somerville Mathematics Fund, an affiliate of Dollars for Scholars, offers renewable mathematics scholarships for outstanding high school seniors and to college students who lived in Somerville MA while attending high school. The applications should be postmarked by 11 April 2009.
To get an application, go to The Somerville Mathematics Fund web site or e-mail voolich@aol.com.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Somerville Community Celebrates Pi Day

by Erica Dakin Voolich

At various schools around our city this year, Pi was celebrated a “day early” on Friday, March 13. Technically, Pi Day is March 14th (3.14), and to be more precise, March 14th at 1:59:26.

Students at the West Somerville Neighborhood School in 6th, 7th and 8th grade had activities related to Pi in their classes. The students in the Brown School 6th grade and the Kennedy School 6th through 8th made posters and tee-shirts, wrote and practiced skits or songs or raps and researched Pi in advance. Students kindergarten through eighth grade at the Argenziano School at Lincoln Park celebrated during the day. Finally, the day was capped off with middle students from East Somerville Community School at Cummings and from the Brown School joining the middle school students at Kennedy School (pictures) and numerous high school and community volunteers for an activity-packed family mathematics night (details) at the Kennedy School. The generosity of the Table Talk Pie Company made it possible for everyone, students, parents, teachers, volunteers to go home with their own small pie and the winners of activities to take home a full-sized pie. This final event was sponsored by and coplanned with The Somerville Mathematics Fund.

Among the activities at the Kennedy School Family Mathematics Night were
Displaying the posters created.
Wearing the tee shirts created.
Estimating the size of various circular objects (from the size of lids by feel only to the inside of circles on the gym floor to various balls).
Collecting Data on various targets (circle inscribed in square vs square inscribed in a circle) and toothpick drops (Buffon needle experiment).
Estimating the number of various circular things in jars.
Making Pi buttons to wear.
Finding personal dates of birth in Pi.
Taking a quiz on pi facts.
Predicting the distance a wheel would roll.
Drawing freehand a circle the size of a CD.
Graphing the diameter vs the circumference of a variety of circles.
Predicting volume in a cylinder.
Performing the skits and raps written.

Pi is an infinitely long number that lends itself to celebration by a collection of aficionados in many schools. It is one of those numbers, that even though you can’t possibly write out all of its digits, and for centuries they have been difficult to calculate, it’s basic concepts are simple enough to understand that it lends itself to celebrations on March 14 each year. Web sites are devoted to activities related to Pi for teachers to use and share and also to such π paraphernalia such as tee-shirts, cups, pins hats, etc. Scholarly articles and books along with story books have been written on Pi. This year congress passed a resolution supporting Pi Day and our local Congressman Capuano voted “yes” to encourage the celebration of this important mathematical holiday. Last year, even a local pie shop, Petsi Pies, got involved.

If you are interested in celebrating this holiday next year, contact me at voolich@aol.com. I’m sure there will be something mathematical happening.