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Math OER

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 it’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!

playground Image 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.

another playground Image 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 sence 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.

graph theory

With graph theory we explore math without numbers.

voting paradoxes

Math interferes with democracy because of voting paradoxes.

clocks and codes

With clocks and codes we learn a surprising amount of cryptography.

beauty contest

Which of ten famous ideas would you pick to win a beauty contest?


Watch tradgedy unfold as error propagation wrecks estimation!

sample budget

With a pretend and real budget explore the 50-30-20 Rule.

comparing expensive and budget event

Make a comparison between an expensive and budget version of either a vacation or a wedding.

grocery shopping strategizing

Try some grocery shopping strategizing by recording what you buy and comparing prices by category.

rent or buy a home

Explore the issues about renting versus buying a home.

math in my life

Prepare a somewhat structured essay or slideshow about math in your life.

foot size and height

Which kinds of measurements make the best pattern for foot size and height?

famous algebraists

Challenge classmates to a math duel in the spirit of the dangerous world of 16th century algebra.