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MAA USA Science & Engineering Festival

MAA was an official partner of the inaugural USA Science & Engineering Festival, which occurred in the Washington, D.C., area in October 2010. Billed as the country’s first national science festival, the event gave more than 500 science, engineering, and mathematics organizations a chance to spark the interest of a new generation of young people in the sciences.

People across the U.S. held satellite events in their communities the same weekend that hundreds of thousands of people celebrate science on the National Mall.

MAA nominee S. Brent Morris was chosen as a member of the Festival's Nifty Fifty, a group of noted professionals who spoke about their work and careers at various middle and high schools in the Washington, D.C., area. Morris presented "In Search of the 'Perfect Shuffle' – Teaching Math Students through Card Tricks.” He is the author of the book Magic Tricks, Card Shuffling, and Dynamic Computer Memories: The Mathematics of the Perfect Shuffle (MAA, 1998).

Science Expo on the National Mall

The culmination of the Festival was a two-day Expo on the National Mall on Oct. 23-24, 2010. Visitors had the opportunity to explore all facets of science, mathematics, and engineering through hundreds of fun, hands-on activities.

The MAA exhibit, under the banner “Math Is Everywhere,” featured Euler square puzzles, origami constructions of hyperbolic parabaloids (example here), and an interactive quiz based on the AMC 8 contest. D.C.-area student volunteers and The Mathematical Tourist were on hand at the exhibit to guide visitors through fun math-activities and distribute MAA's Field Guide to Math on the National Mall (featured in the October/November 2010 issue of MAA FOCUS). Vistors carrying the Festival's "Official Passport" got a special MAA icosahedron stamp. Other math-related exhibits during the Expo are listed below.

Field Guide to Math on the National Mall

The world around us is rich with mathematical wonder. The MAA has developed a field guide to highlight the mathematical aspects of a dozen sights at or near the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Start your mathematical treasure hunt among the monuments, museums, and fields at the heart of the nation's capital by downloading the field guide here (pdf) or picking up a copy at the MAA booth during the Expo on Oct. 23-24, 2010. Check out the Field Guide's Official Page for additional infomration.

Other Math Exhibits on the Mall

Creating a Math Sculpture by American Mathematical Society: Combine your sense of fun with geometry and help build a mathematical structure, with noted mathematician/artist George Hart. You'll experience the beauty of sculpture, the precision of geometric thinking, and the excitement of an interlocking puzzle.

Discovery through Interactive Statistics by American Statistical Association: Can you estimate how many fish are in the sea? Experience statistical discovery through a hands-on capture-recapture experiment, simulation with technology, and other interactive statistical problem-solving activities.

Secret messages or how to write your journal so your brother can't read it by Association for Women in Mathematics: Join us for an interactive hands-on session and use the mathematics that you know to write and break secret messages and codes. This is an exciting journey through time going from Cleopatra and Cesar, Leonardo da Vinci and Thomas Jefferson to the present day.

What About Math? by MATHCOUNTS Foundation: Experience exciting hands-on mathematics activities and discover how you can build critical-thinking and problem-solving skills while having fun!

Math Is Everywhere! by Mathematical Association of America: Explore math in the world around you through fun interactive activities such as origami (constructing a hyperbolic paraboloid), sudoku-like puzzles (creating Euler squares), solving brainteasers, a self-guided tour of math on the National Mall, and more.

MoMath: An Infinite Amount of Fun by Museum of Mathematics: MoMath, America's only Museum of Mathematics invites you to explore a variety of hands-on activities designed to show you math in ways you've never seen it before. Colorful, vibrant, fun--come preview some of the exhibits that will part of our grand opening!

Computer Science Without a Computer! by National Center for Women and Information Technology: Computer Science-in-a-Box: Unplug Your Curriculum is loaded with games and activities that explain how computers work and at the same time address critical mathematics and science concepts from number systems and algorithms to manipulating variables and logic. You don't have to be an expert to play.

Care to Float a Bear in a Boat? byNational Council of Teachers of Mathematics: All bears love the open seas! Your task is to make a boat for bears using one square of aluminum foil. Then, see how many bears you can fit in your boat before it sinks! Each day, a prize will be given to the person who gets the most bears to float, and everyone who participates will learn a little math.

Mission Possible! NYC to DC by Raytheon Corp: Your mission, if you accept it, is to program your robot to navigate the highways and byways from New York City to the USA Science & Engineering Festival Expo in Washington DC. Working side by side with aerospace engineers, you will learn the basics of robotics, computer programming and navigation fundamentals using LegoRobots. While you are here, explore Raytheon's Math Moves U interactive world to learn more about careers in math and science.

Science is Elementary! by Retired Scientists, Engineers and Technicians: Get your hands around science learning. ReSET engages elementary school students in hands-on science and math experiments. Experience the fun side of science for younger students.

Math Alive! by Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics: Come and experience living mathematics. People will be able to explore the concept of surface tension through simple hands-on experiments with water, dish soap, pepper, paper and paper clips. They will be encouraged to make connections between the mathematical concepts of slope, derivative and gradient and what is happening in the experiments. Students will also be able to experience a collection of mechanical toys which illustrate mathematical theorems in practical ways.

You CAN Do The Rubik's Cube by You Can Do the Rubik's Cube: You CAN Do The Rubik's Cube. We will show you how! Unlock the secret of solving Everyone's Favorite Puzzle. The You Can Do The Rubik's Cube Solution Guide shows you how to solve the Rubik's Cube in 6 Easy to Follow Stages. Solving the Rubik's Cube is a fun and challenging activity for all ages. Visit our exhibit and we will give you a free Solution Guide and help you through the first 3 stages of solving the Rubik's Cube.

Become a fan of the Festival on Facebook or follow the Festival on Twitter for regular updates.



News Date: 
Wednesday, October 27, 2010