Recreational Maths

I’m pretty sure most homeschoolers know Vi Hart’s videos, but just in case there’s anyone left who doesn’t, they’re really fun math videos.  We watch once occasionally just for fun and then get our doodles on or just go, “Hey, wow!” and leave it at that because we know we don’t have it in ourselves to make that many cookie tessellations.

But the other day, we got onto the hexaflexagons and got quite inspired.


Elementary math has to involve a good bit of drudgery practice for most kids to get fluent, but we’re always trying to balance that with tricky problems that make you really think, games instead of just drills for the practice, real world practice like cooking and measurement, and math whimsy, like the hexaflexagons.

6 thoughts on “Recreational Maths

  1. *like*! I’ll show this to my kid and we’re sure to be hexaflexagoning by noon. Plus hexaflexagon is soooo fun to say. Even better: trihexaflexagon. 🙂

  2. I love Vi Hart’s videos! The stories that go along with the math topics are great at catching and keeping your attention (both for kids and adults, I think!). I still use her videos to explore “recreational” math topics with my college math friends. 🙂

  3. Hello! Thanks for your inspiration and info, as always… I am wondering if those are Zometools in the background, and if so, what do you think of them, and do you have any recs on which set to get? HSBC has a geometry set and the STEM set at discount, and I would love to hear your opinion :). Your kids are lucky you are their mama– you sem to do really neat things with them, that really reflect their different needs and interests. Good work! Thanks for any feedback you might have…

    1. We only have a little set – the Creator 1. Honestly, I haven’t used them that much. The kids play with them and we like them, but the price is a little, um, much for what they are. I want to get that Zome Geometry guidebook and do some stuff with them beyond just playing though and I’m withholding judgement on their value until then.

  4. I currently teach middle school math in a public school. I have not had a lot of experience when it comes to looking at homeschooling material. I was very interested in the video you posted by Vi Hart. I did not know these videos existed. I watched the video you posted and it held my interest the whole time. I found myself intrigued by what was going to happen next. I know that a video like this would intrigue my students and get them thinking about what was occurring in the video. This is something I would even like to do with my students in class during the time that finals are over.

    You are right when you say that elementary math has to involve a good bit of drudgery practice. I see the same thing happen with concepts such as integers in my middle school classroom. I find that one of the hardest things I struggle with is finding creative games and activities to apply the concepts they learn. Students get turned off from math when it is non-stop drill practice. My students always want to how math applies to their lives. They also want to play games and watch videos about the topics we cover. Doing activities such as creating “math raps” have helped students make connections to topics they may have struggled with before.

    I’m not sure if you have ever tried using Khan Academy for math, but I really enjoy their online program and the way the material is presented. It is free. Not only does the site provide lessons, but it also provides practice material with step-by-step instructions if they get stuck. Khan Academy presents the information in an interactive way and my students have enjoyed using it. Just wanted to offer a suggestion if you’re looking for something additional to supplement in with your math lessons!

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