Community Maths can involve the school community or the wider, local community. The aim is to get maths out of the classroom and make it a hands-on experience.

Set up displays, posters, demonstrations or art/maths projects in your school library, gym or school yard or take some interesting maths to the local library, strip mall, town hall, local gardens or shopping mall. It will mean planning the project, collecting the materials and making a phone call to the local, say, librarian, but libraries, for instance, welcome community involvement.

Here are just some community maths project ideas.

MATHS POSTERS

Major maths conferences around the world have poster displays. So why not a display of students maths posters in your school library or local library or even a nearby shopping mall. And students should be present at allocated times to explain their poster to other students, parents or members of the public.

Roosevelt Middle School students Jacob Klausner and Oliver Adelson WEST ORANGE, NJ, who were finalists heading to theNational MathCon Competition.

Some of the best middle school maths posters can be found atMathsCareers, UK. Here are some posters from the 2016 competitions.

Winner 9 – 11 years Maths Poster Competition

Fatimah Patel Preston Girls High School

Runner Up 9 – 11 years Maths Poster Competition

Maja Kowalska McAuley Catholic High School

Winner 12-13 years Maths and Music Poster Competition

Laeticia Junanto Bancrofts School

MATHS DEMONSTRATIONS

Maths students can construct displays that involve interesting maths. The most amazing maths dispalys Mathspig has seen were at the 13e Salon Culture & Jeux Mathematique in Paris. Here is LAGA Phd student Attouchi @ the 13e Salon Culture & Jeux Mathematique in Paris.

She was showing students how to use a graph to create anamorphic projections. More detailed instructionshere!!!

Palestinian Maths teacher Daina Taimina has many zany ideas. You’ll more Creative Maths ideashere.

Mentalist Maths … OK. This may include some Card Tricks … but they’re amazing. You’ll find 10 amazing Mentalist Math Trickshere.

Or let students explore some of the inspiring maths websites and pick a project. You will love the amazing German website IMAGINARY. It’s in English and has some fascinating videos!!!!!

Perhaps students could construct double pendulum like this one demonstrated at the MiMa-Museum, Oberwolfach, Germany. Mathspig can’t stop watching it. Fascinating!!!!!!! The double pendulum has some demanding trigonometry, but at the middle school level the 2D graph traced by the lower pendulum is fascinating enough (Below). And maths can provide equations for this movement. That’s impressive.

Mathspig just loves this Fluid Geometry Mural by artist Clint Fulkerson. Here is a Speed Clip of Flulkerson at the University of Maine Art Gallery 2012.

Mathspig went crazy trying to produce her own Fluid Geometry Mural. These guys are artists. But your middle school maths class can use a simple method (See GIF below) and make a fab mural on a white/black board or down a school hallway. This is a great end of year/semester/pre-holidays project.

The reason for tackling such a project is to engage students, who are otherwise not interested in maths as well as do some whole school PR for maths. The mural WILL be noticed. And it makes maths look COOL.You will find more interesting Fluid Geometry works by Clint Fulkerson here.

Mathspig loves this ‘Street Art’ time lapse clip made by projective geometry students at the Technical University, Munich.

SO … thought Mathspig … lets do it! Two days later Mathspig’s eyes nearly crossed trying to locate the Vanishing Point (below), which helps artists draw 3D images. It didn’t work due to the angle of elevation of the camera.

SO .. rethink needed. (See project 1 & 2 below)

Maths Meets Street Art:

Project 1

Students can draw this ‘hole in the earth’ by Circle/Line Art School on paper fairly quickly. The aim here is to practice 3D street Art.

Maths Meets Street Art:

Project 2: The BIG ONE

Students can draw this ‘concrete hole’ by MiltonCor on paper using a ruler, set square and pencils. Then they have to scale it up to a size large enough for them to sit on the steps. The class can the ‘concrete hole’ in chalk in the school yard. Basic shading only is required, not the shading detail shown in this video.

Finally, students can take a photo of themselves sitting on the ‘steps’ with maths books beside them.

Here is the AMAZING thing … according to designer Tom Wujec, who gives the TED lecture (below), the most successful tower builders are not business school graduates or CEOs, but kindergarten students. The stats are in the video. So here is the challenge. Can you build a structure higher than the towers built by kindergarten kids?

Towers built by Kindergarten Kids AVERAGE HEIGHT = 71 CM or 28 INCH

HIGHEST TOWER from 70 challenges = 99 CM or 39 INCH

The Tom Wujec TED talk is aimed at business ‘team building’. Nevertheless, it is an interesting challenge and fun too.

TAKE 2:

In fact, the Marshmallow Tower has been around for a very long time. This challenge for middle school kids involves as many marshmallows and sticks of spaghetti needed to build the biggest tower. This is also a great end of year/semester/week challenge.

Mathspig posted this picture of an awesome marshmallow tower here.

Here are some worksheets on MEAN, MEDIAN and MODE for middle school students. It also involves work with units (Metric/USA). But these are real numbers and the distances that 14 year olds can spit watermelon seeds is amaaaazing!

You can find the free pdf worksheets (included below) here.

Other fun middle school math(s) worksheets in the Hot Heels series at TpT include Unit Rates, Angles, Ratios and Algebra.

Ask volunteers to see how far they can spit a seed. (WARNING: The volunteer must breath in through their nose before they spit. You don’t want them inhaling a seed.)