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Marvelous Math Library: Fun-tastic Math Resources for Your Family

Introducing our Marvelous Math Library! Each week, we will release a short list of resources to tie you over during this challenging time. The goal is to keep your family entertained while simultaneously providing mental and intellectual nourishment.

The types of resources will vary week to week, and since math is very near and dear to our hearts, this will be the nourishment of the mathematical kind. 

Our hope is that your children become so engaged that they will be inspired to make discoveries of their own. After all, Isaac Newton dreamed up the idea of calculus while sheltering away from London during the Great Plague.

With this in mind, here is the first batch. The materials included in this post should be of special interest to elementary and middle school students, but may be fun for the whole family!

You may spy an eye symbol 👀 next to some of the items. It means that this particular resource is a visual feast!

In this issue:

  • Books and Coloring Books

  • Curious Websites

  • Games and Manipulatives

  • Video Games


Books and Coloring Books

The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure by Hans Magnus Enzensberger

A whimsical, generously illustrated novel that makes math an exciting voyage. From the publisher: In twelve dreams, Robert, a boy who hates math, meets a Number Devil, who leads him to discover the amazing world of numbers: infinite numbers, prime numbers, Fibonacci numbers, numbers that magically appear in triangles, and numbers that expand without end. As we dream with him, we are taken further and further into mathematical theory, where ideas eventually take flight, until everyone — from those who fumble over fractions to those who solve complex equations in their heads — winds up marveling at what numbers can do.


Patterns of the Universe: A Coloring Adventure in Math and Beauty by Alex Bellos (author), Edmund Harriss (illustrator) 👀

A true visual feast for the young artist and budding mathematician. This coloring book provides a wonderful exploration of patterns, enough to keep children of all ages engaged for hours and days. One particular review on Amazon described it as “Dazzling and calming at the same time, this unique coloring book combines mathematics and art in a way that delights.”


Curious Websites

ETÉREA – The Work of Cristóbal Vila at https://etereaestudios.com/works/. There are some wonderful animated short films on this site. Especially enjoyable for children and adults alike are Nature by Numbers and Infinite Patterns. 👀


Games and Manipulatives

Pattern blocks. These are a good way to quickly create and demonstrate tessellations, but they can be so much more! Don’t be surprised if the children turn out to be more creative in this endeavor than the adults! Take a peek at some examples that one of our own has come up with. 👀


SET: The Family Game of Visual Perception. This card game is terrific for learning to detect patterns in unexpected ways. Another bonus: you can now play it online on the New York Times puzzles page! And for the very mathematically inclined family members, here is an interesting read on the topic: A Simple Proof From the Pattern-Matching Card Game Set Stuns Mathematicians.


Video Games

Monument Valley on iOS and other digital platforms. A remarkably beautiful and engaging three-dimensional geometry game with visuals reminiscent of the works of M. C. Escher and lovely background music. A feast for the senses! 👀

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