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A Middle School Math/History Quest By Dea Jones Summit Parkway Middle School Columbia, SC dejones@richland2.org

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Encourage active engagement Promote collaboration Promote school as community Encourage research and extension Encourage “thinking outside the box” Why?

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Common Core State Standards; Standards for Mathematical Practice: Students should: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. Reason abstractly and quantitatively. Use appropriate tools strategically

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A Mathematical Quest Should you choose to take this challenge, You’ll work hard, to be sure. There are riddles, codes, and puzzles You’ll have to endure. A puzzle leads to a clue master, Who will guide you with a clue. All the clues point to a mathematician, And you must tell me who.

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Continued… Complete the clue sheet. Find the importance of each. Then make a presentation, In order to teach. So...prepare to be challenged Sharpen your mind like a sword! For those who complete this treasure hunt... There waits a BIG reward!

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continued One little hint….it’s a secret, Shhhhhhhh...don’t tell! This little web site Might help you as well: http://www.nsa.gov/kids/

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A clue… Clue #1 Here is all you need to do. First, solve the sudoku. If this puzzle you dare enter Look at the panel bottom center Read diagonal increasing left to right Three little numbers are in your sight It’s not as hard as it might appear The numbers form an important year

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1763 867 41572 65432 7364 86159 8294 852 3697

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Another… Clue #2 Here’s the next clue. It totally rocks! To figure out this one, Explore CAESAR’S BOX. S D L Y X A T A I I A E U T B N N G D T R A D Y I H A L R P E E R E I T

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And another… Clue #4 Three important PEOPLE Lie in wait for you to find Get your brain juices flowing, put code-breaking on your mind. Listen carefully lest you be cursed! Let the 19TH letter be the first! 13 26 9 2 23 1 2 16 13 22 13 1 24 16 17 12 17 9 1 11 23 22 23 22

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Just one more… Clue #7 How many grains of sand Would fill in the universe? This question might be a challenge. Or maybe it’s really a curse! To find the next clue, beware! The word is carefully hid. You’ll need to explore and practice a little With a cipher called POLYBIUS GRID. 44 11 34 14 43 15 13 31 35 34 15 43

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How? 1.Choose a mathematician/scientist- someone who interests you. 2.Research and choose 8 facts (dates, places, people, interesting tidbits) 3.Create clues using puzzles and codes. 4. Distribute puzzles to school personnel and give them passwords. 5. Introduce the project. Have students research and figure out all the clues and their significance. 6. Set due date (allow for collaboration and research, presentation design, etc.)

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1. Choose a Person…

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Albert Einstein

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Emmy Noether

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Srinivasa Ramanijan

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This year: Neil deGrasse Tyson!

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2. Research 8 Facts… Dates… Accomplishments… People… Places… Important tidbits…

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3. Create clues using puzzles and codes…

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Dates… Are you ready to quit? Don’t stop now, you can do it! Here’s the next clue. Step up and go to it! Mayan numbers are cool, You’ll soon discover, If this important DATE You hope to uncover! MCMXIX You’re almost there, Don’t give up, keep on trying! Else others will reap While you sit crying! Here’s the last clue, An important YEAR you must find To figure this one out Let ROMAN NUMERALS fill your mind! Why is this year important? One more challenge to beat… Just like the adversity she faced To live her life complete!

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Oh Smart one, so eager For your quest to start, You’ve crossed the first obstacle, So perk up and take heart! The first clue’s a challenge. An important DATE awaits you Explore BINARY NUMBERS To uncover this clue. 1100 / 10110 / 11101011111 You’ve met every challenge Thrown at you so far Do you think you can finish? Are your skills up to par? This brain tickler is wicked, And vicious, it’s true. Study EGYPTIAN NUMBERS to discover this clue. An IMPORTANT DATE Is what you seek. So be bold! Be brave! No time to be meek!

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Here is all you need to do. First, solve the sudoku. Then, if this puzzle you dare enter Look at the panel in the center. Don’t count the number in the center exact Proceed with caution and carefully act. Look center top, center bottom, Center right, and center left, my dear This is how you’ll find a very important year 71 38 4792 587136 237 168 67581 381569 2475 5321

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People, Places, Things… The first clue made your brain hurt But your troubles have just started. Just stay fully focused And don’t get down-hearted! To a very important PLACE This next clue will lead. CAESAR’S CIPHER you must practice And you’ll be smart indeed. It’s not that hard, But for a key you will thirst This might be helpful … Make the 14th letter first! 18 5 2 17 18, 7 14 26 22 25 1 14 17 8

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To find this place, look across the sea to “the boot”. The island it kicks is a start An ancient Greek city thrived here long ago With a powerful HIERO at its heart. Your clue is the name of this ancient city so fair Find postal code 96100 … if you dare!

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Intrepid cryptographer, Here is your clue. It’s a place where a person Gives education its due. Ivy is its league Its halls are for learning, Over many a year, It calls out with yearning. There’s royalty in its name It’s motto you can bet In an ancient language written “Dei sub numine viget” Descartes had it right When he spotted that fly! We needed a system To help us to spy. “Where is this place on earth?”, You may ask with dismay. Use these numbers to Help you find your way 46° 57’ N 7° 27’ E

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So you’ve not given up? You continue your quest. Here’s a new type of code Give it a shot, do your best! The mystery person had a NICKNAME It’s your job to uncover it. Use ONE PIG”S PEN If you dare to discover it.

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Ah, you’ve come back for more, How quaint! If you’re wanting an easy one This ain’t! Here’s a code breaker’s nightmare For you. It’s a challenge even for a genius To do! Find an important PLACE Study WINDING WAYS Important keys you need to survive Are DIAGONAL and SIX BY FIVE. Here’s another hint,( if you must peek) It is one of the seven sisters that you seek! B Y A O E N R M C G E L N R E P Y N W L N S A A L I N V A X

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You’ve come so far, 2 challenges you’ve won. This test is even tougher You may wish you’d never begun! Find a PERSON, a PLACE, and a THING Using a code you’ve never seen Study all you can about POLYBIUS GRIDS Find the clues…and what they mean! 22 23 23 11 43 14 55 1311 33 12 43 24 14 22 15 45 11 54 24 13 11 12

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Accomplishments… You are pretty good At this code breaking stuff. But don’t get too cocky Up to now, it’s all been fluff. A serious cryptographer Can do this, of course! To find the GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT Spend time learning Morse! -../../…/-.-./---/…-/./.-././-..//.-//..-./---/.-./--/..-/.-../.-//..-./---/.-.//..-./../-./-../../-./--.// -/…././/./-..-/.-/-.-./-//-./..-/--/-…/./.-.//---/..-.//.--./.-/.-./-/../-/../---/-./…//..-./---/.-.//.-/-./-.--//.--./---/…/../-/../…-/.//../-./-/./--././.-.//

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This next clue’s a tough one But you can solve it if you try Learn about her CONTRIBUTION, (What she did and why). Oh, code-breaking maniac, So nervous and so tense, You’ll need to explore Ciphers called RAIL FENCE! A S R C A G B A B T A T L E R

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Are you ready for a clue? This one’s a real teaser! To unlock the puzzle, Study BOXES by CAESAR! HAINIEISNCMLSWFEMKIELDAADRUBNNEEEYUT

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Throw in Something Obscure!

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Have you given up yet? Hold on! One more clue! Let’s give this mathematician’s Inspiration its due. To solve this puzzle Find your way through the maze. Don’t let the dead endings Leave you in a daze! Pick up the letters As you enter the right sections The word they spell Will guide your DIRECTION Start Finish

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Taxicab… Pluto…

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Distribute the clues to the cluemasters…

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Cluemasters… 2 The leader of the 8th Is who you should find The password is “Pythagoras” He’s got the clue, so be kind ! 4 He’s the BIG KAHUNA, The one in charge The password is “Euler” For a clue that is large! 6 She works in Math AND science Making rockets and a tv show The password is “Newton” For a clue you should know.

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Introduce the Quest…

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Final Instructions For the mathematical quest Make a presentation! It’s easy to do. Include pictures, Info from the clues, And a famous quote, too! Tell about this person’s mathematical contribution Why is his/her work an institution? Congratulations! You’ve accomplished a great deal! Me personally, I’m exhausted, If you had to rhyme like this, How would you feel?

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But seriously, though, Always remember this, do. Math can be a challenge, For me and for you Make it a fun thing, don’t let it scare. Because you can’t escape it Math is EVERYWHERE!!! Are you impressed with my rhyming? I rhyme with great clout! All I have to say is Dr. Seuss, eat your heart out!

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Accommodations/Differentiation Students could work alone or with a partner Students without computer access were given time in class to search online at school Students had two complete class periods to work on the computer presentation with their partner. Students used fair trade opportunity Creativity encouraged in presentations

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Implications… Interesting observations: Students were eager to work together! Students were in need of validation Students were captivated by the clues and the puzzles Positive Outcomes: Powerful class discussions about jobs that use code breaking and computers, ancient historical places and people, and even tombstones! Excellent collaborative work Great school community build up Students attained a deeper understanding of a famous mathematician as a person, warts and all Students were able to take dry math facts and put a human face to them.

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Conclusions… Over 90% of the students liked this project best of all. Learning the history behind the math helped the students understand that math is a human endeavor. It is a quest for the truth and a need to make sense of our natural world. It is done by people just like them who find our world a fascinating place with many unexplored and undiscovered possibilities.

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Would you like the answers?... Clue #1 287 b.c. The year of Archimedes’s birth

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Clue #2 “Studied at the library in Alexandria Egypt” Archimedes studied here with followers of Euclid

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Clue #4 Eratosthenes- a close friend and the librarian at Alexandria Phidias-an astronomer who was the father of Archimedes Conon (of Samos) - a Greek mathematician and astronomer who was also a close friend of Archimedes

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Clue # 7 Sandreckoner The title of a book written by Archimedes that tries to mathematically calculate the number of grains of sand it would take to fill the universe. In it he creates a system of large numbers

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Questions? Comments?

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Try it out! Email me!!! Dea Jones Summit Parkway Middle School dejones@richland2.org

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