Transform your holiday into a Maths – Camp

Recently I have posted about my holiday to Romania and what I have visited there. During that journey I have thought at different things that could have transformed it into a maths related one. I feel that every holiday could become a maths-camp if you can find the right questions and use your creativity and maths knowledge at the maximum. So the following post is directed more to parents, who I think could transform their children’s holidays in any way they want. So why not try a maths-camp for a start?

Here are a couple of tips and tricks and how I have applied them to my holiday:

1. Observe all the details of the environment. I have tried this while visiting the Knyaz Palace in Ceahlau. The ruins do not give much in general because, unfortunately, the area is underfunded, but there could be much maths concepts hidden there.

One of the activities could be approximating the perimeter of the ruins. All you have to do is measure as best as possible and then you do a sketch to better understand the shape of  the ruins. A lot of discussions could start from this: measuring, different shapes, calculating the perimeter, calculating the area of the ruins, the area of the interior garden and many more.

Another activity I have thought about is estimating the height of the tower(s). This is an activity which offers the opportunity to use trigonometry and the properties of triangles (similar triangles or right angle triangles depending on how complicated you want to make the task). You have an example in the image bellow:


2. Find out about the history of the place. This better applies for when I have visited the town Sighisoara, which was on the most important economic centers in Europe in the 16th – 17th century. Here the discussion could touch topics like financial maths, managing money, proportion (direct, indirect proportion) and even statistics. The town has many museum related to the different guilds and handcraft branches that existed in there. Just choosing that one that is of interest to your child and discover its economic part and how people managed their money in that time. You could touch more on economy and its connections to mathematics.

Moreover, looking at the plan of construction, you could talk about 3D shapes, scale drawing (scale factor), proportion. You could even decompose the buildings into 3D shapes and then construct your own version of the town. Using this, the child could easily the connections between mathematics and architecture.

3. Study the geography and geology of the place. This works wonderful in the Praid Salt Mine. The mine has a museum, which gives a lot of information about the construction of the place and also its geology and geography. If you are afraid of the geology part, you can always refer to the economic part and do so more financial mathematics. But there is much beauty and applications in the geology and geography of the place.

It is quite interesting to discover that “in horizontal section the salt-diapir has an elliptic form, with diameters of 1.2 – 14 km  and in vertical section has a huge mushroom shape”(quote from the Praid Museum). Talking about different sections into 3D shapes could make some light into how the mine really looks like. Also, never say “no!” when you have to explain something about ellipses. Besides all this, “the material of the salt yard is the <halite> that crystallizes in a rectangular system, but sometimes it can have an octahedral shape”(quote from the Praid Museum). Therefore, I would say a little bit of studding the geometry of crystals (symmetry, different  2D and 3D shapes). Bellow are a couple of images of the halite crystal:

 I hope this post encourages you to find different ways to show your child the importance of mathematics in our life and its implications everywhere around us. You don’t have to use high maths concepts, or complicated ones, use something small, do a little research and let your child enjoy and develop its own ideas.

Let me know if you would like to see similar posts in the future. Hope you are all having fun this summer. Thank you for your help and support. Thank you for reading. You can find me on Facebook,  Tumblr,  Google+,  Twitter,  Instagram  and  WeHeartIt. I will try to post there as often as possible. Also my email address is:

Don’t forget that maths is everywhere! Enjoy! 

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