# MAA AMC Curriculum Inspirations

I believe in good and deep math, and good math appears in all sorts of places. Here are some essays and videos showing how to take some math from the competition world and bring it to the classroom in a way that a) is relevant and connected to the curriculum, and b) revels in deep, joyous, mulling and flailing, and reflection, and intellectual play and extension, and insight, and grand mathematical delight!

Big plans are afoot for this ever-growing contebt! STAY TUNED!

CURRICULUM BURSTS VIDEOS
These short videos get us going on an individual MAA AMC queries. They each have an accompanying essay. (See below).
CB001_Two Trees
CB002_Angles in a Star

CURRICULUM BURSTS
These short one-page pieces each present one interesting MAA AMC query, and follow it with a discussion towards its solution and the thinking process behind that journey to its solution. A sampler…
CB001_Two Trees
CB002_Angles in a Star
CB003_Elite Players and Logarithms
CB005_Focus and Directrix
CB006_Areas in Triangles
CB008_Stacking Coins
CB009_Differences of Four Numbers
CB014_Town Population
CB015_Units Digit
CB017_Distributive Rules
CB018_Sums of Powers of Ten
CB020_Two Digit Means
CB024_Frog LeapingCB025_Intersecting Tetrahedra
CB029_Three-digit Reversal
CB031_Coloring a Pentagon
CB033_A Trigonometric Length

THE TEN PROBLEM-SOLVING STRATEGIES
These TEN essays each give a detailed description of a problem-solving strategy, illustrated through the process of actually solving an MAA AMC problem. All the supporting videos mentioned in the essays are linked here.

MAA_AMC_Inspiration_Letter 1_2012
TOPIC: A 12th-grade question about incircles to triangles.
PROBLEM SOLVING TECHNIQUE: Successful flailing. Go with what you know.
TANTON’S TAKE-AWAY: How to go beyond what the author suggests. Be in charge of your own mathematics!
LINKS TO CURRICULUM VIDEOS:
Incircles and Circumcircles for Triangles
Tangent Lines to Circles
Pythagoras Galore!

MAA_AMC_Inspiration_Letter 2_ 2012
TOPIC: A scary-looking 12th-grade question about algebra and equations and biggest values.
PROBLEM SOLVING TECHNIQUE: Do something!
TANTON’S TAKE-AWAY: How to see the “big picture” of things.
LINKS TO CURRICULUM VIDEOS:
Proving the Reflection Property of an Ellipse

MAA_AMC_Inspiration_Letter 3_ 2012
TOPIC: An 8th-grade question about numbers raised to integer powers.
PROBLEM SOLVING TECHNIQUE: Go for “wishful thinking!”
TANTON’S TAKE-AWAY: Let go of the need for speed.
LINKS TO CURRICULUM VIDEOS:
Explaining Tricky Exponents

MAA_AMC_Inspiration_Letter 4_ 2012
TOPIC: An 8th-grade question about ratios and fractions.
PROBLEM SOLVING TECHNIQUE: The power of drawing a picture.
TANTON’S TAKE-AWAY: Think visually, even in mathematics. (Many mathematicians do!)

MAA_AMC_Inspiration_Letter 5_ 2012
TOPIC: An 10th-grade combinations question
PROBLEM SOLVING TECHNIQUE: Solve a smaller version of the same problem.
TANTON’S TAKE-AWAY: Let’s think about the mathematics education culture we have.
Prototype VIDEO: Technique_Solve a smaller version
LINKS TO CURRICULUM VIDEOS:
On Teaching Permutations and Combinations

MAA_AMC_Inspiration_Letter 6
TOPIC: An 8th-grade distance/time graph problem with connections to 9th to 12th grade topics too!
PROBLEM SOLVING TECHNIQUE: Eliminate incorrect possibilities.
TANTON’S TAKE-AWAY: To model problem-solving… let go of being the expert!
LINKS TO CURRICULUM VIDEOS:
A Brief Introduction to Parametric Equations

MAA_AMC_Inspiration_Letter 7
TOPIC: A 10th-grade geometry question, making good use of area formulas and algebra.
PROBLEM SOLVING TECHNIQUE: Perseverence is key.
TANTON’S TAKE-AWAY: We can model the multi-week research process in the classroom!
LINKS TO CURRICULUM VIDEOS:
Do you believe the area formula for a triangle?

MAA_AMC_Inspiration_Letter 8
PROBLEM SOLVING TECHNIQUE: Can we second-guess the author of the question?
TANTON’S TAKE-AWAY: It is okay to be honest and open when parts of the curriculum are contrived.
LINKS TO CURRICULUM VIDEOS:
Divisibility Rules Galore!
A serious question: Are Factor Trees Unique?
Polynomials and the Reverse Galley Method

MAA_AMC_Inspiration_Letter 9
TOPIC: An ALGEBRA II question to explore after factoring polynomials.
PROBLEM SOLVING TECHNIQUE: Avoid Hard Work!
TANTON’S TAKE-AWAY: We can actively teach the art of “Thinking Berfore you Leap”
LINKS TO CURRICULUM ESSAYS:
A Few Assessment Thoughts

MAA_AMC_Inspiration_Letter 10_ 2013
TOPIC: A 10th-grade question about average counts of birth months.
PROBLEM SOLVING TECHNIQUE: Go to extremes! Ask something absurd!
TANTON’S TAKE-AWAY: “Passive” mathematical concepts can take an active role in discovering real-world results!
LINKS TO CURRICULUM ESSAYS:
The Pigeon-Hole Principle

• ## ON-LINE SHORT COURSES!

QUADRATICS, Permutations and Combinations, EXPLODING DOTS, and more!

Written for educators - and their students too! - this website, slowly growing, takes all the content Tanton has developed in his books, videos, and workshops, and organizes it into short, self-contained, and complete, curriculum units proving that mathematics, at all points of the school curriculum, can be joyous, fresh, innovative, rich, deep-thinking, and devoid of any rote doing! Let's teach generations of students to be self-reliant thinkers, willing to flail and to use their common sense to "nut their way" through challenges, to assess and judge results, and to adjust actions to find success. (Great life skills!)

CHECK OUT: www.gdaymath.com