
Almost all of the games we play are based on math in some way or another. Card games, board games, and computer games are designed using statistics, probabilities, and algorithms. Begin by reading about games and game theory. Then you can choose your favorite game and investigate the mathematical principles behind how it works. Can combinatorial game theory help you to win twoplayer games of perfect knowledge such as go, chess, or checkers? (Weisstein, 2006; Watkins, 2004) In a multiplayer…
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Math_p033
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A magic square is an arrangement of numbers from 1 to n2 in an n x n matrix. In a magic square each number occurs exactly once such that the sum of the entries of any row, column, or main diagonal is the same. You can make several magic squares and investigate the different properties of the square. Can you make an algorithm for constructing a Magic Square? Can you show that the sum of the entries of any row, column, or main diagonal must be n(n2+1)/2? Are there any other hidden properties of a…
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Math_p036
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The Game of Life is the invention of the mathematician John Conway. It is a cellular automaton, consisting of a grid of squares that turn "on" or "off" depending on simple mathematical rules that involve neighboring squares. Depending on how the grid is first set up (i.e., the initial conditions), various interesting patterns appear. Can you write a Game of Life program (in JavaScript or any other computer language of your choice)? Can you think of ways to alter the rules that result in…
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CompSci_p030
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How do you turn a 2dimentional piece of paper into a 3dimentional work of art? Origami, the classical art of Japanese paper folding, is loaded with mathematical themes and concepts. What are the common folds in origami, and how do they combine to create 3dimentional structure? Can you classify different types of origami into classes based upon the types of folds they use? Can you show Kawasaki's Theorem, that if you add up the angle measurements of every other angle around a point, the sum…
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Math_p032
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Music has many mathematical elements in it: rhythm, pitch, scale, frequency, interval, and ratio. There are many ways to turn these elements into a science fair project. You can investigate how the scale is based upon a special type of number sequence called a Harmonic Series. Another scale used by Bach, called the "WellTemperedScale" or the "EqualTemperedScale", is based upon a series. How are these mathematical series and ratios related to notes, chords, intervals, and octaves? You can…
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Math_p034
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A fractal is, "a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be subdivided in parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a reduced/size copy of the whole"
(Mandelbrot, 1982). There are many different fractal patterns, each with unique properties and typically named after the mathematician who discovered it. A fractal increases in complexity as it is generated through repeated sets of numbers called iterations. There are many interesting projects exploring fractal geometry that go…
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Math_p031
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Math can make you money! If you understand some basic math, you can make good decisions about how to keep, spend, and use your hard earned dollars. Try an experiment comparing the same balance in different types of bank accounts. How much better is a savings account than a checking account? What difference does the interest rate make? Which is better, an account that earns compound or simple interest? Can you compare the short and long term costs of borrowing money compared to saving the cash…
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Math_p027
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Students who are mathematically inclined can use the student version of a program like MatLab or Mathematica to convert a digital image into numbers, then perform operations such as sharpening or special effects. This is a great way to learn about image processing algorithms.
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Photo_p018
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What do knots, maps, mazes, driving directions, and doughnuts have in common? The answer is topology, a branch of mathematics that studies the spatial properties and connections of an object. Topology has sometimes been called rubbersheet geometry because it does not distinguish between a circle and a square (a circle made out of a rubber band can be stretched into a square) but does distinguish between a circle and a figure eight (you cannot stretch a figure eight into a circle without…
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Math_p030
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Sudoku puzzles have become extremely popular over the past couple of years. You can find books of puzzles for beginners to experts, and many newspapers print Sudoku puzzles daily. This project challenges you to write a computer program to check if your Sudoku solution is correct.
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CompSci_p023
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