Sunday, October 9, 2016

Book Club Week 11 {Math and Magic in Wonderland}

Our eleven-week adventure through the book Math and Magic in Wonderland has come to an end.  If you were with us from the start, congratulations!  If you've just discovered the book club, it's not too late to join in the fun.  I'll be leaving the additional activities and videos for each chapter up on this blog so you can work through them at your own pace.

To celebrate our book club completion, I have some exciting announcements and a give-away you will not want to miss!

Two Great Powers

What did you like best about "Math and Magic in Wonderland"?  Was the ending what you expected?

My twins, L and E, are now thoroughly convinced that they are Lulu and Elizabeth (which they are in a way since they were the inspiration for the main characters).  E is always reminding us that she's the "practical one" and L brings up events from the book as if they actually happened ("Remember when I defeated the Bandersnatch?").  It's so much fun!

One of my favorite quotes from the book is Lulu's speech in Chapter 11:

"All great forces need balance. Light would not exist without the darkness. Imagination would not have meaning unless it is placed on the backdrop of reality. And I say that love and logic need each other, as well. The more mathematical patterns we uncover in our world, the more reason we have to fill our hearts with awe, reverence, and wonder."

This quote inspired me to dig deeper into the math that surrounds us every day.  I selected two natural science explorations for each chapter in the book and put together some fun activities (experiments, nature studies, rabbit trails, and more), which I compiled into a companion PDF called "Math and Magic in Nature".  Here are the topics covered:

Chapter 1: Mrs. Magpie's Manual
      1.1: Animal life expectancy
      1.2: Kaibab squirrels and geographic isolation
Chapter 2: Magic Square
      2.1: Angles in nature
      2.2: Turtle's carapace
Chapter 3: Secret Codes
      3.1: Of cabbages and spirals
      3.2: Cryptography with biology
Chapter 4: Rabbit Trails
      4.1: Circles in nature
      4.2: Rabbit trails of famous scientists
Chapter 5: Two Worlds Join
      5.1: Tessellations in nature
      5.2: Fractals in nature
Chapter 6: River Crossing
      6.1: Buoyancy and fish
      6.2: Wildebeest migration
Chapter 7: Seven Bridges
      7.1 Graph theory and food webs
      7.2 Measuring the height of a tree
Chapter 8: Veracity
      8.1: Mimicry
      8.2: Mimic ratios
Chapter 9: To Catch a Thief
      9.1: Genetic fingerprints
      9.2: Exponential growth in bacteria
Chapter 10: The Vorpal Sword
     10.1: Prime numbers and cicadas
     10.2: Fibonacci numbers, flower petals, and the golden ratio
Chapter 11: Two Great Powers
     Independent research

You can download "Math and Magic in Nature" for $5.99 at

Math and Magic in Camelot!

I'm so excited to bring you Lulu and Elizabeth's next adventure in a land inspired by Arthurian legends.  There they learn about honesty, courage, and perseverance (and solve plenty of math problems).  It all begins when a pigeon delivers a special message:

“If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With 60 seconds worth of distance run,
Then yours is Wonderland and everything that’s in it
And which is more, you’ll earn your sword and crown.” 

-Rudyard Kipling, with some edits by Mrs. Magpie.

I've been working feverishly on this sequel and will post updates on the blog.

Math, Magic, and Monsters?

The kids and I love playing strategy games.  When E (age 7) came up with an idea for a card game where you defeat monsters with your math skills, we took her fabulous idea and ran with it!  At first we figured out the game mechanics on index cards spread out on the kitchen table.  Soon I was teaching E how to use Photoshop to edit stock art, inviting her to type up the game rules, and helping her create a spreadsheet to calculate production costs.  Math and Magic: Monsters will be available later this month.  Stay tuned to this blog for details.  Meanwhile, I can offer you a small sneak peak at the back box cover for the prototype:

$50 Amazon Giveaway

If you enjoyed this book I wrote, 
(If it succeeded in floating your boat),
Please leave a review- 
It’s the least you can do 
To place your Amazon “vote”.

For our Book Club Finishing Party I'm giving away a $50 Amazon gift card to one lucky participant.  To enter, be sure to post an Amazon review for Math and Magic in Wonderland and follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Full Book Club Schedule

Here is the Book Club / Math Circle schedule:

 Week of August 1st:
  • Book Club Kick-Off Party!
  • Read Chapter 1: Mrs. Magpie's Manual
  • Alliteration
  • Memorizing digits of Pi
  • Palindromes
  • Calculating your age on other planets
  • Read Chapter 2: Magic Square
  • Making tangrams
  • Acute, obtuse, and right angles
  • Magic squares
  • Adding consecutive numbers using Gauss's trick
  • Read Chapter 3: Secret Codes
  • Word permutations
  • Cartesian coordinates
  • Operations on odd and even numbers 
  • Read Chapter 4: Rabbit Trails
  • Drawing a perfect circle
  • Making a compass
  • Finding the center of a circle
  • Exploring Pi
  • Famous mathematicians who followed rabbit trails
  • Read Chapter 5: Two Worlds Join
  • Mobius strips
  • Fractals
  • Tessellations
  • Read Chapter 6: River Crossing
  • River Crossing Problems
  • Build a boat and explore buoyancy
  • Read Chapter 7: Seven Bridges
  • Seven Bridges of Königsberg problem
  • The power of exponents
  • Word ladders
  • Thales's method for calculating the height of an object
  • Read Chapter 8: Veracity
  • Truth-tellers and liars
  • Finding a fake coin using a balance scale
  • Archimedes buoyancy principle
  • Read Chapter 9: To Catch a Thief
  • John Napier's Rooster
  • Doubling pennies and calculating exponents
  • Towers of Hannoi
  • Read Chapter 10: The Vorpal Sword
  • Square numbers
  • Prime numbers
  • Fibonacci Sequence
  • Relativity and time dilation
  • Acrostic poems
  • Read Chapter 11: Two Great Powers
  • Book Club Finishing Party with Prizes!

    Thank you for joining us!

    (Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.  Thanks for supporting my blog!)


    1. I'm thrilled to hear about your upcoming book and game. I kept thinking - this book is so great please write another I one!! Thank you so much 😁

    2. Oops- autocorrect added the "I"

    3. Loved your book. My kids and I enjoyed exploring with it and look forward to the next adventure.

    4. Happy George Boole Day! This was a great book club for us to do these past few months - we learned so much more than I expected. We are really looking forward to your next book. I don't know who is more excited - my kids or me! The ending of this book was so perfect for a lead in to another adventure. Thank you, thank you for creating these gems.

    5. Thanks for posting this useful information. This was just what I was on looking for. I'll come back to this blog for sure! I bookmarked this blog a while ago because of the useful content and I am never being disappointed.
      barney | abcya


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