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The Boy Who Dreamed of Infinity Author Visit + Inspiring Math Activities for All Ages

Hear the author's story behind The Boy Who Dreamed of Infinity (which involves a little girl, an adventure, and the discovery of a lost notebook!). Look inside the book. And explore some inspiring math activities (for all ages) rooted in traditional geometry and games of India.

Amy Alznauer

45 Minute Program



I will first tell my story and the story of the book, intertwining a look inside The Boy Who Dreamed of Infinity with my own history, in an engaging multi-media presentation. (10-15 minutes)

Then, after some questions and back and forth (5 minutes or so), I will transition to some wonderful activities. Here is a list of possibilities (from which you can choose one or two, or instead opt for a short tour of all of them): (30 minutes)

1. Magic Squares - For anyone who can add single digit numbers this is a beautiful way to practice arithmetic and get inspired by the wonderful world of number theory. We will explore the magic squares Ramanujan played with at age 10 and later recorded in his notebook and learn some tricks for constructing magic squares and thinking about their fascinating properties.

2. Goats and Tigers - We will learn and play a wonderful game of strategy, like chess or checkers, that is traditional in South India. And afterward you can download your own game board, illustrated by Daniel Miyares himself, the illustrator for The Boy Who Dreamed.

3. Kolam Tiles - We will explore the beautiful geometric art of South India called kolams, by thinking about the six essential shapes and basic rules of these fascinating designs. Then we will play with building and drawing them ourselves, giving our left-right brains a wonderful workout and simultaneously learning about symmetry.

4. What is inside a number? We will think about how to crack numbers open and see what lies inside by exploring partitions, prime factorizations, and infinite series. This would be better for mid to upper elementary kids (say, fourth, fifth and sixth grade).

About the Author

Amy Alznauer’s writing has won the Annie Dillard Award for Creative Nonfiction and the Christopher Award.

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