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Discover STEM

Our next Discover STEM event is on Saturday, March 9, 2024 from 9 am to 12 noon at the Wilkinson Center on BYU campus. Look for preregistration to open around January 2024.

Some booths at previous events:

Food Science

Our booth featured a fun taste test and food items made by food scientists who have graduated from BYU. Food scientists create new food products and ensure that they are safe for you and everyone else to eat.

At home experiment to try: Create rock candy! Follow this link for instructions:

The science behind this experiment: The solution you made is a super-saturated solution, meaning the boiling water has absorbed more sugar than it would have absorbed at room temperature. As the solution cools, the water saturation point of the water will become lower, so the liquid will no longer be able to hold the amount of sugar. The dissolved sugar will be therefore be unable to stay in liquid form, and will instead crystalize on the skewer. If you have a magnifying glass or microscope, take a look at the crystals you’ve grown before you eat them!

A day in the life of a food scientist: As you can see, learning the science behind foods is really interesting! Food scientists must understand chemistry, physics, nutrition, biology, statistics, and more to understand food processes.

To learn more about the exciting things food scientists do at work, visit:

Smart Mirror

The “Internet of Things” is a term we use to describe when objects other than our computer is connected to the web. Today, fridges, toasters, wheelchairs, cars, and many other things use the internet to enhance their use or experience. The demonstration today is of a “Smart Mirror”. A use case of this would be using this mirror to get ready in the morning. As you get dressed and do you hair, you can check the weather, see headlines of the news, and view your calendar. The beauty of this mirror (other than the reflection of you) is that you can add many features such as voice control or motion sensors. So now as you get ready, the smart mirror will wake up and you can tell it to ready your text messages or send an email.

Make your own smart mirror by following the link below:

Learn to Code!

Required Materials: A computer, tablet, or phone with an internet connection (Swift Playgrounds does require an iPad)

Description: (from the Swift Playgrounds Website) “Swift Playgrounds is a revolutionary app for iPad that makes learning Swift interactive and fun. It requires no coding knowledge, so it’s perfect for students just starting out. Solve puzzles to master the basics using Swift — a powerful programming language created by Apple and used by the pros to build today’s most popular apps. Then take on a series of challenges and step up to more advanced playgrounds designed by Apple and other leading developers.” Visit to learn more or download the app yourself. is a website that features a variety of activities designed to teach users of all ages the skills needed to write basic computer programs. Visit give it a try!

What’s Learned: Students will learn basic programming concepts and principles through a variety of interactive games and activities. Some specific skills taught include Swift (Apple’s programming language used to build mobile apps), problem-solving, and basic computer programming.

Fifteen Game

Materials Needed:
PDF file, printed, click here for file
Colored markers or pencils
2 players

Players take turns to color 2 or 3 hexagons at a time that total 15. (A player could color 2 hexagons, e.g. 7 and 8 or a player could color 3 hexagons, e.g. 4, 5 and 6.)
When Player A has colored in the hexagons, they switch, and Player B colors.
The last player to color a combination of 2 or 3 numbers that total 15 is the winner.

Choose a different total to aim for instead of 15, e.g. try 10, 12 or 17.

What’s Learned:
Students practice and reinforce their simple addition skills in a fun, competitive game!

Math Jeopardy

Our booth focused on students solving a variety of math problems (multiplication, division, addition, subtraction, and vocabulary) by playing Jeopardy.

At Home: You will need a large white poster board, markers, and index cards (different colors preferred that correspond to each of the 5 categories). First, come up with a variety math problems (see link below) that range from easy-difficult that your child can solve and write them on the back of the index cards. On the front of the index card, write the “level” of the problem (100 being the easiest-500 being the hardest). Next, make the jeopardy game on the poster board by drawing 5 columns. Write the subject (multiplication, division, addition, subtraction, or vocab) at the top of the column. Then draw 5 rows that are large enough for the index card to fit on. Tape the index cards to the poster board under the corresponding subject with the level of the problem facing outwards. Let the child then pick what problem they want to solve (Ex: “Multiplication for 300”) and let them practice! Keeping score isn’t necessary but could make it more fun.

Link: Here is an example of some questions that you can use from another math jeopardy game:

What’s Learned: Students had the opportunity to practice their multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction skills by answering a variety of problems with varying levels of difficulty. They also reviewed math vocabulary like quotient, product, sum, etc.

Trash-ket Ball

Test your knowledge by solving math problems and scoring a basket with your answer. Time is limited so you have to answer quickly!

At Home: Materials: Trash can (empty), scratch paper, markers, timer, and math problems. (candy is optional)

Directions: Students will answer a question and write their answer on a piece of paper and ball it up. Then they will attempt to make a “trash-ket” with their answer. They will have an allotted amount of time based on difficulty of the problem. Correct answers that scored a “trash-ket” within the allotted time can receive candy.

Purpose: This is a review game that tests understanding of concepts before tests and examinations. It’s a fun way to test your knowledge and make sure you are ready for the big test!

The Tessera

The Tessera is an interactive free alternate reality game. It is transmedia, meaning it is played online as well as in the real world. Within the game, players will solve mysteries left behind by famous historical STEM figures.

Link to Activity:

What’s Learned:The students will learn at The Tessera booth about computational thinking concepts embedded within the game. This will introduce these students to electronics, networks, innovation design, puzzle solving, and much more.


To learn more about The Tessera please visit:

To play the game please visit:

Click for the CipherWheel.

Roller Derby

At Home:

The board has rows numbered 1-12. This can be played alone or against an opponent.

    1. Each player places a specified number (any number between 6 and 12 is recommended) of markers (e.g. pennies, buttons) into the rows in any way each of the players chooses (with any number of markers in any number of rows).
    1. Each player rolls a 6-sided die. The player with the highest roll goes first.
    1. Each player takes turns rolling two dice and removing a marker from the row with the same number as the total shown on the two dice (add the two numbers together). If the row is empty, the player does not get to remove a marker.
  1. The first player to remove all the markers from his/her board wins.

*A variation can include a race to be the first to empty the board where each player rolls as fast as they can without taking turns.

Link to handout: Roller Derby

Sweet Science-y Magic

Our booth focuses on a few simple hands-on products and principles of engineering, specializing in the cool and unusual. What’s the best part? Everything done at the booth can be replicated at home with very little effort!

At Home/Links: Levitating bottle holder:

“Jumpers”: Small devices made from paperclips that store energy in order to bounce super high.

Simple lever arm backpack lifter: Basic lever beam to lift things more easily.

Sneaky numbers game; 0=1 (simplified version):

Paracord vs. Shoelace: Simple tension test to show that paracord’s construction is stronger than a shoelace’s construction, despite being made of the same material.

What’s Learned: Students learn about basic engineering principles like leverage, material science, and some sneaky mathematics games.

The Cycloid Ramp

According to Wikipedia, “a cycloid is the curve traced by a point on the rim of a circular wheel as the wheel rolls along a straight line.” A cycloid looks similar to a half-pipe. If a ramp is made in the shape of a cycloid it will be faster to roll down than any other ramp with the same start and end points. The cycloid has some other interesting properties because of its shape.

What’s learned: At the booth students try and make the fastest ramp for a hot wheels car. Then they present a cycloid ramp and talk about how cycloids are made and the math and physics that make them work. A cycloid is the perfect average or ratio of gaining speed and distance traveled. We will also show how to draw cycloids and investigate the other amazing features of cycloids like no matter where you place the marble on the ramp it takes the same amount of time to reach the bottom.

Links: Sites/Information on Cycloids:

Cool facts about Cycloids and curves:

Cycloids (Master’s Paper):


Cycloidal Ramp Demonstration –

Another Demonstration –

How to Draw a Cycloidal Curve –

Cycloidal Ramp Compared to others –

More indepth information –

Interactive site – (does require download, do at own risk)

Waging War with Numbers

At Home: Materials: Regular deck of playing cards. To play with two players, give half of the deck to each player, instructing them to hold them face down, without looking at the cards. Both players will turn two cards over from the top of their deck and quickly calculate the sum of their own cards. The black cards represent positive numbers, and the red cards represent negative numbers. Whichever player has the highest sum gets to take all the cards that have been turned over (there will be four) and add them to their deck. The player who ends up with all the cards (or the highest number of cards) at the end is the winner. To play with four players, divide the deck into four equal parts and give one part to each player. Two players will be on a team, and each will turn over one card. They will take the sum of their card and their teammate’s card, and compare it to the sum of the cards the other team turned over. Then the team with the most cards at the end wins. This game can also be played by finding the product of the two cards, rather than the sum.

What’s learned: This activity provides practice for students who are learning to add (or multiply) using negative numbers. The more practice they have, the faster they will be able to do it. The students will notice that having a card with a large number will not help them if that card is red. This will reinforce the concept that when you go in the negative direction down the number line, the values actually get smaller instead of larger. This game also helps teach students that a positive plus a positive yields a positive, a negative plus a negative yields a negative, and when adding a positive and a negative, the sum will have the sign of the number with the largest absolute value. When using multiplication instead of addition during the game, students will get practice with the fact that a positive times a positive is positive, a negative times a negative is positive, and a positive times a negative is negative.

Math Brain Teasers and Tricks

These are two fun math tricks that are easy to recreate at home!

At Home:

Finding Someone’s Age (for explanation of the math behind it, see

    • Have them multiply the first digit of their age by 5
    • Have them add 3
    • Have them double that number
    • Have them add the second digit of their age to that number
  • Have them subtract 6 and you will have their age!

Birthday Math Trick: (

  • Add 18 to the month they were born
    • Multiply by 25
    • Subtract 333
    • Multiply by 8
    • Subtract 554
    • Divide by 2
    • Add their birth date (day)
    • Multiply by 5
    • Add 692
    • Multiply by 20
    • Add only the last two digits of their birth year
  • Subtract 32940 to get their birthday!

For more fun math tricks, visit!

What’s Learned: With math tricks, kids not only have the chance to practice performing arithmetic, but also will be asked to think critically about why the tricks work, which helps them creatively analyze the math behind it. Math tricks are also beneficial because they help kids get excited as they see that math can be fun!

“Can You Step Through a Piece of Paper?”

At our booth the students will be dealing with concepts in math related to area and perimeter. The students will be given a piece of paper and asked if they can cut a hole big enough to step through.

The idea behind this trick, is that there is a certain way to cut the paper that creates more perimeter while keeping the same area. With a greater perimeter a larger whole will be cut in the paper.

At Home: Here is a website that explains step by step how the process works, and give a template to use when cutting your paper:

Tangoes Mania

This is an easy, fun activity that can be done at home!

At Home: You can find tangram puzzles online to print out at ( ), or your child can work on tangram puzzles on this website ( ).

The tangram game we play at our booth is called Tangoes, and can be bought on Amazon at

What’s Learned: This activity helps children explore geometric shapes and how they can work together to make a picture.

Have fun with you kids learning about shapes, and make these puzzles into competitions if you want!


This is a simple activity that can be recreated at home!

At Home: Simply print out a set of 12 pentominoes, and cut them out. The goal is to create rectangles out of the pieces, using as many as possible.

Links: Here are some links to some pentomino printables:

And here is a digital version of the game:

What’s learned: The mathematical concepts students will learn at this booth are related to geometry. Being able to make large rectangles out of these pieces also requires a certain level of visual and spatial ability, as well as problem solving ability. It’s a fun puzzle that encourages students to like math. They can also help teach concepts like area and perimeter, tessellation, reflection, and rotation.

Here is a website that describes more of what children can learn from pentominoes:

Mobius Strips

Do you know how to create a piece of paper with only one side? They are called mobius strips. Mobius strips only have one side and one edge. That is what makes them unique.

At Home: To create a version of a mobius strip, take a strip of paper and bring them together as if you’re going to connect them. Before connecting them with a piece of tape or glue, give a twist to one of your ends. Then match the two ends together with the piece of tape or glue. When starting to make a mobius strip, you’ll notice that the paper has two sides–a front and a back. But when you twist one end and then stick the two ends together you’ll notice that the mobius strip only has one side. To prove this, take a pencil and draw a line without picking up your pencil. You’ll notice that it will be continuous and involves both “sides” of the paper. After completing the line that you drew by connecting it to the starting point, try to see if you can find a side that doesn’t have any pencil line. You’ll find that there isn’t–so there really is only one side.

See what happens when you cut a slit in the middle of your mobius strip and cut through the center throughout the whole strip.

See what happens when you cut a ⅓ way through, go all the way around, around again, and completing the cut with this time around.

Application: Mobius strips have been used in conveyor belts to decrease the wear and tear of the belt (the entire surface area gets the same amount of use). Try to learn why and notice the patterns of using different number of twists in making your strips.

Link (with picture):öbius_strip

“What Does Ice Cream Have to do with Murder?”

When we compare the graphs of murder occurrences with a graph of ice cream consumption we see that there is a peak in both graphs during the summer. Does this suggest that eating more ice cream causes an increase in murder? Of course not! There is a lurking variable that explains the similarities in the graphs. For the case of ice cream consumption and murder, the rising temperature explains the correlation. There are many graphs that show similar trends, but definitely do not suggest causation.

The purpose of this activity is to discover than correlation is not the same as causation. With the warmer temperatures, people are more likely to eat more ice cream and crime rates also increase. That is why ice cream consumption and murder rates show similar trends in their graphs.

Link: To discover more examples of correlation, go to and investigate into what the lurking variable may be!

Math Throughout Time

Have you ever wondered where math came from and what it used to be like? Our booth focused on Math History and how math has evolved throughout the ages to get to where it is today.

Showing students examples of and having them complete magic squares of size 3 is one of the activities students can do at our booth. Magic Squares are squares that contain consecutive numbers starting from 1 and arranged so that all the rows, columns, and corner-to-corner diagonals add up to the same total. Many of the early civilizations’ mathematicians used magic squares to explore mathematics.

Links: You can learn more about magic squares by going to

Another thing students can do at our booth is to look at examples of the unique Egyptian Mathematics such as multiplication and division and have the opportunity to try those strategies out for themselves. – More on Egyptian Mathematics can be found at

Lastly, we would like students to experience double digit multiplication with Chinese counting rods. Students will be able to see how the Chinese used these counting rods to represent numbers and how they multiplied the numbers together using these rods.

You can learn more about how to create numbers using Chinese Counting Rods at For how to use these rods to multiply numbers, go to

These activities will help students better understand the math used in history and appreciate the methods we have today due to their efficiency and simplicity.

“Rebounding” Recipes

Our booth is a game focused on fraction conversions. Imagine you are making a recipe, but you find that you do not have the necessary amounts of ingredients to make it a success. Imagining this dilemma should not a problem, as we have all encountered this situation just a few times in our lives. But, we can often “rebound” the recipe to victory through utilization of fraction division. In another situation, you may want to increase the yield of the recipe and thus, use your knowledge of fraction multiplication to do so. Practice makes perfect in this game where the children will each take turns converting ingredients of the recipe through fraction division and multiplication.

What’s learned: Students learned to apply fraction multiplication and division by manipulating a bouncy ball recipe. They saw that doubling or cutting a fraction in half doesn’t change the fraction, rather it affects the amount of the ingredient. As part of the whole recipe, our manipulations caused the amount of each individual ingredient to increase or decrease. All together, however, the fraction relationships between them remained the same because the converted fractions are equivalent fractions. Attached is a link to some other simple, fun recipes kids can use to practice their fraction multiplication and division. Or, just have them help you bake cookies next week and double the recipe, because you deserve lots of cookies.

Links: Bouncy balls –

Other fun recipes –

Liars Dice

This is the dice game played on the pirates of the Caribbean. It is a game of luck and probability.

At Home: Materials: Many dice and cups.

At least two players are needed. Players choose a number 1-6. They roll their dice and guess the number of dice that landed face up with their chosen number. They make their guesses based on their small sample size of the population of dice on the table. Beginners may make a lot of guesses and hope it works out. As they gain experience they will start to recognize high and low probabilities. As they continue they may even start to configure exact probabilities in their head.

Link: The following website gives a great description of how to set up and play.

Dice Games

What’s learned: In our probability booth we will be demonstrating the principles of probability and how those principles work in a hands-on application. In our booth we are using dice called non-transitory or non-transitive dice. There are at least three die, A, B, and C, such that A rolls higher than B more than half the time, B rolls higher than C more than half of the time, and C rolls higher than A more than half of the time. In our demonstration we allow the kids to chose a die, and then from the remaining dice we chose the dice that will roll higher than their die. Whoever rolls the higher numbers in a sequence of rolls wins. But because the dice are non-transitive, we always have a higher chance of winning because we chose the die that is more likely to beat their dice. After many tries of wins and loses the numbers will show the probability that we will win is higher than their chance. The probability for a non-transitive dice is 5/9.


Speed Math Cap

This is an activity to help students learn their math facts and be able to solve problems faster. This project is simple and very helpful and fun for students. It tests their ability to recognize math facts and solve different problems faster.

At Home: This project is done by writing down math facts. The difficulty level depends on the grade and capacity of the child. There are three different levels, easy, medium, and hard. You write down a set of problems maybe 10 problems. Collect water bottle caps and write down the answer on the caps. Cut the top of the water bottle that fits the cap and glue it to a Styrofoam board. Place the problems on the Styrofoam and mix the caps with the answers on them next to the problem. You can even turn them upside down so the student doesn’t start ahead. Set a timer and time how long the student takes to solve the set of problems. When the student has improved in time, move to the next level. This will help the student improve in their math skills and enjoy solving math problems. You can even make two sets and have the student race a friend and make a challenge out of it with rewards.

Sound Waves

What’s Learned: At our booth, students will learn about the science of sound and how sound can be modeled with mathematics. Specifically, sound generating electronics will be utilized to demonstrate how mathematics can generate sound. Through hands on interaction with said electronics students will be able to experiment with and visualize some of the more creative applications of mathematics.

Additional resources:


At Home: Materials: 3 butter knives and 3 cups of the same height.

Set up the cups equal distances from each other. The cups will make a triangle. Every side of the triangle should be one butter knife in length. Place the butt of each knife on the center of a different 3 cup, overlay the knives in the center of the triangle so the each weave together in an over under pattern. For help, watch this video.

What’s Learned: Students will learn about forces, tension, applications of geometry, applications of trigonometry, and building design in our activity. They will get the chance to see how tension forces can be applied in unique ways to make a ridged standing structure. They will see how geometry can be used to design structures that are both strong and flexible. Students will be able to see how trigonometry can be used to calculate forces.

Links to more information:

As Sensitive as Can Be

This activity involves the use of UV-colour changing beads to measure the intensity of ultraviolet light from a black light and the sun. Ultraviolet colour changing beads contain special pigments that make them sensitive to UV light. (These “color changing beads” can be bought online or at Walmart.)

What’s Learned: The children will learn from this activity that the sun produces light in all wavelengths including the invisible light like Ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet light is an invisible light from the sun. It is however, visible to a number of insects and birds. It can cause skin burns, skin cancer, eye damage and it can also destroy our cells. The children will also be informed that the Earth’s atmosphere protects us to a certain degree from UV light. Factors like pollution weaken the ozone layer that is responsible for protecting us from UV light. The ultraviolet colour changing bead is a brilliant object for detecting UV and estimating its intensity. The children will be encouraged to think of different ways they can protect themselves from UV radiation.

At Home (Method): There are different ways of conducting experiments with UV colour changing beads. In this case, we will demonstrate only one way and talk about other fascinating ways that UV beads can be used. We will make use of a black light bulb screwed into a lamp. Black light emits a minute amount of UV light enough to change the colour of the beads. This although basic, demonstrates to the children that there are different kinds of light and that UV light always has an effect no matter how little its intensity may seem. The children will then be made to understand that the light from the sun has a much greater effect on the beads. They will be able to tell by the colour spectrum of the beads. The darker the beads, the more intense the UV radiation.

Another experiment is the sunscreen demonstration. In this experiment, the beads are put into 4 separate plastic bags. The bags are labelled numerically and then one is set aside as the control experiment. Sunscreen is then rubbed on the top of three of the bags and all the four bags are then exposed to sunlight. The bag that has the faintest coloured beads has the most effective sunscreen and vice versa. The effectiveness of sunglasses can also be measured using UV beads. This can be done by placing one of the lens of the sunglasses over a plastic cup that contains UV beads. If the beads change colour, then we can conclude that those sunglasses are not very good eye protectors. This concept can also be applied to medicine bottles.

UV colour changing beads are fun to experiment with and are a safe and wonderful way to make children aware of their surroundings.

Link: For more information, you can refer to:

Cups and Cubes Game

At Home:


1) a divider such as a string or a line on paper

2) small objects of similar size that fit under the cups such as cubes or cereal

3) cups or bowls to hide the small items


1) both sides have the same total number of objects

2) every cup is hiding the same number of cubes

The goal of the game is for an individual to determine how many cubes are hidden under a cup.

For example, imagine Side A had 3 cubes and 2 cups, and Side B had 1 cube and 3 cups. Knowing both sides have the same total number of cubes, students could determine that each upside-down cup was hiding 2 cubes. Technically, they are solving 3 + 2x = 1 + 3x, but usually students solve it without a formal equation.

Strategies often follow a pattern of pairing the two cups on Side A with two of the cups on Side B (so 1 cup is left over on Side B) and also pairing 1 cube on Side A with 1 cube on Side B (so 2 cubes are left over on Side A). Algebraically, that is equivalent to subtracting 2x from both sides and subtracting 1 from both sides. The result is then visible. With this specific example, to make the sides equal the cups each need two cubes.

Probability Dice Game

At Home: Our activity consists of using dice to play a probability game, in which the goal is to accumulate the most points. In a round, the student has ten rolls of the dice. At each “level” of the game, the student has two options: roll and risk losing all accumulated points but have the chance to gain more points, or keep the points and return to the first level.

    • The first level is worth 1 point, and any roll from 1-6 is considered successful.
    • The second level is worth 5 points, and any roll from 2-6 is considered successful.
    • The third level is worth 10 points, and any roll from 3-6 is considered successful.
    • The fourth level is worth 15 points, and any roll from 4-6 is considered successful.
    • The fifth level is worth 30 points, and the student must roll a 5 or a 6.
  • The sixth level is worth 50 points, and a 6 must be rolled to be considered successful.

What’s Learned: After playing the game, we’ll be analyzing the probabilities of reaching each level, and analyzing with the students different strategies for playing the game. Students will learn basic principles of probability.

Mario Kart Mechatronics

The place where Electrical, Mechanical and Computer Engineering unite: how to build robots to automate our everyday lives.

What’s learned: At our booth students will be introduced to DC motors, circuitry, c++, and given the chance to play Robo Mario kart.

Link: We will use arduino robots similar to:

Divide and Conquer

This activity helps the students refine their long division skills. They will learn to solve long division problems, quickly and efficiently.

At Home: For this activity the students must have a basic understanding of long division. The pressure of making it a competition will make the activity fun and add to their skills of doing long division quickly and efficiently. (Option 1) Children will compete against each other to see who can divide two numbers the fastest. (Option 2) A parent can also challenge their child in a long division challenge. Just have a third party come up with a division equation and have the parent and child individually solve the problem at the same time. Whoever solves it first, correctly and fastest, wins!

Links to learn more:

The 8 Queens Problem

Students can learn about rotation, reflection, and the skill of strategy.

At Home: This activity can be easily done at home. All you need is a chess board with either 8 queens or 8 pieces that can represent queens (these queens move as they do in a normal game of chess). The goal of this activity is to place all 8 queens on the board without them having the option to hit each other.

Links: This link explains the process of the game and the reasons why it works:

This link gives you options to play it on the computer:

Statistic Shoot Out

From this activity students learn what mean, median, and mode are and how to find them.

At Home: Materials: Playing cards and a nerf gun

Set up the playing cards so they are the targets. We used forks as stands to hold the playing cards, but you can use whatever you have around the house. Shoot the nerf gun to knock down the playing cards. Take the playing cards you knocked down and find their mean, median, and mode.

What’s learned: Mean, median, and mode are types of “averages”. Mean is the form of average we use most. We find mean by adding up all the numbers and then dividing by how many numbers you have. Median is the middle value in the list of numbers. To find the median, your numbers must be in numerical order. Mode is the value that appears most often in your list of numbers. If there are no repeating numbers in the list then there is no mode for those numbers.

Link to handout: Statistic Shoot Out

Links to learn more:

Amazing Equation

This activity can help students to become familiar with mathematical operations and their rules.

At Home: Materials: A whiteboard and a few sketch papers with pens.

Write down the following equations

without operators (shown below). Then

ask each person to write down the

operations to make the equation true.

The answers are:

Multiplication Go Fish Game

What’s learned: Students learn basic multiplication skills.

At Home: Doing this at home is very simple! With your older children, follow the link below, and it will take you to detailed instructions. Essentially, you make homemade game cards and follow the game instructions on the website!



The basis of our booth comes from the website, about estimation. It will explain what estimation is, why it is important, and give examples of how to use it in everyday activities, such as finance and time. On this website contains lots of information along with several activities that parents can use to develop this skill.

Malfoy’s Magical Math

Students learn how to convert money from one money system to another. This is a life skill that can help them in a lot of different aspects. It also connects things that they like into a learning process.

At Home:  This activity can be used in anyway at home, just find something you want to convert from muggle to wizard money, or vice versa. See the links below for reminders on what the exact conversions are.

Links: OR Magical Math, Harry Potter problem solving

Coin Flip Probability Game

This activity teaches the student about probability.

At Home: To do our activity at home, you just need a few regular pennies and a flat surface. You begin by flipping a penny several times and measuring the likelihood of it landing on heads versus landing on tails (it’s about a 50/50 chance). Then try spinning the penny. It will land on tails about 80 percent of the time, due to the fact that the heads side is heavier.


Geometry with Marshmallows and Toothpicks

Our booth is about finding perimeter, area and volume using marshmallows and toothpicks.

At Home: Materials: Marshmallows (small or big or mix), and toothpicks (small/big)

Participants can use marshmallows as vertices and toothpicks as sides or edges to create a variety of shapes of their choosing. For example, a simple construction of a square can be created with four toothpicks and four marshmallows at each corner. Participants can also make a 3D shape, such as a square pyramid, with a square as base and four toothpicks reaching up to a center fifth marshmallow. The participants will then be challenged to find the area and perimeter of their shape for 2D objects. For 3D objects, they can find the surface area and volume. The crazier the shape the participant makes, the greater the mathematical challenge!

Example: A participant creates a rectangular prism, with 3 toothpicks as the length, 2 as the width and 1 as the height. One toothpick is one unit. The area of the base would be 3*2=6 units squared. The other sides would have area of 1*2=2 units squared and 1*3=3 units squared respectively. The whole surface area would then be 6+2+3+6+2+3=22 units squared. The volume would be 3*2*1=6 units cubed.

Origami – Where Math and Engineering Meet

What’s Learned: Students will have the opportunity to see and fold various origami patterns that have been adapted to solve engineering problems. Some of these applications include: foldable solar arrays, ballistic barriers, and surgical forceps. Students will learn how math can be used in the design and analysis of origami.

More Information: This booth is sponsored by the BYU Compliant Mechanism Research Group. More information including folding patterns and videos are available at, Additionally, students and parents might be interested in an hour long NOVA segment, “The Origami Revolution” in which some of our more recent work is featured along with modern applications of origami inspired design. This clip is available at