On July 25, 2018, I was given the opportunity to participate in the Ohio State Fair, which is the biggest fair in Ohio and is held each year. The name of our booth was Deep Fried Math. We offered 5 different activities: tangram puzzles, tiling turtles, spiraling pentagons, pattern blocks, and (my activity) Islamic Geometric Patterns. Previously, I have participated in many Math events for the public, including the Julia Robinson Math Festival, Math Circle for Students, Math Night, and many more, but this one was totally new to me and different. This is why I took two activities, in case the main one did not work I would have a Plan B.
Plan A was giving construction steps to create an Islamic Geometric Pattern, something I do for many events. This activity is good for many reasons, but one of the disadvantages is that it is time consuming and it takes 30-60 minutes, depending on the kids. After setup and the first 15 minutes, I felt that this was not the right activity and it was not attracting any kids. The main reason was that kids usually stay a short time in each booth and the activity should be visually attractive to make it appealing. So I decided to go to Plan B, which involved the very colorful Islamic geometric tiling that I bought couple years ago online (http://www.karavansera.com). This activity was not only attractive to kids but also for adults and the other math teachers in our booth, so much so that some of them decided to buy the tiling kit.
A couple of things made me happy about this event. First, families of kids were also involved in the activity and a very diverse group families came to to our booth and participated in most of the activities: young people, parents, and grandparents could all be seen involved in these activities. One case was especially interesting. A father came with his daughter. The father was disabled and was using a wheelchair. At first he did all the tiling by himself and then later he could not reach some of the tilling to fill the pattern, so he asked his small daughter to work with him to finish the tiling. It was one of the best moments of all the math events I have participated in so far. I was proud to be there and make these kids and families happy.
The second thing that made me happy that we received an award and here you can see the photo of it thanks @kim_yoak for taking the picture. I was fortunate to be there that day and make new math teacher and math educator friends.I also learned about OCTM (Ohio Council of Teachers of Mathematics). Other members of Deep Fried Math can be found on Twitter @batty314 (organizer) @SamanthaFales @mathbarb @mathannika. (I learned about this event through Twitter.)