Sunday, March 22, 2015

Ultimate Pi Day Party! 3-14-15 9:26:53

Last week, we celebrated the Ultimate Pi Day (3.141592653...) with a Pi Party in the park. We had 20-30 people attend and had so much fun! Here's our Pi(e) spread complete with many homemade and store bought pies.

One of our nerdy attendees made this sign by the pie. Do you get it? Also, our local grocery store got in on the Pi Day fun...notice the price of the mini pie?

We lined the other tables with butcher paper and traced circles for Pi Day Posters and Investigating Pi. One of the attendees decided to reverse my investigating pi lesson to measuring the circumference with a string and seeing how many times she could measure the diameter from the circumference string (a little more than 3). The kids were more excited about the Pi-rate Treasure Hunt! Who can blame them?

Pi-rate booty!

Pi-rate Treasure Hunt:

I printed out an aerial Google Map of the park with clue #1 marked. The park where we had the event had a walking path, so I stuck the clues in obvious places along the path for the problems. Hints were more hidden, so the participants had to actively look for those if they needed the help. The kids had to answer 5 questions (preferably from the same set of questions) to get a prize from the treasure chest.

I had three levels of math problems for the kids to find and solve. I cut and pasted the problems onto colorful 3x5 cards:

Easy (green): Preschool
Medium (orange): k-2 grade
Hard (pink) = 3 grade+

Then I had some problems for adults (yellow) who might have accompanied their kids around. Those were more high school math, up to pre-algebra.

Here are the problems I came up with (note, my goal was to not make anyone cry).

Easy Pi-rate treasure hunt problems
Medium Pi-rate treasure hunt problems
Hard Pi-rate treasure hunt problems
Pi-rate treasure hunt problems for the adults

How did you fare on the Pi-rate Treasure Hunt questions?

How did you celebrate the Ultimate Pi Day??

Just for fun, here's our annual Pi Day Family Photo:

And one of the kids and me:

Previous years' Pi Day Photos.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Pi-rate Treasure Hunt

Guess what?? Pi Day falls on a Saturday this year!! We're definitely celebrating with a Pi Party in the park. We're going to be making Pi Day Posters and Investigating Pi (and eating pie, but that's a normal Pi Day activity). Along with that fun, I'm creating a treasure map and some fun math questions and sending the kids on a Pi-rate Treasure Hunt!

I'll have three different levels of 5 math questions along a path of the park. Clues to solving the problems if they need help will be hidden nearby, but they have to look for them! After solving the fifth problem, they'll get a small prize (leftover party goodies, like mardi gras beads and silly glasses from years of storage).

Easy - 3-5 year olds (preschool)
Medium - 5-7 year olds (k-2nd)
Hard - 7-9 year olds (3-4th)

And just for the adults to play alongside their kiddos:
Adult - Trig and pre-calculus level - brush up on your equations :-)

I don't want to publish all of the problems yet, but here are the preschool Pi-rate Treasure Hunt questions.

Come back after Pi Day to get the complete list of questions and how the hunt went!

Happy Almost Pi Day to you!!

Related Post:
Ultimate Pi Party Pi-rate Treasure Hunt - all questions included.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Different Perspective

One of Miss J's favorite things recently is being flipped upside down. She'll crawl up to me and put her head in my lap as a sign to flip her upside down.

I love caving in and letting her hang upside down. Why?

Babies love to predict what is going to happen next. They crave routine.

She is developing a hypothesis. I'm not so sure what hypothesis/hypotheses she is forming. Maybe it's if I put my head in Mommy's lap, she'll flip me upside down. Most of the time I'll swing her upside down. Every once in a while, I'll do something else, like tickle her to see her reaction.

The world also looks different while hanging upside down. People seem to be hanging from the ceiling! It's not really so, but it looks like it when you're upside down.

Your body feels different! Blood rushes to your head, and endorphins kick in. You try it - handstand on the couch, I won't tell anyone.

Babies are discovering the world around them. Help them out a little bit.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Acute Baby

I saw a design similar to this onesie when I was pregnant with Miss Baby J. We are kind of maker-type people (when we have the time). I put it on my list of things I want to make her, but I figured that I'd never get to it (much like updating this blog, which sat lonely for a few months while I was trying not to drown).

Anyways, I had a few days over winter break to create my own shirt. I dyed a white body suit purple and drew the design in Inkscape before John helped me convert it into a digital file that is compatible with an embroidering machine. It's fun to have unique, nerdy pieces, and "acute" model to wear them:

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Inside of a breast pump

There, I've said it, "breast" is now on my blog. It's no secret that I work full time outside of the house. My breast pump provides me the opportunity to give my children milk during their first year. A few weeks ago, my older pump (~5 yrs old), which I currently use and keep at work, began acting up. It would oscillate and lose suction with each cycle. As an engineer, I wanted to find a fix.

For a week or two, just re-positioning the tube connection to the pump would keep it in long enough for my pumping session. Then that didn't work. I just needed the external pump cylinder (what I'll be referring to as the "suction piece") to stop moving in and out of the pump. If it was stationary, the suction would work just fine. In a pinch, I grabbed some scotch tape (the only tape I had handy) from my desk. That worked for a session or two. Then I added more and more tape until finally I remembered to bring it home to ask John for some duct tape (which we didn't have! I feel like we failed as mechanical engineers).

I explained the situation to John and that I just need the suction piece to stop moving and it works. John wanted to open it up. I was nervous, but it was well out of warranty and heck, we're engineers!

Voila! The inside of the pump. It's so pretty, and fairly basic!

We saw the plastic clips that held the casing surrounding the suction piece were broken and coming off, allowing the piece to move in a way that it wasn't supposed to. We needed something to wedge in there. Luckily, I hoard milk caps (for science!). With a hole cut out to fit the pump cylinder, a milk cap was wedged into the pump. The pump was closed and tested out. It worked!! It's been ok for a week now, and I hope it lasts for another 3 months. A penny solution is much better than buying a new pump!

Broken clips, like the one shown under the motherboard and our milk cap wedged in at the far right

On a customer service note, my original pump did die 9 months into J (5 yrs ago). It was still under the first year warranty, so I called and they overnighted me a new one (which is the one that broke this time)! I was (and still am) a very heavy pump user, and until I acquired a second pump, I was bike commuting with my pump, which probably gave it some extra shaking. All-in-all, I've been very satisfied with my breast pump.

Is there anything you recently took apart or reverse engineered to see how it works?

Are there any mommy tools that could be helped through better engineering and technology?

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) had an innovation contest to redesign the breast pump. I'd love something quieter, less bulky/clunky, and more discrete!