The eighth annual Manhattan Country School Community Math Night, an event where MCS families can experience the wonders and challenges of mathematics together, was themed around our school building, with all its interesting and sometimes puzzling features. Visitors could go on a scavenger hunt, searching our shared spaces for all kinds of unique shapes, including an irregular dodecahedron (that is, a 12-sided polygon where all the sides are not equal), tessellating diamonds and odd combinations of circles, rectangles and triangles that form light switches, radiator covers and towel dispensers.
Families also learned about one of the overlooked features of the building, which is that every room is numbered in Braille, the system of raised dots used by the visually impaired to read or “feel” language. By wandering from door to door, visitors were able to compile a list of all the digits from 0 through 9 that make up the Braille numbering system, and then use that to decode a set of room numbers. Those who successfully completed the task discovered that the rooms they decoded don't exist and the room numbers on each floor are not sequential. On the third floor, for example, room 300 is located next to room 302, and room 306 is next to room 310, omitting rooms 307, 308 and 309.
Finally, families could choose to take an orange "explore" card, where they could learn about many other features of the MCS campus, including the fact that the number of steps from the first to second floor varies depending on which staircase you use, or that our water fountains are keeping an eye on how much water we save by using them to fill our water bottles.
Many thanks to our sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade docents who helped families navigate all the different challenges, and the families for coming out to challenge their brains!