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A decade ago, while researching the expected value for lottery tickets in various states, a group of MIT students won millions of dollars in the Massachusetts $2 Cash Winfall drawing. Do you want to know how they did it? This teacher led activity starts with a lottery, explores expected value, and finally ties into finite projective geometries.

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The game of Tic-Tac-Toe has roots going back centuries. Grid-style game boards have been found in Ancient Egypt, during the Roman Empire, and in our current age on restaurant placemats. Multiple avenues of exploration are possible with this simple children's game. A related game called “Gobblet Gobblers” takes Tic-Tac-Toe to a whole new level!

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College students need to be matched with a roommate. They each make a list of who they prefer to room with. Given the preference lists for each individual, can we find a matching that is stable? That is, would any pair ask to change rooms because they would rather room together than with their current roommates? Explorations lead to new questions or new avenues to investigate using various mathematical methods including, but not limited to, combinatorics, graph theory, or matrices.

A Mad Veterinarian has created three animal transmogrifying machines…
While grappling with the posed questions, players will explore a set of problems, figuring out how and if the machines can complete a given transformation. Connections can be made to invariants, abstract algebra, graph theory, and Leavitt path algebra.

In the television show Futurama, Professor Farnsworth and Amy decide to try out their newly finished “Mind-Switcher” invention on themselves. When they try to switch back, they discover a key flaw in the machine’s design: it will not allow the same pair of bodies to be used in the machine more than once. Is there a way to restore their minds back to their original bodies?

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Developed as part of the Math Circles of Inquiry project, this session is a good introduction to the 8th grade or Algebra Math curriculum using inquiry based instruction. Every time the Supreme Court justices get together, everyone shakes hands with each other. How many total handshakes will take place at one gathering?

A simplex lock is a type of combination door lock that involves pushing-in buttons. Given the set of rules for using a 5-button simplex lock, how many different combinations are there?

SET is a fun game that can be enjoyed by kids as young as 6 and is challenging even for adults. It is rich in counting problems and is great for getting people to pose problems. It is also an example of a finite geometry and interesting to explore how well one's geometric intuition works.

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How many different ways are there to make change for a dollar? As mathematicians we often search for patterns in a problem. However, for this problem, there is no simple, predictable pattern to build to an answer, encouraging participants to reach outside their comfort zones and ponder alternative strategies in order to make progress.

Card tricks have been around for centuries. Many of them depend on sleight of hand and require endless practice. Here Tom Davis presents card tricks that are based almost entirely on mathematics. Explore the math behind these easy to master tricks.