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DL creates new Nova math award - Fearful Symmetry

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Pack 77 Den Leader and Southern Illinois University (SIU) associate math professor Wesley Calvert has created a new Nova award based on the mathematics of symmetry,  Fearful Symmetry .

A few years ago, SIU began playing host to an annual STEM University event, which gave scouts the chance to earn Nova and other merit awards. During the 2016 event, Calvert met Lisa Balbes, who serves on a national committee charged with reviewing proposals for such awards. 

“We talked about the need for additional math awards within the program, and after continued conversations with her and another member of this committee, that summer I started to develop the Fearful Symmetry.”


The activities require scouts to watch, read and discuss ideas related to symmetry in everyday life, as well as its history and uses. It also guides them through various hands-on activities such as folding and rolling paper to make a lantern, drawing traditional Indian kolam art patterns using chalk on a sidewalk, or making Native American rugs and patchworks using paper.

Kolam is a form of drawing using rice flour, chalk or rock powder of various colors. It is popular in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and some parts of Goa, Maharashtra, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and a few other Asian countries.

“The kolam activity was one of the first ones I knew I wanted to include,” Calvert said. “I learned about this art form during my time as a Fulbright-Nehru scholar in India, and that was also how I met Sunita Vatuk, of the City College of New York, who has used this art form to teach mathematical ideas both to children and to school teachers. 


more at link. Very cool.


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46 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

I wonder why no official announcement anywhere on this. I would think it would be a big deal on the various blogs.

There appears to be a STEM partnership between SIU and BSA. SIU announced before BSA?

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