Importance of Exercising Your Right to Vote

As a citizen you have an obligation to vote.

If everyone votes would America unite?
Knowing each vote is a light in the night.
Would commenters have less need to “spin”
Reasons why voters decided who will win?

If everyone voted, would leaders do more?
And listen to voters like never before?
If everyone voted would the hungry be fed?
Would the homeless have shelter, each child his own bed?

Our vote is our voice that can’t be dismissed
It’s a shout and a prayer, our heart and our fist.
Our vote is our right, that makes our land great.
It’s a duty and joy; our privilege, our fate.


Let’s look at the most recent election for two governors.  Did citizens exercise their right to vote?


Look at the two pie charts.  What are the largest pieces?  The purple pieces are the registered voters who did NOT exercise their right to vote or voted for something other than the three identified candidates.  And this was considered a “large turnout”!

The lesson of November 7, 2017 should be that fewer than half of all registered voters voted.  Why?  What does that mean? Would their votes have been similar to those who did vote?

A great numeric civics exercise would be to consider how different possibilities of additional voters could have changed the outcome.  Chart those possibilities and see how important everyone’s vote is.

Other issues to discuss and investigate include the following:

  1.  What are the types of data systems used to determine the total number of registered voters?
  2. How could weather affect the number of citizens who exercise their right to vote?
  3. What procedures do voting locations use to know that the voter is registered to vote?
  4. Why do so few citizens actually exercise their right to vote?


New Jersey registered voters as of 11/7/17: 5,754,862
New Jersey Gubernatorial results Source:
Murphy, Philip Dem 1,119,516 55%
Guadagno, Kim GOP 858,735 43%
Genovese, Gina Ind 11,131 1%

Commonwealth of Virginia 5,489,530 registered voters as of 10/31/2017:
Virginia Gubernatorial Race results
Ralph S. Northam
Democratic 1,405,007 53.87%
Edward W. “Ed” Gillespie
Republican 1,172,533 44.96%
Clifford D. Hyra
Libertarian 29,303 1.12%




Candy Calculations

Halloween cndy bag 1Halloween candy bag 2








Bag 1 of 100 pieces                                                   Bag 2 of 100 pieces

Like most kids, Halloween was one of my favorite days each year. It still is.
I’d collect a huge bag of treats, then spill and sort my spoils on the living room floor. I’d make separate piles of Hershey bars, candy corn packets, lollipops, Three Musketeers, etc. or fruit, sorting and counting to determine the size of my Halloween haul.
Unconsciously, I was developing important math skills with each bag of candy or type of fruit I threw into a pile.
Halloween is a great and painless opportunity to help children hone their early math skills – number sense, sorting, patterns, and estimation – and more advanced arithmetic competences, like multiplication and percentage. Here’s how.

Sorting: Kids will sort their stash into categories most important to them — candy or fruit, lumpy or smooth bags, what I’ll keep or will trade away. You can suggest other categories, like size, color, calories, weight, treats Mom will let you eat every day or just once a week. Remember, no category is wrong. The world needs thinkers who bring unique approaches to solving common problems.
Look at the two pictures of the loot from two different bags of 100 pieces of candy. What do you notice between bag 1 and bag 2? If your favorite is Almond Joy, which bag would you prefer the house to have for you to pick a piece? Why?

Then order the four kinds of candy by type (Most? Least? 2nd most? 3rd most?) for each bag. How easy is it to estimate the order from most to least, or least to most without actually counting?

Counting: Halloween is all about counting. How many doorbells did you ring? How many treats did you get? How many tricks did you perform? How many M&Ms in each package? The counting opportunities are endless.

Number recognition: Students can pick out all the numbers on a bag of candy – total weight, ounces/serving, calories/serving, grams of sugar or fat, percentage of Recommended Daily Value. Not only will students practice their number recognition skills, but they’ll learn about nutrition, too.

Weighing/Measuring: Grab a scale and measuring cup and let students practice weighing and measuring their loot. Does every M&M weigh the same? Do 4 grams feel heavier or lighter than 4 ounces? How do you convert one into the other?

Multiplication: At Target, a 4.4 oz. Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar costs $1.59. How much would 1 oz. cost? Search each label for the total number of ounces in each chocolate treat, then multiply to determine the total value.

Math is so much fun when you tie it to a holiday kids already love. Have a happy, safe, and mathematic Halloween!

By the Way:
Bag 1 included 100 mini candies:  9 Almond Joys; 16 Reese’s, 45 Kit Kats; and 30 Hershey’s.
Bag 2 also included 100 mini candies:  14 Almond Joys; 22 Reese’s; 54 Kit Kats; and 10 Hershey’s.

Learn With Urns!

Grecian Urn

A beautiful artifact, this Grecian urn.

Around the amphora the patterns turn,

Made for a funeral, the art is so fine,

It showcases beautiful Grecian design.

With shapes of triangles, squares and rhombi,

Ancestor’s ashes don’t become zombies.

Archaeologists worked hard to recreate

This puzzling urn—it’s once again great.

Although the long-buried urn is quite old,

Diggers found all pieces –its artwork still bold.

The classic style is still made today,

As well as modern vessels made of clay.

The Relationship Between Math and Art: Robert Indiana

robert indiana sculptureAt the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Robert Indiana’s colorful “Numbers One Through Zero” sculptures, while at first seeming to be merely graphic and fun, make the viewer stop and think: why numbers? Why like this? Why these colors, this size, this arrangement?

According to Indiana, “each [number is] loaded with multiple references and significances.” His fascination with numbers, which led to the creation of multiple “Numbers” sculpture series, stems from Indiana’s “long-held fascination with the power of numbers,” ignited by the “formative experience” of moving often throughout his childhood and adolescence, and “the variety of meanings and associations that numbers can generate,” both at personal and societal levels (

In “Numbers One Through Zero” each number is associated with a different phase in Indiana’s life and the color combinations used serve to reinforce his personal timeline. Indiana originally arranged the numbers from 1 to 0, rather than the more commonly seen 0-1, because for him, 1 represents birth and 0 represents death. The sculptures have not always been arranged in this way, however, nor are they in this sequence now. They have been part of many outdoor exhibitions in cities such as New York and London, and the sculptures were actually spread around Indianapolis for quite a time before the entire piece came together at the Indianapolis Museum of Art where it was first displayed in 1992. Currently, the sculptures are arranged in a sequence to represent milestones in the artist’s life:

41- Pearl Harbor took place while I lived in Indianapolis

29- The crash which I experienced as a child on the East Side

50- Suggesting in part my hometown’s most famous institution: the last zero lost on a fast curve

76- The United States birthday every hundred years

38- My father worked for many years on this street (

The museum’s “Numbers” series is the original set, but since 1980, Indiana’s fascination with numbers has continued and he has created many more series in various sizes and materials. What numerical associations have you created throughout your lifetime?


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Photo credit:

A Cool Old Canal and a Modern Bridge Marvel


Corinth Canal

Hello there – are you enjoying summer break?

I just went to Greece; it was really great!

I saw the old human-made Corinth Canal ridges

Near where the new constructed Rio-Antirrio bridge is.


Architects are masters of geometry;

Cable triangles like ship sails imagine moving free.

Construction was hard and took years to be right

The team pulled it off – what an awesome sight!


Notice the four posts in the water below,

But the hundreds of cables dominate the show.

They support the entire bridge, holding it steady.

The Olympic torch crossing celebrated being ready.


The Corinth Canal was built in 1881, but many people had tried to build it before, starting all the way back in the 7th century BCE. The Rio-Antirrio Bridge is the world’s longest fully-suspended bridge. The bridge opened on August 7, 2004 as the Olympic torch crossed en route to Athens to open the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics.

rio-antirrio bridge

Rio Antirrio Bridge


Corinth Canal photo credit:

Rio Antirrio Bridge photo credit: Rebecca Klemm

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