The Mathematical Secrets of Pascal’s Triangle

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This modern animation and discussion of the ancient secrets of Pascal's triangle manages to be topical, engaging, and mathematically deep all at the same time. A great introduction to the power of number theory across multiple math disciplines, woven together with lively storytelling and commentary. This would make a great brain break in an upper-level class or a good introduction to and discussion starter about the topic.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Assign research projects on the ancient uses and interpretations of the triangle before Pascal
  • Use as part of a mathematical history unit where the role of mathematicians in historical context is investigated through the ages
  • Create a mind map or word-wall style posting listing the uses and applications of Pascal's triangle (with examples)
  • Assign articles and activities from the Dig Deeper section for small groups to investigate and report findings back to the class 
Classroom Considerations

  • Viewing video and attached resources requires Internet access
  • Speed of narration and high-level language used might require additional ESL supports, perhaps through multiple viewings
Pros

  • Funny and quick moving animation
  • Math theory interwoven with application and humor
  • Broad but accurate coverage of interrelated topics
  • Interactive quizzes and discussions
  • Multiple deeper investigation resource links provided
Cons

  • None
Common Core