The Gary K. Herberger Young Scholars Academy (HYSA) is a school designed for highly gifted students in grades 7-12 affiliated with the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College and Arizona State University. Last Friday I had the pleasure and honor of working with all the students at the academy as a guest for for their “What’s your Passion? Interactive Speaker Series.”

I was invited to this by Dr. Kim Lansdowne, Executive Director, of HYSA and I knew this would be great fun the moment I saw the flyer she shared with me. In particular what stood out was the quote at the top of the flyer.

The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play—Arnold Toynbee

What could be better than that!

For my session, I chose to share with them the work I have done in the area of visual wordplay, specifically its connection to mathematics. I created (actually re-created/revised) some activities I had designed years ago and designed a session that were little segments of my sharing some designs and ideas and then having them play and experiment. The students were awesome, engaged and willing to play. Here are the slides I shared with them and some designs they created.

Figure1: Hidden Beauty & Mathematics ambigram (the word “Hidden” becomes “Beauty” on rotation by 180 degrees, and the word “Mathematics” can be read along the circle both at the top AND the bottom. This was one of the many designs I shared with the students

Figure1: A collage of images from the session – most which are designs the kids came up with.