Where’s the Math in the MURO Wall?

 Fourth Graders Participated in a Political Art Installation, and then Posed Mathematical Questions About It.  

 “It’s my first political performance and I just felt I had to do it now. I wanted to show that any wall is dismantlable. We, the public, can tear down walls when society gets together. It could be a mental, physical, or political wall – the point is, it’s ephemeral.”Bosco Sodi, Artist

Photos by Robert Banat:   RobertBanat.com  RobertBanat@gmail.com

Here Are the Range of Math Questions They Asked:

How Can We Use the Size of One Brick to Determine the Height and Length of the Wall?

How Many Inches Taller Is the Wall Height Compared to the Average Height of a 4th Grader? 


How Many Bricks Are in Each Layer?



Does Each Row Have the Same Number of Bricks?



If Muro is Dismantled in 4 Hours, How Many Bricks Are Taken Down in 15 Minutes?









If There Were 20 People on Each Side of the Wall Taking Down 1 Brick Each, How Many Bricks Would Each Person Take Down?



How Many Bricks Could 8 People Remove During Each Hour If They Worked All Three Hours?


How Many Bricks In One Row?



How Many Bricks Need to be Removed Every 15 Minutes to Take Down Muro in Four Hours?




How Can Two Lines of People Dismantle 1,600 Bricks?


How Many Bricks Are Going Horizontally?



1,644 Bricks Were Dismantled in 4 Hours. How Many Bricks Were Dismantled in One Hour?



How Many Bricks Are There In Every Other Row Starting From the Top?



How Tall Are We Compared To The Muro Wall?



How Can 80 Volunteers Dismantle Muro?



Six Scenarios To Take Down Muro in Four Hours



There Are 1,644 Bricks. How Many Bricks Would Each Person Remove?


Controversial Crowd Counting at Washington Square Park

Estimating Protest Crowd Size Using the Jacob’s Method of Crowd Counting.

“For many events, especially political rallies or protests, the number of people in a crowd carries political significance and count results are controversial”- Wikipedia

 “Almost everyone who has tried to make a crowd estimate has a vested interest in what the outcome of the estimate is”– Charles Seife, Professor of Journalism and Mathematician at NYU.

Fourth graders applied the Jacob’s method of crowd counting to estimate the protest crowd that gathered in Washington Square Park on Wednesday, January 25th, 2017. The emergency rally was organized in response to President Trump’s executive order implementing a ban on immigrants entering the country from large Muslim populations, including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Getting the Numbers Right: The Jacobs Method of Crowd Counting

Herbert Jacobs, a University of California journalism professor in the 1960’s, devised a basic density rule that has been widely accepted. Watching students protesting the Vietnam War from his office window, Jacobs saw that had gathered on a plaza that was arranged in a grid. He counted those in a few squares to get an average number per square and multiplied that by the total number of squares. He also came up with a basic density rule that states a “light crowd” has one person per square meter, and doubled that for a “dense crowd”. A “heavy crowd” would have as many as four people per square meter, according to this method.

Using People Per Square Meter as Density Factors to Determine Crowd Size.

One person per square meter 

Three people per square meter












Nine people per square meter

Six people per square meter

Students Estimated Densities by Using an Aerial View of the Protest Crowd, a Scale Diagram of the Park, and Multiplication.

Washington Square Park Diagram Showing Density Arrays.

Six people per square meter density computation

Nine people per square meter computation

Math, Push Carts, & City Hall Protest in New York

Math with Social Justice Relevance

food samplingIt was a chilly day in January.

Fourth grade students and teachers went downtown to walk the streets of the busy financial district to meet food cart vendors. They were able to observe the variety of international selections that vendors were selling, and sample the delicious-smelling food.

Over 90% of the food vendors in New York City are first generation, or recent immigrants. This field trip gave students the opportunity to talk directly to the people who stood inside these carts, cooking food that reflected the cuisine of their home countries. Students were curious to hear the stories of where they immigrated from, and how they happened to enter into the business of selling food on the street. Continue reading

Family Math Night at LREI

Students and Parents look forward to Family Math Night every year.  

Students in grades one through four celebrate mathematics, as well as continue to hone their fluency in combination facts by playing fun games. Fourth grade students create their own math games as a capstone experience, and then teach them to family and friends during Family Math Night. Continue reading