In Topics of Math we did a short lesson on the Cops and Robbers situation from the fantastic PBS Infinite Series video by Kelsey Houston-Edwards. Totally don’t start with the video first, give the students a chance to play with the game first. When do cops always win, when do robbers always win? They’ll come up with their own ideas after 5 min of playing. Very cool to see this group behaving like mathematicians, they are VERY hesitant to engage with math. They came up with the idea that any loop will be allow the robber to get away, and any tree will allow the cop to catch the robber. Fun task.
I also love their surprise when they hear that mathematicians (professors) are actually paid to do this kind of math. Hilarious to hear their first impression with words from their parents mouths “This is a great use of tax dollars”. 🙂