Host an After School CoM Event
Why Host a Celebration of Mind Event?
Celebration of Mind (CoM) events are designed to stimulate curiosity and a sense of wonder. Why is this important? Curiosity powers the imagination, inspires innovation, makes us better problem solvers in both our work and our daily lives, it makes us more creative, and it’s just plain fun! CoM events gather together a group of people for a playful exchange of recreational math, magic, science, literature, and puzzles. Want to organize an after school Celebration of Mind for your school and local community? That’s great! This web page will show you just how to get started. It’s designed to work best with 15 to 30 attendees, primarily families with kids ages 6 and up.
STEP 1: FIND A VENUE
1 to 5 months in advance (depending on the type of venue)
- Look for a large free / cheap space that already has tables and chairs.
- A library, school, fire hall, community center, church, etc. would work well.
- Some venues need to be booked well in advance, keep that in mind when you select a location and date.
- Download this booklet to explain Celebration of Mind events to the management of your desired venue.
- Reserve the space a month in advance:
- Reserve the space for 3 hours (1 hour for setup, 1 hour for the event, and 1 hour for cleanup).
- Pick a weekday around 6pm after most work days have ended.
- Register your event on the CoM website.
- Create a login and add your event information.
- Your event will be approved and added to our online World Map!
- Your event web page will provide time, date, location, and description information (or can be listed as private for non-public events)
STEP 2: PROMOTE YOUR EVENT
2 to 3 weeks in advance
- Download this poster PDF to print, fill in your details, and post around your neighborhood and at the event venue.
- The first 2 pages are US standard sizes: 11 x 17″ and 8.5 x 11″.
- The second 2 pages are international standard sizes: A3 and A4.
- Print the larger size if you have access to a larger format printer.
- Download and print from the CoM Welcome Pack:
Some towns and cities have free local events calendars online. Contact them and see if you can post your event.
- Use this short description: Celebration of Mind (CoM) events are designed to stimulate curiosity and a sense of wonder. If you love puzzles, come join us for a playful evening of activities involving recreational math, magic, science, and games!
Contact local elementary and middle schools to ask if they will promote the event to students’ parents. You should also promote the event to your own friends, family, and colleagues.
- Give out invitations and fliers.
- You may want to staple a flier to the invitations and give them out as a packet so the information stays together in kids’ backpacks.
STEP 3: GATHER SUPPLIES
1 week in advance
- Print ice breaker activity.
- Pick one of the following activities that will be used to welcome families as they arrive at your event:
- Print host-led activities.
Pick 2 of the following activities that you feel comfortable leading as the main
- Dots and Boxes
- Games Kit (contains multiple activities)
- How to Fold a Triflexahexagon
- Flexagon Party (contains multiple activities)
- World’s Greatest Mathematical Card Trick
- Pack of Little Fibs Card Trick
- Ice Cream Trick
- Seven-Card Trick
- Map Coloring and the Four Color Theorem
- Mobius Strip Surprise
- Heart Mobius Strip
- Vi Hart Balloon Booklet
- Beaded Cubes
- How to Create String Art
- Playing Pool
- Gather any supplies needed (pencils, tape, scissors, markers, etc.).
- The supplies needed are listed on the activity web pages.
- Print from the CoM Welcome Pack:
- Martin Gardner Posters
- Celebration of Mind Banner (optional if you’re on a shoestring budget)
- Put everything in a large plastic bin or cardboard box for easy transport to the venue.
STEP 4: GET SNACKS
The day of the event
- This is optional.
- If you’re on a tight budget, the activities will suffice. But even a few pitchers of water and some fruit or cookies can go a long way toward making people feel welcome and at ease.
- Buy simple snacks, drinks, napkins, and paper/plastic cups.
- Steer clear of anything too messy.
- Finger food is ideal so you can simply provide napkins without the need for plates.
- Graham crackers, Cheerios, and chocolate bars can lead to fun math-y conversation if you want to go with a themed snack.
STEP 5: SETUP THE SPACE
1 hour before event begins
- Put up your Celebration of Mind banner and Martin Gardner posters from the Welcome Pack.
- Set out supplies and print outs of the ice breaker activities on all tables.
- Set out snacks, napkins, and drinks.
- Hold onto the host-led activities; you will hand these out during the event.
STEP 6: GUESTS ARRIVE
The event begins
- Welcome your guest and direct them to the tables. – 10 min
- Have them work on the ice breaker activity and enjoy the snacks while other guests are arriving.
- Call for attention and introduce Celebration of Mind and Martin Gardner – 5 min
- Use this short description or adapt it to better suit your audience: “Celebration of Mind (CoM) brings people together to explore and enjoy puzzles, games, math, and magic. Martin Gardner pioneered the field of recreational mathematics with his column Mathematical Games in Scientific American for a quarter century, starting in the 1950s. He introduced mainstream audiences to subjects including the Soma cube, fractals, flexagons, John Conway’s the Game of Life, and the work of M.C. Escher. You can read more about Martin Gardner at gathering4gardner.org/who-was-martin-gardner/ These CoM events are held annually on or around Martin Gardner’s birthday (October 21st) so that people worldwide can meet and share in his legacy. As Gardner said, you can learn more when you’re in a state of entrancement, we hope you experience something here today that will inspire and delight you.”
- Explain the two activities you will be leading them through.
- Ask for a few volunteers to help hand out the two host-led activities.
- Lead the group to do these two activities together – 20 min for each
- Call for attention, thank everyone for coming and let them know they can go on the CoM website for more activities like these.