Course Spotlight: Mathematical Knitting
Here at Carthage, students use J-Term for the opportunity to take classes that normally aren’t offered throughout the rest of the school year.
The goal is not only to show the connections between knitting and advanced mathematical concepts, but also to demonstrate the importance of problem solving and critical thinking found in mathematics.
“Math is everywhere, if you want to see it,” Prof. Jensen explained. “I love looking for math in unexpected places.”
For example, while following a knitting pattern for cell phone pouches, students must be able to adapt to their own yarn, tension, and even the size of their own cell phone. According to Prof. Jensen, it’s important to understand the ramifications of making changes to avoid wasting time through trial and error.
Covered mathematical topics can include modular arithmetic, advanced concepts of symmetry, and pattern generation. In addition to knitting, the course will focus on big-picture ideas like three-dimensional shapes that look flat.
After completion of the course’s final project, Prof. Jensen intends to use the knitting aspect to her benefit by asking students to donate materials knit in the course or other unused cold weather items to two Kenosha shelters: the Shalom Center and First Step Services.