Monday, April 13, 2015

K is for . . .

I'm posting Mad-Cool-Math nuggets this month.

Image courtesy: Seb Ruiz

K is for kite.

I know, that doesn't sound particularly mathy, does it? As you go through the A to Z challenge, there will come a letter that will stump you, especially if you have a theme. In math, there are letters for which the topics are bare to nonexistent, and the worst is K. (Second worst? J)  I don't know why, but there's a dearth of madly cool math topics starting with K, or ones which I dare to tackle for a general audience.

So what I have for you is a mathy definition of a kite: a quadrilateral with two pairs of adjacent, congruent sides. Hey, at least the picture's nice.

Quadrilateral: four-sided polygon with four angles, you know, like a square or rectangle.

Adjacent: Here that means touching. Notice how the two shorter sides touch each other at the top corner and the two longer sides touch each other at the bottom corner.

Congruent: identical in form. In the kite above, the top two, shorter sides are equal in length, as are the lower, longer two sides.

What letter has or is going to be difficult for you this month? Q? Z? Ever fly a kite?


This week, I'm offering another free short story to download called The President and the Pea.

Sixty-something Annette Hutchins has her quirks. She abhors eggs and never drinks anything red. But those oddities pale in comparison to the secret she's been forced to keep for years. Annette witnessed the assassination of the President of the United States. Or did she? Approx. 35 pages (8,800 words)


  1. I read this and thought, "I know those words!!!" since there are some geometry references in my WIP.
    I've actually never flown a kite!

  2. I sure didn't know how mathy a kite could be. And never bothered to look at a kite in math terms. I've tried to fly a kite when I was favorite thing to do was tie a plastic bag to a string and run with it. My siblings did that too, so you could sometimes see a plastic bag stuck in a pine tree at the end of the road. Haha!

    1. This is exactly how we make kites for our kids too. It works!

  3. You proved a kite is mathy.
    X is always a challenge, but I've figured out how to make it work.

  4. This makes me like math and want to enjoy some warm sunshine and fly a kite. Makes me feel like a kid again whenever I do. Great posts so far!

  5. My dad was really good with kites. He would get it in the air first before handing me the string.

  6. When I think of K, I think stats. And I shudder. And shudder. Never assume that interesting can't possibly equate soul-crushingly boring. Just use a lecturer who speaks in monotone and doesn't look up from his books.

  7. I love that you chose a math theme this month! That was awfully brave since, as you say, it can be a challenge to come up with topics for some letters. As soon as I started outlining my posts for the challenge, I thought of a great math book that I've decided to review: "The Joy of X." So my X wasn't a problem - but K was a bit of a head-scratcher until I thought of Kids and Running.

    Great post, and great theme! I'm going to share your post with my hubby, the math nerd (he's also just a nerd in general, but he'll love this).

  8. Kites are a great shape to use for teaching geometry. Interesting post.

  9. I have attempted to fly kites in the past. Mostly I've just crashed them though. Thankfully they're heartier than they look.

  10. I never looked at a kite in that light. But it makes total sense!

    Stephen Tremp
    A to Z Cohost
    Twitter: @StephenTremp

  11. Ha! You handed the K issue quite well...and to offer a suggestion if you go mathy next year.. would "Kilometer" work?

  12. And you would use math to build a kite so it would actually fly, :-) I'm not at all a math person but I did like your creativity in turning a difficult letter into something, what did you call it? Mathy. Yah.

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

  13. I didn't realise that 'kite' is actually a geometrical term ! I'm learning something new every day. Maths was never this interesting in school! And yes, I used to fly kites!

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