July Updates: Matter in Space, New Mexico, and more!


                   Thinking about easter eggs eggs in Exploring Matter.

The major project in June was Exploring Matter in Space! (tentative title). This has turned out to be a much bigger project than I expected. In large part, this is because I have big dreams. It’s both a superpower and a character flaw.

In this book, there is so much that could and should be said that it’s hard to winnow the wheat from the other wheat (yes, it’s all wheat here). Though some difficulty also comes from the fact that this is an honestly difficult project. It’s a book – so there ought to be a lot of telling. It’s also an interactive and illustrated book, so there ought to be a lot of showing and doing as well. Finding a good balance of these strategies has been tough, especially given the relatively small size of the book (40-70 pages) and short timeframe (2 months). I’ll post a half-draft on the semi-secret ($2+) part of this blog in a couple days, and solicit feedback.

‘In between bookwork, I’ve made some modest progress on Sprout. Not as much as expected, but some. I’ll post a new build sometime later this month, but with more realistic lenses, it’ll probably be several months before the game is finished. It’s a fun job, but it’s also the lowest-priority job.

And in the really-nice-surprise department, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science ordered three copies of the Puzzle of Life (prototype edition) to share with attendees at their summer science teacher training camp. Which is super-exciting! They don’t have specific plans for the puzzles. Rather, part of their goal is to simply introduce teachers to new ideas and new materials, and the Puzzles will be a part of this idea smorgasbord.

Last but not least, we published the full set of Math ALIVE! tutorials to the web here. These are working drafts. Flawed, but also kinda cool (if I do say so myself).

Lastly, as a special thanks to those who have supported us at the $10+/month level during June, we’re sending each of you two pages from the epilogue of Exploring Matter. These pages outline a small easter egg. Each of the first four chapters in the book end with a conversational challenge. If a reader completes this challenge with a perfect score, they are rewarded with a clue – a piece of an apartment number. At the end of the book, if they correctly enter the entire secret apartment number, they get a special (silly) ending. Otherwise, they just get the regular ‘ole ending.

Thank you again for your company and support in this quest. Keep your ears open – more good things to come.

– Tim