Category Archives: Resources

The Museum of Mathematics

One of the things I love about living in New York City is that I am constantly discovering new things about it.  I feel as if I could live here another 30 years and still not see all it has to offer.

The summer is always a great time for me to explore new parts of the city and visit places that I’ve been too busy during the school year to check out.

On the top of my list for this summer is the recently opened Museum of Mathematics.

Located at 11 East 26th Street in Manhattan, the museum boasts that it is “the coolest thing that ever happened to math.”  That seems like a rather bold claim, but it does appear to have some cool exhibits and activities that allow children (and adults) to have a variety of hands-on experiences with math.

There are activities where you can explore the Pythagorean theorem, fractals, and geometric figures.

Not having visited yet, I can’t comment on the learning that occurs from these activities.  However, I do think it sounds like a great way to expose students to math in a creative and fun way.  Perhaps something there will spark a child’s interest or alleviate his or her anxiety about math.

For those of you looking to prevent summer slide, it seems like a great place to take your children over the summer or to recommend to your students.

I will be sure to report back after I visit. I would love to hear from those of you who have visited it!

How can we prevent summer slide?

I hope you all enjoyed a nice long holiday weekend.   Since summer is in full effect, I thought it might be important to talk about summer slide–the loss of learning that can occur over the summer.

Research has shown that students lose skills over the summer, particularly in mathematics.    Furthermore, we know that this learning loss is cumulative and disproportionately affects low-income students.

Parents often ask me how they can prevent summer slide.  Here’s one suggestion: try a bedtime math story instead of reading a book to your children before bed.

Laura Overdeck has a neat website called bedtime math.  Her goal is to make the nightly math problem as common as the bedtime story.   The site posts a daily math story that you can read to your kids.   Included after each story is a series of math problem created for different age groups: wee ones, little kids and big kids.

I think the site includes some great stories and some fun ways to begin to make math part of your child’s daily routine.

I’d love to know what you think about the site as well as what suggestions you may have to prevent summer slide.

Want to know more about the research on summer slide?

Download this free e-book:  Making summer count 

My Summer Reading List

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Ever since I was a child, the summer was my favorite time of year.  One reason was because it allowed me uninterrupted blocks of time to read.  Even today, I keep a list of books I plan to read over the summer.  Since Memorial Day is around the corner, I thought I would share some of the books I have on my summer reading list that relate to research and education.

What’s Math Got To Do With It?  How Parents and Teachers Can Help Children Learn To Love Their Least Favorite Subject by Jo Boaler

I had the opportunity to hear Jo Boaler speak about her research at a conference this year.  A professor of math education at Stanford University, she researches mathematics teaching and learning.  I’m interested to read about how her research informs the solutions she proposes for improving math education.

How Children Succeed:  Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough 

In my last blog post, I talked about the research on grit.  This book explores the importance of character traits like grit and how to promote them in children.  While it’s not specific to mathematics, I’m interested to learn more about why some students succeed and think about how I might apply this to teaching and learning mathematics.

Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics: Teachers’ Understanding of Fundamental Mathematics in China and the United States by Liping Ma

This is the only book on the list that I already read but I think it’s worth a reread.  Liping Ma researched the differences between teachers in China and the US and she reports on what she observed.   When I first read the book, I was amazed by how the Chinese teachers understood elementary mathematics in a profound and deep way.  I want to go back and take a deeper look at how these teachers thought about teaching specific concepts.

I’m excited to read these books (hopefully while sitting on the beach somewhere) and I’ll be sure to report back on what I learn after I read them.

What’s on your summer reading list?