As you may remember from my summer letter to all of you, I spent a lot of time this summer thinking about math in new and different ways. I explored puzzles and games, and thought about engaging with my own children about math in ways I hadn’t before. As the school year has been unfolding, I have been in many conversations with both children and adults about math, and our feelings about math. See, a lot of people think that math and feelings don’t go together. Math is thought of as the subject we study that has right and wrong answers, one way to produce them, and not a lot of emotion—except the feelings of sadness and frustration when the answer is wrong!
There is now a growing body of research suggesting that if children believe they can be successful in math, they are more likely to engage with math successfully. A professor at Stanford University, Jo Boaler, has been creating a bit of a math revolution in the realm of K-12 education. She writes the following: “Researchers are learning that students’ ideas about their ability and potential are extremely important, much more than previously understood. As well as the messages we give students about their potential, brain research is now showing that messages students pick up from their parents about math and their parents’ relationships with math can also change students’ math learning and achievement.”
The idea behind our annual math night is that we want to create environments of math celebration. We want to help you all create the contexts for enjoying math together as a family. Math night is a time for families to play games together and find the math within those games. It is a time to challenge one another with puzzles and art. We believe that if both children and their parents can see the ways in which math can be fun and engaging, you will both/all be more willing and excited to engage with challenging math ideas when they show up in the classroom.
With this in mind, please join us for our annual Math Night and Spaghetti Dinner, tonight from 5-7PM. You can choose to eat first, then play games, or go in the reverse order. Either way, be sure to bring your children and come have fun doing math together.