Personal Narrative: White House Math Initiative

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I'm looking forward to helping pull together a White House Math Initiative. Are you available to join a call the week of July 11 (next week) or the week of July 18 (following week) to discuss what such an initiative might look like? The best time for me would be between 9 a.m. - 12 noon EDT.

After receiving an invitation from Megan Smith in April 2016 to come to DC for the summer to upgrade math learning for the country, I’ve been thinking about and brainstorming ideas with about a dozen math enthusiasts for how to get kids intrigued, engaged, and challenged by mathematics.

After much thought and reflection, I propose having Julia Robinson Mathematics Festivals ( at or near the White House or at the Mathematical Association of America, and across the country. Julia Robinson was a great mathematician who, along with two other mathematicians, was renowned for solving Hilbert’s tenth problem.

The Festival problems are designed to inspire students to explore the richness and beauty of mathematics through activities that encourage collaborative, creative problem-solving. They offer diverse entry points — arithmetic, hands-on puzzles, card tricks, patterns, coloring — so that students can wander around the festival and find an activity that grabs their attention. Sample problem sets can be found online at …show more content…

“Ideally an activity will also illuminate a problem-solving strategy or several strategies, so that kids begin to see connections among apparently diverse branches of mathematics, as for example when they use parity to win a game, to prove that a process eventually terminates, to show that a certain tiling is impossible, and to help assemble a geometric

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