Celebrating π Day Eases the Loss of I LOVE Math Day

The Pi Day celebration began with a moment of silence.  Acknowledging the loss of I LOVE Math Day (2/14). This year, snow froze the I LOVE Math Day fun and we were all forced to stay home.

You can tell that our students and teachers felt grief over the loss of I LOVE Math Day. (Okay, well maybe our photographer just caught them at a bad moment.)

Mourning I LOVE Math

Gary Lawrence, the Coleman Fung Chair for Math, was not to be deterred. He quickly shifted his plans to Pi Day. (3.14)  The day included many of the elements of I LOVE Math Day. And, of course, actual pie.

If you’ve never attended I LOVE Math Day at Mustard Seed, you’ve missed out.  It involves guest speakers who LOVE math and use it in their profession.  Mathematical guessing games. Math gifts (usually books). And presentations by upper school students.

I LOVE Math Day is a celebration of the mathematical work that happens in the weeks leading up to the event. Upper school students take on challenges. They meet in groups to grapple with math problems that cannot be solved in just one meeting. They are encouraged to see themselves as mathematicians.  And they must create presentations that explain their thinking and their work.

students presenting their work

Why go to so much trouble?

“We take time for special math problems and celebrations because we want to build a school culture where students enjoy math,” says Mr. Lawrence.

This idea of building a math culture in schools has been the subject of research conducted at Mustard Seed by Mr. Lawrence and Dr. Hoyun Cho, of Capital University in Ohio between 2011-2013.

Other educators are taking notice.

Mr. Lawrence and Dr. Hoyun Cho have been invited to present their findings at teachers’ conferences in New York and Ohio (fall 2013).  And at the International Congress of Mathematical Education in Seoul, Korea.  (July 2012)

Is it working?  Are we building a math culture at Mustard Seed?

A student showed up on Pi Day as a superhero that he created–Mathemagician. We think that is a pretty good indication that something is going right!

mathemagician

Who is that masked man?  You can be sure that he is a math lover.

SONY DSC

Wait—something about this guy looks familiar…

If you love math, and even if you don’t, feel free to check out Mr. Lawrence’s I LOVE Math blog.

Abby Liu

ABBY LIU, Director of Marketing and Communications

Ms. Liu loves to tell the Mustard Seed story. She’s the parent of a current MSS student and a recent alum.