Welcome to Somerville Mathematics

Welcome to Somerville Mathematics, a blog devoted to exciting mathematical things happening in Somerville MA. I am the founder of The Somerville Mathematics Fund, www.Somervillemathematicsfund.org
The Math Fund was chartered to celebrate and encourage mathematics achievement in Somerville. I hope you will check out my TEDxSomerville talk on the Somerville Math Fund,
I find that there are many other interesting things happening mathematically in Somerville and I hope on this blog to have others share what they are doing. So please contact me at mathfund@gmail.com if you would like to contribute an article.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Spring is here and so are More Math Nights!

If you haven’t attended or volunteered at a math night, you’ve missed out on a wonderful intergenerational event. For years, I’ve tried to attend these events when I know about them ahead of time. In March, I was able to get to at least part of the West Somerville Neighborhood School celebration but, unfortunately, not to the East Somerville Community School celebration. Of course, I attended the celebration of Pi described in this blog below in “The Somerville Community Celebrates Pi Day” since I was one of the co-planners of that evening.

However this year, Delia Marshall was able to get to each of these events and has written about them on the Somerville Journal website . The West Somerville Neighborhood School K-2nd family math night, organized by Annette Bassett, was “packed to the gills.” One could hardly move around the cafeteria were kids were intently playing mathematical games with parents and a few grandparents. There was excitement in the air as the children tried to teach their parents how to play. All the activities were mathematically based--everything from using basic counting and computational skills to geometry to strategy. You can read all about it, “Big Numbers at WSNS Night” in the article by Delia Marshall.

The next day, the East Somerville Community School held its celebration of math for 3rd and 4th grade families organized by Linda Wiegenfeld and Laura Bonnell. This well-attended event had a slightly different format. While the students played mathematical games and worked on mathematical challenges, the parents learned about their children’s math --contrasting it to their own experiences and learning how to help their children now. This reminded me of one of the first math grants The Somerville Mathematics Fund awarded, back in 2001 to Mary McClellan for a mathematical resource lending library for middle school parents at the East Somerville Community School--parents wanted, but weren’t always sure, how to help their children in mathematics, today’s math was so different from their own school experiences--a different creative response to a similar problem. Last year I attended the ESCS math event and, if this was anything like that afternoon, it was an experience well-worthwhile for everyone ... high energy excitement about mathematics. Delia Marshall captures the spirit and details of the event in “March Mathness” at ESCS.

At each of these events, many teachers at each school came out and volunteered their own time for an exciting math event outside of the regular school day which gave families a better understanding of what their children were doing mathematically and how they might help, encourage and play with their children.

If you’d like attend a family math night, there are two events still to occur this spring (readers, please let me know about any others). At least one, I know, always welcomes volunteers; so let me know if you are interested in volunteering (voolich@aol.com).

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