Principal Investigator: Andee Rubin, Scott Pattison

Funders: The National Science Foudation


Over the last decade there has been a proliferation of out-of-school environments that foster building, making, tinkering, and design activities, creating an unprecedented opportunity to engage a wide range of participants in mathematics that is both purposeful and powerful. To date, this opportunity has been almost universally unexploited. The conference, which will take place at and in collaboration with the New York Hall of Science, will gather fifty researchers and practitioners from informal mathematics education and the burgeoning "making and tinkering" movement for two days to collaboratively generate approaches to integrating mathematics in making and design environments and programs.

The project, which includes pre- and post-conference activities, will produce a sampler of Math in Making activities, a guidebook, a white paper for research and practice, a retrospective online discussion, and further dissemination of project deliverables. It is funded by the Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program, which seeks to advance new approaches to, and evidence-based understanding of, the design and development of STEM learning in informal environments. This includes providing multiple pathways for broadening access to and engagement in STEM learning experiences, advancing innovative research on and assessment of STEM learning in informal environments, and developing understandings of deeper learning by participants. Through the conference and pre- and post-conference activities, the project team will:

  • Initiate and sustain conversations between researchers and practitioners;
  • Establish collaborations that lead to changes in the way math is framed and highlighted in making and design environments;
  • Create resources to help people in the making/design community highlight the math in their environments; and
  • Frame a research agenda to guide studies of mathematical reasoning and attitudes towards math in making and design environments. The work includes an extensive evaluation process of the conference and of pre- and post-conference activities.

Math in the Making project video from Tracey Wright on Vimeo.