Math in the Making: Bringing Math Eyes to Making Experience (2017)


Math anxiety is a wide-spread phenomenon in the United States; while few people would admit publicly that they aren’t good at reading, it seems socially acceptable to claim, “I’m not good at math.”  This attitude can limit people’s access to educational opportunities and even careers.  At the same time, both adults and children participate enthusiastically in making and tinkering activities, which often involve (implicit) mathematical reasoning.  These mathematical aspects of making, however, are rarely highlighted or recognized by either the participants or the facilitators.

The Math in the Making project builds on this question: Can we leverage participation and success in making to help people change their self-image with respect to math? In other words: Can someone who thinks they aren’t very good at math come to see themselves as mathematically competent through making? 

In May 2016, researchers from TERC and the Institute for Learning Innovation brought together math educators and designers of maker spaces to explore these and other related questions in a 2-day workshop at the NY Hall of Science.

This video provides a variety of examples of our approach to building bridges of understanding and collaboration across these communities and invites you to join us as we explore new opportunities to find the math in making. 

NSF Award: 1514726