April – May 2024 MathFinder Community Newsletter

April 2024

MathFinder Community Newsletter

April – May 2024


Happy Earth Month! As the weather begins to warm, we’re taking STEM outside and exploring the world around us. Some of our community members took the time to document their #MathFinderMoments about the natural world, which we’ve compiled below.

If you think you know the answers to any of the questions they posed, respond in the Comments section! We’d also love to hear any additional questions you can think up about the moments in the video.

In future newsletters, we will be profiling your MathFinder moments! Please share your photos from the places you go (could be anywhere) and your MathFinder questions with us here or by using #MathFinderMoment on social media.  


We’ve been busy in the world of podcasts! Our SMU research team recently sat down with the folks at Voice of Hope, the DMA, and the Twelve Hills Nature Center to talk about the MathFinder project at their respective sites. Watch and listen to these podcast episodes as they come out on our Podcasts page, along with all our previous clips.

Voice of Hope Ministries features in a recent podcast recording
Previous recording sessions with our other fantastic partners, the DMA and the Twelve Hills Nature Center

This May, we will be running two research camps. May 14 – 16 at the Dallas Arboretum and May 22 – 24 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, run by the GEMS camp.

Partner Spotlight: Dallas Arboretum

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden logo.


For this issue of the Newsletter we’re highlighting the Dallas Arboretum, an institution dedicated to “the art, enjoyment and knowledge of horticulture, while providing opportunities for education and research.” And now that Spring is in full swing, with Summer just around the corner, there’s no better time to go out and enjoy their extensive grounds (66 acres, to be precise!), teeming with all sorts of trees, herbs, and flowers!

The Arboretum also places a strong emphasis on science and research, with multiple trial gardens and laboratories on their grounds for conducting all manner of STEM investigations. In fact, we were able to tour the grounds with our team to create a playlist of the math you might see while walking around their campus. View the playlist here, or visit in person using our interactive tour map & audio guide on Otocast!

Project Updates

App Development

Progress on the MathFinder App has been continuing steadily along, with the recent development of four AR tools that will be used across sites the length measurement tool, area measurement tool, angle measurement tool, and the counting tool. We have also developed three AR overlays specifically for the Dallas Zoo (a hippo overlay, a chimp overlay, and a giraffe game), tying together the exhibits and the learning in-app.

AR overlays developed for MathFinder programs at the Dallas Zoo

We are also nearing completion on three AR tools being built specifically for the Dallas Arboretum lesson plans:  a shape-finder, a vegetation grower, and flower placing tools. Our next steps will be to create two additional AR overlays, for the GEMS camp at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center.

Conference Attendance & Publications

We recently presented at the 2024 American Educational Research Association conference, with two exciting talks on finding STEM in the world around us:

Sherard, M., Sager, M., Milton, S., Dhingra, K., Petrosino, A., & Walkington, C. (April, 2024). “It is too perfect for nature”: Exploring Discussions about the Relationship Between Nature and Mathematics. Presented at the 2024 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association. Philadelphia, PA.

Petrosino, A., Sager, M., Sherard, M., Walkington, C., Washington, J., & Milton, S. (April 2024). Walking at the Boundaries: Learnings from an RPP Approach to Informal Math Learning. Presented at the 2024 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association. Philadelphia, PA.

Team member Dr. Marc Sager presenting at the AERA 2024 conference

Since our last issue, we also published a new article in Frontiers, on the intersection of learning and play:

Sager, M.T., Sherard, M.K., Milton, S., Walkington, C., & Petrosino, A. (2023). Rising in the ranks!: Learning math or playing games? Frontiers in Education, 8,  https://doi.org/10.3389/feduc.2023.1302693

MathFinder Project Manager Candace Walkington and students at a trial camp at Dallas Zoo

In early April, Koshi Dhingra was invited to keynote at the STEM Convening held by the Region 13 ESC in Austin, TX. For that event, we created a unique walkSTEM tour of the Region 13 ESC campus, which can virtually visit here.

walkSTEM at Region 13 ESC campus in a break session group following keynote presentation by Koshi Dhingra
Map Artwork

MathFinder maps designed by Artist Julie McLaughlin are being completed. Here are the maps and we are excited that our partner sites are coming up with ways to use them to grow awareness in their communities. We hope these maps are helpful in disseminating information about math walks at your sites! Included in each partner site folder are multiple versions of the map, sized for social media, standard 8.5 x 11 letter, and other convenient sizes.

View these maps here!

Latest Math Walk, developed by the GEMS Camp

Watch our latest math walk at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, developed in collaboration with GEMS camp – read more about that development and watch the videos here!

Partner Sites Are Invited to Develop Additional Math Walk Stops! 

Any and all partner site members are welcome to use our video templates and tutorials to create additional shorts, with tidbits of supplemental STEM information or math moments that you happen to notice as you go about your days. Check out this recent example from talkSTEM Teacher Fellow Ana Sepulveda, taken at the AT&T Discovery District!

We invite you to partner with talkSTEM to create new math walk stops that can be added to the MathFinder experience at your site. These videos can be easily appended to existing video libraries or your site’s interactive tour map on Otocast. You’re welcome to use our new video templates or reach out to koshi@talkstem.org if you’d like support through that process.

View video template here!

In the Community: Education All Around!


Dr. Max Sherard (left) and Dr. Marc Sager (right)

We’re thrilled to announce that two of our team members are moving along in the world of STEM education – Dr. Max Sherard will be an Assistant Professor of Learning Sciences at University of North Texas this Fall, and Dr. Marc Sager successfully defended his dissertation at SMU on using data science for food justice.

Congratulations to them both!

Partner Site Happenings

WBAP & WFAA Weather Con 2024

Member Mornings: Hippos

Artscape – Juried fine arts & crafts
Black Heritage Celebration – A showcase arts and culture festival

Barefoot Day
En Plein Air Painting Demonstrations
Arts District Jazz Stroll


Click here to listen to the MathFinder podcast on our website. New episodes will be coming later this spring.  You can also listen to our podcast on Spotify, Apple Music, and any other podcast streaming platform! 


Please click here to check out the MathFinder website! Click here to sign-up to receive occasional emails regarding Mathfinder news and updates! 

Spread the Word

We are grateful for your continued support and would appreciate your help sharing MathFinder with the larger community! Please forward this newsletter to anyone in your network who may be interested in receiving our updates. They can also join our mailing list here

Guest blog

Are you interested in writing a guest blog post for our future newsletters? If so, we would love to hear from you!  We are open to a wide range of possible topics that you could write about.  Examples include different MathFinder activities at your site, learning math in general at your site, your perspective on learning, etc.! Please reach out to koshi@talkstem.org to share your ideas.

Guest blog submission guidelines:

  • Word count should be approximately 250-500 words
  • Videos and photos are encouraged
  • Cite any quotes, data, images, or third-party content used


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