October 2023 MathFinder Community Newsletter

October 2023

October 2023

#MathFinder Moment

Here is where we share the math we found in the places we go! We want to hear from you! Take a look at our photos and our question below – and please respond to our question in the Comments section.

View some of our videos! STEM and Baseball  | Summer Vacation through a STEM Lens |  STEM at Kyle Warren Park

Follow us on TikTok: @talkSTEM.  Note: TikTok videos are also posted as Instagram Reels @talkingSTEM 

 Here’s our question:  How can we use our social media platforms together to show lots of math moments and have maximum impact on students?
Let us know what you think in the comments section!

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.

Project Updates

  •  Partner Site Dissemination activities to grow the MathFinder community across North Texas! Take a look at Dallas Zoo dissemination about MathFinder/walkSTEM on their website here! Below is some signage Dallas Zoo has displayed at their site!

  • talkSTEM across Texas: talkSTEM is launching a series of virtual monthly meet-ups beginning this month.  We invite all Mathfinder partners to attend.  The goal is to share our resources, methods, and perspectives widely. Register here and please share amongst your networks: talkstem.org/across-texas. More information is in the flyer below on the linked page.

  • MathFinder Website Updates: Watch the new video we added to the app page of the Mathfinder website here! It’s a quick and easy way to share about MathFinder with your organization as well. Additionally, we have added a lot of new and easy resources to share, which are laid out on the Education Resources page, including a 2-minute overview video which would be a great to share in presentations and with your networks and colleagues!  
  •  Conference Presentations:  We shared about the Polypad learning extensions that we tested at St Philip’s School and Community Center last year at the Education Alliance Symposium in the DC Area in September, 2023.  View the slide deck here
  • Partner site members Selena Wilson from Dallas Arboretum and Amanda Roberts-Stevens from Dallas Zoo participated in a panel discussion at the Texas Ecosystem Exchange Conference.

  • Texas Ecosystem Exchange Day:  Conference organized by Region 10: talkSTEM organized a panel presentation:  Let’s Take a Quick Trip.  Panel includes: Dallas Zoo, Dallas Arboretum, and also talkSTEM teacher fellows who are middle school math teachers in Dallas ISD.  Moderator is Dr. Koshi Dhingra  
  • Summer Camp, 2023:  Over 7,000 k-12 students at Dallas Zoo, Dallas Arboretum, St Philip’s School & Community Center and Dallas ISD Extended Learning Department engaged with MathFinder and walkSTEM resources this past summer.  Thank you to our partners who infused our open-access resources into their programs with the goal of growing MathFinders amongst our youth.  Read this blog post describing the summer camp at Dallas Arboretum.
  • Research Camps: Our next research camp will be at Dallas Zoo on November 20-22.  This year we need larger numbers of students for each camp and to this end we will be holding 2 sessions (morning and afternoon). We would appreciate your sharing the student recruitment forms widely through all your networks, which are available in English & Spanish.  Our two other research camps this year will be held at the Girl Scouts STEM Center of Excellence and at Dallas Arboretum!
  • In July, we successfully completed another research camp at the Dallas Museum of Art! We are grateful to our partner sites for working closely with us to make research possible and to make the learning experience for the kids a great experience for all involved! 

  •  Thank you to the Dallas Arboretum, which submitted a blog post about how they infused Mathfinder methods and resources in their summer camp. Read the post here!



On October 3rd, we will host our partner site meeting to kick off Year 3 of the five-year MathFinder project!  This will be a virtual meeting.

In December, we will be hosting our 2nd partner site meeting for Year 3. Date and location are to be announced in upcoming weeks.

Partner Spotlight:
Twelve Hills Nature Center!

Twelve Hills Nature Center is a special little five-acre nature preserve in the North Oak Cliff area of Dallas, at 817 Mary Cliff Rd., 75208. It was established in 2005 on disturbed land.  The founders wanted to create a place that was positive for children and would bring our diverse community together to nurture it.  They succeeded.

Twelve Hills” mission is “cultivating conservation ethics through our Backland Prairie restoration and nature education”. Backland Prairie is an endangered ecosystem that was on the land before it was farmed of developed. Restoration projects like Twelve Hills are crucial to maintaining native biodiversity and North Texas’ ecological and cultural heritage.

Visitors at Twelve Hills enjoy a long, narrow, hilly five-acre preserve with a half-mile dirt trail, lush tall grasses and beautiful wildflowers, butterflies, birds and pollinators. There are extensive butterfly gardens that demonstrate landscaping with native plants.

Nature programs for local schools and the public are presented with the goal of nurturing a love of nature. This is the first step in understanding the importance of conservation.

Through our partnership with talkSTEM.org and SMU. a math walk was created that looks at nature through the lens of math. Elementary-aged children become familiar with math concepts in a fun way, while learning about nature. The walk can be found at twelvehills.org under education. Download the Otocast app, which offers access to math walks at Twelve Hills and all over Dallas.

In the Community:
Meet Jenn Makins from Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas!

Name: Jenn Makins
Role in Organization: Executive Director -STEM Center of Excellence at Camp Whispering Cedars

Q: What are one or more favorite places you like to go to in the city of Dallas?

A: White Rock Lake

Q: What is your dream vacation?

A: Lake Como, Italy

Q: When you aren’t working, what is something that you love to do?

A: Golfing, reading, or cooking



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



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!



Partner Site Happenings

Here is what’s happening at our partner sites in May:

Twelve Hills Nature Center

Prairie and Pollinator Festival at Twelve Hills Nature Center

Sunday afternoon, October 29, 1 to 4 PM

817 Mary Cliff Rd., Dallas, TX 75208

Admission is FREE!

Come out to Twelve Hills and celebrate the prairie and pollinators!

Enjoy nature presentations, explore the butterfly garden, learn about pollinators and more, including:

Buy native plants at a Redenta’s Garden Shop pop-up store!

Tremendous presentation of live raptors and owls with Window to the Wild!

See and learn about Blackland Prairie snakes with Michael Smith.

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 and hannah@talkstem.org to share your ideas.

Guest blog submission guidelines:

  • Word count should be approximately 300-800 words
  • Videos and photos are encouraged
  • Cite any quotes, data, images, or third party content used

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