We are excited to announce the launch of the MathFinder Initiative, a collaboration between talkSTEM, Southern Methodist University, and nine incredible and diverse partner sites – supported by the National Science Foundation. Our amazing partner sites see well over two million visitors a year and work directly with almost 200,000 young people a year through their innovative educational programs. MathFinder is a place-based learning initiative; wherever our youth are, they have the opportunity to learn and to expand their mindsets.
On our interactive website, you can access hundreds of short (2-4minute), inquiry-based videos showing math and science walks in real world places ranging from parks to playgrounds, from coffee shops to college campuses, and more! Use the videos flexibly as virtual field trips, opportunities to make connections to student interest and to show math come alive in the most unexpected places, strategies to deepen student engagement and to expand student identity as STEM inquirers and explorers in places that they move through, introduction to new concepts, reinforcement, homework, or in other ways. All videos are searchable by place, math topics, science themes, age groups, and more. Our goal is to partner with educators everywhere to encourage students to love math and science by helping them see it everywhere. We will be adding to our video collection on an ongoing basis. We’d love to hear from you – please contact us to learn more.
Join the MathFinder community today and go on short inquiry-based, virtual math and science field trips. Go on app-guided Math Walks designed by our team or by the growing community of educators and youth in different locations. Create your own Math and Science Walks on your campus or in your neighborhoods. Download learning extension activities freely. Watch or listen to the MathFinder Podcast. Share your MathFinder Moments on our monthly newsletters. Sign up now and join the MathFinder community! Below we share our very first MathFinder Community newsletter.
The new MathFinder website is live!
We are excited to share with you the launch of our new MathFinder website! The website is great resource for educators, students, and parents to learn more about MathFinder and how to be creative in using the app. Visit Website!
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 photo and our question below – and please respond to our question in the Comments section.
What is mathematical about a tree?
After commenting, click here to see our answer! Please also share any additional math-related questions you may have about this image. We all have different questions – that’s what makes this all so fascinating.
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.
St. Philip’s School and Community Center’s origins come through the active interest of the Episcopal Diocese and local African-American Episcopalians to start a black Episcopal church in South Dallas in the late 1940s. The school is a PK-7 private institution with a Community Center that provides services and resources that assist families in enhancing their quality of life. The mission of the school and community center is to provide an unparalleled education and compatible community services through a faith-based experience, with emphasis on serving low and moderate income families. More information about this valued partner site is available here.
St Philip’s School and Community Center has been a talkSTEM partner for a number of years. Educator Tamasha Govan met Dr. Dhingra, co-PI on the Mathfinder grant project, back in 2017, thanks to an introduction by Gwendolyn Satterfield-Barjon, the Director of Innovation and Science at the School. Gwen was a dedicated and visionary educator who passed away in April 2020. Tamasha is the Director of Curriculum and a former Math teacher at St. Philip’s School. Since 2017, between Gwen and Tamasha, the students at St. Philips have engaged in afterschool and in-classroom math walks and related activities. It was only fitting that this partner site was our first data collection site in October, 2021 when Tamasha and her colleague Tia Stevens, another incredible educator and new Director of Innovation and Science, ran a 4-day after-school club in which students in grades 5-6 created their own math walk stops. You can go on a guided math walk at St. Philip’s campus using this video collection. You will enjoy hearing directly from St. Philip’s students and teachers in these videos! Christopher Francois, who teaches Middle School Prep and Middle School math at the school, is also directly involved with Mathfinder at St Philip’s. He brings an enthusiasm to the approach and incorporates the Mathfinder tools and videos in his classroom.
In the Community
Name: JC Bigornia
Role in Organization: Director of Community Engagement
Q: What are one or more favorite places you like to go to in the city of Dallas?
A: Bishop Arts District, White Rock Lake, Arts District. We love being outside and enjoying the diverse activities that White Rock Lake has to offer, from walking the trails with our dogs to kayaking and more, it’s always a scenic and energizing trip. The Dallas Arts District and Bishop Arts District hold lots of places to discover, and I particularly enjoy seeing performances at the Dallas Theater Center and grabbing a drink or bite to eat at Paradiso.
Q: What is your dream vacation?
A: A motorcycle tour in Europe or Southeast Asia. I’ve always wanted to travel more extensively in both Europe and Asia, particularly Spain, Thailand, and Vietnam where I have never been before. I always enjoy exploring new cities on foot and also love the idea of traveling cross-country by motorcycle to really experience the rural areas as well.
Q: When you aren’t working, what is something that you love to do?
A: Learning new skills – recently teaching myself woodworking and stained glass; looking forward to learning to weld. As a maker, I constantly seek to acquire new techniques that I can use. Generally, I see an interesting idea for a project that I want to adapt or serve as a jumping off point, then think about how I would fabricate it. Usually, it means employing a skill that I haven’t tried before, which I teach myself through research, practice, and trial and error.
We are excited to announce that we will be releasing a podcast series highlighting our partner sites! Stay tuned for updates!
On June 2, we held the MathFinder Summer Meet-Up at the Frontiers of Flight Museum! Many thanks to our hosts for having us there. During this event, we shared exciting new app design updates and received feedback from our partner sites on tho
We have just wrapped up year 1 of our 5-year grant! Major milestones met for year 1 included:
Collected data from students at 3 partner sites
- Conducted focus groups with informal educators and grades 4-8 students
- Engaged in quarterly meetings with partner informal learning sites
- Delivered 3-hour orientation on walkSTEM to partner sites
- Administered Annual Survey to partner sites
- Conducted interviews with 4-8 informal educators at informal learning sites
- Developed prototype of MathFinder app
Here is what we have planned for year 2:
- App Design: Prototype user testing; revision and refinement of prototype; Augmented Reality (AR) integration
- Research: Disseminate Study 1; conduct Study 2; hold second advisory board meeting
- Training: Two 3-hour informal educators training; quarterly informal educator meetings
Spread the Word
We are grateful for your continued support and would appreciate your help sharing MathFinder with the 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.
Are you interested in writing a guest blog post for our future newsletters? If so, we would love to hear from you regarding possible topics. Examples include different mathfinder activities at your site, learning math in general at your site, etc.! Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com 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