Innovations in Mathematics Education via the Arts

BIRS Workshop   January 22 -- 26, 2007


This was an outstanding week for us. A wonderful mix of creative people participated, with varying backgrounds, diverse areas of expertise, and experience working with different levels of students. But we all feel a passion for mathematics education via art. Many of us have had great teaching experiences with art-based math education activities that we have developed. After much sharing and brainstorming, we decided that the greatest need that we as a group could fill is to provide resources for educators at all levels. Other teachers will use these ideas in their classes if we write them up in a useful manner, which conveys some of our excitement and contains clear procedures to follow.

There are three main projects formed, plus smaller groups of participants formed a number of additional partnerships. The main projects are edited collections of activities, one aimed at the K-12 level, one aimed at college-level liberal arts students, and one aimed at post-calculus students. We expect that each collection will be published in the form of a book, probably with an electronic supplement on a CD or a web site. We discussed representative activities for each collection and developed a format that contributors can follow when proposing activities to the editors. The groups of editors for the three collections will format some initial activities and with them as models, announce a call for additional solicitations. Many of the workshop participants will be contributors.

I am certain that everyone left feeling creatively invigorated, with a sense that our work will have a very positive long-term impact on mathematics education.

FINAL REPORT, v. 2 (Jan 30, 2007, includes some additions from first version.)

Accepted Proposal
Packet of introductory material --- one page per participant
List of Participants and their email addresses

Photos by Carlo Sequin

Organizational PowerPoint presentations with schedules:
Form to fill with activity proposal if you want to propose a chapter to a collection

Workshop materials:

Our parting activity was to write an Oulipo-inspired "fibonacci snowball / melting snowball" about our experiences at BIRS this week:

Math art
In the mountains.
Thirty strong we worked hard.
Well, actually, we were only twenty-nine or so.
There were CD sculptures, longswords, beading, snowflakes, twiddlers, deer, desserts, storytelling, rhythms, Oulipo,
Imagination, mathification, collaboration, cooperation, obfuscation, clarification, syncopation, mastication,
Symmetry, geometry, beauty, pedagogy, synergy
We enjoyed all
New friends

Glyn Rimmington, Mara Alagic, Gene Klotz, George Hart,
Godfried Toussaint
Robert Bosch, Susan Gerofsky, Gerda de Vries, Gary Greenfield, Pau Atela,
David Richter,

Craig Kaplan, Dirk Huylebrouck, Blake Mellor, Gomez Paco

Doris Schattschneider, Carolyn Yackel,

Bill Higginson, Phil Wagner, Carlo Sequin, Gwen Fisher, David Rappaportt
Carol Bier, Doug Burkholder,
Kevin Hartshorn, Stewart Craven, Daina Taimina, Nat Friedman