Math Fairs

Geek Culture

We have science fairs at school (or at least we should); why not math fairs?

Math fairs cultivate the language of math and give this essential skill a cool factor. Our kids have attended such math fairs and it has helped them think of math as fun, festive, and full of color. Anytime you turn math from abstract to concrete via a puzzle, or project, it seems to transform it into something one can own. Sure they need some nudging. But that is where Geekdad comes in. Math is actually a wide open field for creative approaches. And a math fair is a good excuse to fire up the old geek factor.

There is help in how to organize a math fair by those who have been doing this for a while. They’ll point you to what to include or not include, and how to sell it to your community. The outfit is called SNAP. The acronym comes from:

* Student-centered,

* Non-competitive,

* All-inclusive, and

* Problem-based.

As they say at the SNAP website: “In a SNAP math fair, the focus is quite narrow: each project is a math puzzle that the students present to the visitors. The student presenters have control over their projects. They solve the puzzles on their own, transform them into an appropriate setting, prepare the artwork and the displays, and present the puzzles to the visitors. The students are experts about the puzzles, and they act as facilitators to help the visitors solve them.”

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