July 25 Day 139: #TacomaMath

Two months ago, in May 24 Day 77: Shine Your Light, the second bullet point on my big-dreaming summer to-do list stated “Support local Tacoma Math Walks #TacomaMath through responsible socially-distant math walks. The pandemic knocked the feet out from under this project in March. Its time to pivot, re-engage community partners, and move the dial to promote a positive mathematical culture in my town.”

Together with community partners, I am happy to announce we have launched a two-pronged strategy:

  • Sidewalk chalk puzzlers in open but active locations and
  • Open ended scavenger quests through a mobile app called Goose Chase.

Sidewalk Chalk Puzzlers are inspired by Traci Jackson (@traciteacher). The idea is to seed Tacoma with chalked puzzles and crowd source more puzzles until we fill up this town. People can copy an existing puzzle to a new location, select a puzzle from bit.ly/mathwalks2020 (please be sure to include the source), or create one of their own. The hope is to generate curiosity and discussion. We are asking people to post their puzzlers or thinking on Instagram/FB with the hashtag #TacomaMath. (A feed of Instagram posts with #TacomaMath can be found at graduatetacoma.org/tacomamath.)

Here are some samples so far:

I hope to see more popping up all over this town.

Math Walks are guided quests on the Goose Chase app that can be completed almost anywhere—in your home, neighborhood, or local park. There is nothing uniquely Tacoma about it, except that we created them for the students of Tacoma.

There are eight different levels from kindergarten to high school. They can be used as discussion prompts on family walks with younger mathematicians or individual/ small group activities to get older mathematicians out of the house, away from their computers, and off your back for a little while. Each quest has an animal avatar, multiple missions, and grade appropriate content. Participants earn points for photo or text contributions. We hope it reinforces that mathematics is more than arithmetic. It is fun, beautiful, and EVERYWHERE.

So if you are a parent looking for something to engage your bored children at home, encourage them to explore one of the above quests. I’m excited by the launch and hope that mathematics opportunities are embraced by our community.

Dream big. Bring people together. Make it happen.

Published by Jenny Quinn

Mathematician. Mother. Wife. Leader. I am a professor of mathematics at the University of Washington Tacoma. Mother of Anson and Zachary. Wife to Mark. President of the Mathematical Association of America.

4 thoughts on “July 25 Day 139: #TacomaMath

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