February 5 Day 334: New Adventures in #TacomaMath

#TacomaMath, the math work group of Graduate Tacoma‘s Steam Learning Network, is on a mission to promote mathematics in our community. Our goal? To positively change the culture of mathematics throughout Tacoma.

The pandemic threw a wrench into our plans. We swerved and had some successes with sidewalk chalk puzzlers and open ended scavenger quests during the summer. When the academic year fired back up, things changed again. Chalk puzzles are great… but not when it is raining. So really, they are a summer-only strategy in the Pacific Northwest. Scavenger quests that rely on technology weren’t reaching the students most in need. So we have gone low-tech with scavenger quest decks—10 cards each with a math puzzle, problem, or challenge to explore—and partnered with student care sites at some local schools. When all 10 quests are completed, the participants get a 3d printed rhombic triacontahedron or a #TacomaMath sticker. We get feedback to improve the deck for the next iteration.

Rhombic Triacontahedron by mathgrrl (AKA Dr. Laura Taalman) available from Thingiverse.

Our newest strategy premiered last night, Math Around Town, short math- and place- based videos. The plan is to release one video a week from now through the end of the academic year. Nothing can be longer than 3 minutes. Everyone in the work group is contributing. A place. An idea. Some math. Joy.

If you or anyone you know might be interested in contributing, drop me a line. In particular we are looking for a math dance worthy of TikTok. Ideas?

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.

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