May 13 Day 1161: A Festival of Fun

This morning, Tacoma Math hosted its second community math festival of the year. Our first was April 27 at Lincoln High School and today’s was on UW Tacoma’s campus in the new Milgard Building.

Funded by the UW Tacoma Office of Community Partnerships, we recruited undergraduate students to create and facilitate math activities. There was extra excitement watching the students get to share their own work including tilings, treasure hunts, secret codes, flexagons, and Fermi problems.

Attendees included multigenerational families, repeat families, new faces, and familiar students. Most people stayed for the duration.

The Tacoma Math playlist of Math Around Town YouTubes played throughout. This led to a few outbursts of “hey, I just saw you in a movie.” And not only me, many of the Math Around Town creators were present including Rita Than, Tom Edgar, and the entire Snelson clan.

Festivals are about engaging with mathematical questions, persistence, and play. Creativity and perseverance are rewarded with raffle tickets for a chance at a “big” prize. Everyone goes home with some math swag.

Raffle tickets were liberally distributed to participants throughout.

It wouldn’t be possible without my partner in mathematical joy, Rita Than, and all the volunteers from Tacoma Math, UW Tacoma, Pacific Lutheran University, and Lincoln High school.

Based on the results of our simple exit survey, the festival had a positive impact on the participants’ attitudes towards math. We are planning one more Festival in the fall—next time at Pacific Lutheran University. Maybe, you will want to attend?

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 2021-2022. Past-President of MAA 2023.

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