Math Renaissance

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Math Renaissance is a book coming out in 2017. It is for teachers and parents of children ages seven and up. The authors share their insights on how math experience might be improved at home, school, and math circle.  It is based upon Rodi Steinig’s experiences teaching math and leading math circles, and Rachel Steinig’s experiences as a school student and homeschooler.


Math Renaissance

In alternating chapters, Rodi tells stories about her math circle and exactly what happens there, while Rachel discusses why so many kids hate math, documents the ways math is taught in the classroom – and ways that can be improved. We hope that the book will help to uplift humanity by shifting math education toward inquiry, discovery, conceptual understanding, and lasting joy to mathematics.

The book gives voice to many students, parents, teachers, and administrators. It is a grassroots effort to make people aware of problems in math education, in hopes that you find new approaches that can be implemented in your home or classroom. We invite you to take from this book anything that might help you: validation of your feelings, math circles know-how, acknowledgment of your struggles, techniques for making the best of a hard situation, or classroom investigations of specific mathematical concepts.

Meet the Authors

Rodi Steinig wants to awaken children’s inner mathematicians, to shepherd the unfolding of their abstract reasoning, and to disabuse them of the notion that math is about memorizing a bunch of facts and algorithms. She has led the Talking Stick Math Circle since 2011. She is a National Association of Math Circles Mentor, a prolific math blogger, and a homeschooling parent. Rodi has B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and a M. Ed. from Cabrini College. Her initial math circle training was through the gentle guidance of Bob and Ellen Kaplan. Her current field of interest is the philosophy of mathematics.
Rachel SteinigRachel Steinig is a high school student with a multitude of diverse math experiences. She wants kids to know what math really is and she wants adults to know what kids experience, in hopes of improving math education for everyone. Rachel has grown up on math circles as a participant, planner, and leader, and is passionate about learning math through inquiry. She is involved in body-positivity activism, peace work, and youth advocacy in government.

A Taste of Math Renaissance

Click to download drafts of sample book chapters. Try the activities, feel the passion, and get inspired!

  • The Unicorn Problem, a chapter where Rodi puts a very difficult folkloric math problem into a modern pop-culture context, and the kids doggedly struggle with it for six weeks.
  • Human Rights and Math, a chapter where Rachel reviews fundamentals of health, dignity, and well-being in the context of learning mathematics. It begins, “Janet is a student in a large public high school. In her math class, she isn’t always allowed to use the bathroom. Apparently she had asked to use the bathroom too many times…

Meet the Publisher

nm_logo_100pxAs a parent, teacher, or math circle leader, you want books that are helpful for your children. Will the book make sense? Will it add rich and beautiful math to your child’s life? Will it be fun? So that you can say YES to all of these questions, the Natural Math community has developed a unique publishing process.

A quality book takes professional artists, editors, and designers – we got them! Yet great books start with dedicated authors who care enough to spend dozens of hours improving each little activity by testing it with many children, families, and classes. Then early drafts go through revisions when authors of other books help to refine the new project. This is more work and nurture than most math books ever get, but we are not done!

Next, we invite beta readers – brave community volunteers who field-test the draft in their own families and classes, without the authors on-scene to help. Our beta readers are new parents and veteran homeschoolers, principals and classroom teachers, leaders of first-time math playgroups and long-running math circles. They come from all learning backgrounds and all continents (except Antarctica). Readers tell us where to add examples, which activities need more ‘wow’, which terms to explain, and what children’s questions were tough to answer. That’s how Natural Math books become so real. 


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