Math Storytelling Day, and math like music and dance: Newsletter August 4

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Hi, I am Moby Snoodles, and this is news about Natural Math.

Send me your questions, comments, and stories of math adventures at

Moby Snoodles

In this newsletter:

  • Math Storytelling Day
  • Quick bits from our blog
  • 1001 Circles: planning the incubator for math circle leaders

Math Storytelling Day September 25

Back in early June, the Moebius Noodles crew participated in the Maker Faire in Raleigh, NC. We enjoyed coming up with maker-style math adventures. And we’ve seen so much joy from children and adults who made their own mathematics at our booth! That’s why we want to continue that theme: MATH IS WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT.

So we decided to make MAKING our theme for this year’s celebration of Mathematics Storytelling Day, September 25. We are inviting you to join our community of kids and adults from around the world in storytelling, with your story of what you make of mathematics – in pictures or words.

Math is what you make of it

In the spirit of making, with this awesome design by our illustrator Mark Gonyea, we’ll produce a small quantity of Math Maker t-shirts. See the Math Storytelling Day page for details.

Blogs and networks

What if we could learn math like children learn music within a cultural tradition? What if we could learn math by being immersed in meaning and expression from the moment we’re born? These questions come up as Malke Rosenfeld and I watch kids and adults dancing and making music. What do you think?

“Mom, it’s a fractal of square numbers!” – Yelena McManaman and her son invite you to explore multiplication patterns with Perler beads.

Check out this review of traditional, or new and surprising finger tricks for math from Marina Mersenne, including a way to make Fibonacci spirals with hands, and the Official Math Salute. If your kids can’t get enough of these tricks, here is how to count to 99 on your fingers that goes back to the Soroban abacus – with big thanks to Alexander Bogomolny for his photos!

Who is this mystery person? A teacher, a US president, a young kid, or maybe a whole family sharing an account? What is that person’s real grade level in mathematics? Look at the screen capture from a Khan Academy profile, and try to guess by August 10, when we will reveal the answer.

“Really Big Numbers is a small book that can take a long time to read or even look through. It is a chance to learn something new about the really big numbers. But it is also a chance to experience the awe, the mystery and the playfulness of math with your child and as a child.” Read the full review of the new book from the author of “You can count on monsters” posters.

1001 circles incubator

In the last newsletter, we announced plans for a training program for new math circle leaders. The goal for the program members will be to prepare, plan, and run their first circles this fall. The response has been very enthusiastic. We are exchanging letters with prospective members of the math circle incubator. Together, we can create a program that addresses the worries, turns dreams into plans, and makes a difference for the children.

  • How can I make it relevant and age-appropriate?  What are the kinds of fundamental math concepts kids can pick up from play in math circles?  For example, when/how to introduce concepts like operands, calculation, logic, sets, number systems, geometry, logarithms, just to name a few…  How to set the stage for kids to make connections? – Rachel R.
  • My biggest hope and worry as a math circle leader is to help my kids avoid the trap I fell into. I went to 3rd semester calculus, static/dynamics, and calculus-based physics, before I imploded. I had breezed through high school and the first year of college with little effort for math. I was good at memorization and identifying patterns. I didn’t get the “why” behind any of it and no one seemed to care, as long as the grades were good. Then I hit a wall and didn’t understand why until years later. My fear is that my whole background is in the traditional way of learning math and this path is this muddle in my brain. – Brad S.
  • I dream of being an effective guide for the children.  I want to spark their curiosity by letting them led their own learning.  I want to create an amazing place for children to work and learn and play together. – Darlene L.
  • I love the Montessori math materials but would like to add addition opportunities to “play with” and discover the beauty of mathematics. – Janie J.
  • My biggest worry is not being able to respond to the groups’ interests in presenting information or provide enough various opportunities of exploring math. My dream is to build up my knowledge and to share that learning adventure with my children and my community. I hope to promote curiosity and joys of learning. – Linley M.
  • My greatest hope for being a math circle leader is to learn myself how to think outside of the worksheets, textbooks, and sit at a desk doing math problems mindset! – Rabia H.

Write if you are interested in participating!


You are welcome to share this newsletter online or in print.


Talk to you soon! Moby Snoodles, aka Dr. Maria Droujkova

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2 comments on “Math Storytelling Day, and math like music and dance: Newsletter August 4
  1. I want to know more about this event so that I can consider attending. I live in Cambridge, MA, and won’t be able to drive, and if I fly it will be difficult to bring my materials. But I want to come…….what are the details, please?

  2. MariaD says:

    Michael, love your story at – and a multiplication tower you made is a great example in our collection!

    Math Storytelling Day is something we celebrate online, and then every group celebrates locally. If you have a place in Cambridge where you want to get a group together, I will be happy to announce it so more people join you.

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