Funville is out, and our holiday sale – Newsletter November 27

Funville Adventures is out!

Funville Adventures

Our newest book for children ages 5 and up is out. Big thanks to the fabulous crowdfunders that made it possible! Funville is a math-inspired fantasy adventure by Sasha Fradkin and Allison Bishop, where functions come to life as magical beings.  After 9-year old Emmy and her 5-year old brother Leo go down an abandoned dilapidated slide, they are magically transported into Funville: a land inhabited by ordinary looking beings, each with a unique power to transform objects.

Paperback price change

Heads up: our paperback prices will increase after December 20th. We may have a membership price range in the future; stay tuned. Meanwhile, now is the good time to stock up, because…

Holiday sale!

Shop for thoughtful and joyful gifts at Natural Math. Starting Cyber Monday November 27th and until December 20th, we have discounts on all paper and electronic books. You can mix and math different book titles for the following offer:

$1 off each book
$2 off each when you buy 2-4 books
$3 off each when you buy 5-9 books
$5 each when you buy 10+ books.

Happy holidays!


See you online!

Dr. Maria Droujkova, and the Natural Math crew

CC BY-NC-SA

Questions? Email reach.out@naturalmath.com

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Inspiration for Your Renaissance Teen, and Math PhD Teaching Elementary School – Newsletter June 10

Support Funville and Math Renaissance

Math is what you make of it!

Making math your own is the motto of Natural Math. Hundreds of your stories, interviews, and comments on chapter drafts went into Math Renaissance – the future readers, making the book address their needs. Many of you read Funville Adventures stories with your children and sent the authors feedback, art, and fanfiction inspired by the book. And now, 600+ of you crowdfunded these two newest Creative Commons book projects. THANK YOU!

When you open a Natural Math book and see your name in the community credits, know that YOU made a difference in mathematics education.

There is still time to crowdfund Funville Adventures (until June 15) and Math Renaissance (until June 22) on Kickstarter. Even $1 makes a difference: it tells the world one more person cares. All funders receive insider updates from the authors, have their names listed in the book, get the book of course, and other exciting prizes.

Funville Fan Art

Children’s fan art for Funville: the magic slide.

Student power

Rachel Steinig is the teen co-author of Math RenaissanceAre you seeking ideas for deep, meaningful projects for older students? Rachel’s book and her stories will help! At the age of 14, Rachel began a 3+ year journey of researching and writing the book. Her passions for journalism, mathematics, and student rights gave life to an incredible project. What does it take? Here is a quote from her college application essay:

If there’s one thing I hate, it’s injustice. I believe that all children deserve a good education. Educational inequality has been extremely apparent to me after attending an underfunded Philadelphia public school. This desire to eradicate injustice and to give all children access to the best possible education motivates me to engage in this writing and advocacy even when it gets challenging. I see writing this book as an act of sharing the pedagogical wealth by disseminating math circle practices to everyone.

What are these practices? For example, meaningful work on complex problems. Here’s a quote from the Math Renaissance FAQ:

Do kids as young as 6 or 7 really have sufficient motivation, attention spans, or capabilities to understand and solve complex problems, especially if the students are not yet firmly grounded in the basics?

In our math circles, children are motivated to learn because the questions are accessible mysteries. I have seen the intrinsic motivation generated in math circle sessions translate to more interest and motivation to learn the “basics.” Rachel taught a math circle this past fall on Rational Tangles (an activity designed by mathematician John Horton Conway) in which a bunch of kids were begging to learn how to manipulate fractions because they wanted to untangle a knot. When I taught The Unicorn Problem the first time, even though the kids were quite young, the pull of the narrative was strong enough to give them the extended attention span to solve the problem. We spent an hour a week for six weeks until we solved it because the problem felt alive to the students.

Unicorn Problem

Princeton PhD in math teaches elementary school

Do you get criticized for your dedication to teaching and parenting? Dr. Sasha Fradkin has always loved mathematics. She opened a frank, deep conversation on Reddit with her Ask Me Anything piece. “With a PhD in math from Princeton I chose to teach at an elementary school and write a math-inspired children’s book. AMA!” Her topic turned out to be one of the most popular this year, with 2100+ questions and comments. Should mathematicians teach? Why and how to change careers? How does parenting come into the equation? These were the big themes. Here are a few sample questions Sasha answered:

How do you stay satisfied going over basic material year after year after exploring it in such depth in college?

At the university level, did you ever see common misconceptions or prevalent comprehension difficulties that you believe were rooted in educational problems that started as early as K-5?

Have you experienced a lot of people who criticised you over your decision/tried to stop you?

Sasha Fradkin Reddit

Dr. Allison Bishop, Sasha’s co-author of Funville, hated math as a child. She fell in love with it early in college, and is now a computer scientist. What was her secret? A good teacher, and… storytelling! Here’s a quote from Allison’s interview at Columbia University:

What really got me interested in math as an adult was the creative side of science research, and the human stories of how different people make different discoveries. Why them? Why that idea? What was it about that context and that time that sparked an insight?

Storytelling is fundamental to everything. Mathematicians and scientists need to think about storytelling as a way to get broader scientific literacy across to others. We as scientists don’t optimize the communication part; we spend so much time on the research. But we need to be able to explain science to someone who hasn’t spent years delving into scientific questions. People should be able to more easily see the creativity and beauty in science. So many people don’t get there.


See you online!

Dr. Maria Droujkova, and the Natural Math crew

CC BY-NC-SA

Questions? Email reach.out@naturalmath.com

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Funville Adventures and Math Renaissance: Newsletter May 23

Support Funville and Math Renaissance

Two New Books

Exciting news! Natural Math is almost ready to publish two new books – with your help! Funville is a math-rich adventure for children, and Math Renaissance is a support resource for teachers, parents, and math circle leaders. The authors are running their crowdfunding campaigns on Kickstarter. Please go there to see awesome videos, illustrations, sample chapters – and to check out prizes available with pre-orders, from your name in the book to group packages.

Funville Adventures is a math-inspired fantasy adventure by Sasha Fradkin and Allison Bishop, where functions come to life as magical beings.  After 9-year old Emmy and her 5-year old brother Leo go down an abandoned dilapidated slide, they are magically transported into Funville: a land inhabited by ordinary looking beings, each with a unique power to transform objects.

The siblings discover that Funville is full of surprises; one never knows when something will be shrunk, flipped upside down, turned into an elephant, or erased! As Emmy and Leo explore this exciting new world, befriending many Funvillians along the way, they discover that despite being able to do some very impressive tricks with their powers, Funvillians often get stumped by situations requiring more than just the straightforward use of a single power. Emmy and Leo think outside the box to solve problems by using combining multiple powers, as well as using ideas that do not involve powers.

CHECK OUT FUNVILLE ON KICKSTARTER!

Rachel's mandala

Math Renaissance is a book for teachers and parents of children ages seven and up. How can math experience be improved at home, school, and math circle? Learn from stories of Rodi Steinig’s experiences leading math circles and Rachel Steinig’s experiences as a school student and homeschooler.

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 it can be improved. We hope that the book will help to uplift humanity by shifting math education more toward inquiry, discovery, conceptual understanding, and lasting joy.

CHECK OUT MATH RENAISSANCE ON KICKSTARTER!


See you online!

Dr. Maria Droujkova, and the Natural Math crew

CC BY-NC-SA

Questions? Email reach.out@naturalmath.com

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Introducing New Self-Paced Courses

Self-Paced Courses

Natural Math course organizers know that so many parents and teachers have hectic schedules, and can’t always attend our live workshops and camps. Natural Math participants live on all continents but Antarctica, in time zones all over the world. Many people prefer recordings and the abilities to pause and review a course. We’ve had many requests for self-paced, recorded versions of our live courses, so…

We are excited to introduce new self-paced courses for you!

We’ve been offering Multiplication Explorers for years, which grew out of a live Natural Math course, the first open online math course for parents and teachers in the world. The new courses are also built from our live workshops. How do the self-paced versions work? There are recordings of previous live sessions, plus access to all the materials and handouts. Once you purchase a self-paced course, you will receive a PDF booklet with all the links and information you need. The self-paced courses have a suggested price, but you can name your own price if you wish to support Natural Math with more money, or are in need to pay less. We want excellent math materials to be accessible to everyone!

Our first new course is Transformers: Graphing and Matrices Camp, a joyful way to learn linear algebra and Cartesian geometry with children ages 9-15. It includes five days of recordings (each about an hour), the workbook, and the slides from the live camp. Want a taste of transformations your children will explore? Try out this linear transformations applet from Mercyhurst University.

applet image

Ready to try out Transformers? Download it now!

Check out other self-paced courses at Natural Math, and stay tuned for more.

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