Math Renaissance is for teachers and parents of children ages six 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.
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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.
We’ve learned that everybody can access the beauty and joy in mathematics. Parents, teachers, and mathematicians all have a vision of math being taught in a way that’s collaborative, profound, and accessible to everybody, a Math Renaissance if you will. In our book we hope to repair damaged relationships with math and enhance good ones.
Rachel’s is the voice of the silent majority of school students; it sounds authentic. This authenticity is the most important quality of her writing.
– Alexandre Borovik, Professor of Pure Mathematics, University of Manchester
Thought-provoking and entertaining. It opens up so many more possibilities for all of us experienced with traditional math instruction.
– Paige Menton, parent and classroom teacher
Empowering and eye-opening. It is exciting to think about math in this way! Rodi challenges assumptions about how math is taught and learned. Anyone who cares about math learning will find this book worthy of a good, hard, re-think session. Besides turning traditional math education on its head, Rodi also writes with a personal, humble and enjoyable voice, making it fun to read.
– Melissa Church, parent and classroom teacher
The truth can’t ring louder about the struggles of students. Everything that Rachel is saying is totally relatable, simply everything. Not only are her suggestions smart, her writing sneaks in small funny moments. She offers realistic situations that can be used in the classroom.
– Amina Fong, high school student
|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 Steinig is college 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.|
Click to download drafts of sample book chapters. Try the activities, feel the passion, and get inspired!
|As 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.
Our book is published under Creative Commons license. It means that people all over the world can access its content, translate it into different languages – and share their ideas based on the book with you. The Creative Commons site Team Open features Natural Math in its celebration of innovative projects in education.