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MakingMath Visible

George Hart and ElisabethHeathfield



Our Mission.   Just as exposure to great bookscan entice students to learn to read, beautiful mathematicalobjects may fuel students' desire to investigate topics inmathematics and give them an opportunity to acquire a positivelifetime perspective towards math.  Traditional classroomwalls are often overflowing with language-based displays oflearning, while the beauty of math is rarely seen.

We believe that creative hands-on activities can informallyintroduce students to mathematical thinking and get them excitedabout math. Young people have an inherent curiosity and awillingness to explore that is characteristic of professionalmathematicians. Our workshops can foster this natural tendency andshow students that “math is cool!” Our goal is to make mathvisible and accessible by constructing visually engaging, publiclydisplayed objects that provide a tangible platform for discussionand inquiry.

In the workshops we lead, students, instructors, and otherparticipants become co-learners and co-creators of design-basedprojects that excite and engage them. We are very interested inthe idea of breaking barriers between formal and informaleducation using interest-driven activities that connect to schoollearning and foster a math culture in and around the school.

Our workshops have a focus on hands-on building in whichparticipants create a physical structure that can be looked at asan artwork and/or used as a teaching tool. We provide free lessonplans because we want to empower teachers by offering easilyaccessible resources with strong curricular connections and givingthem the tools and the confidence to incorporate hands-on learninginto their own math classes.  Many of the activities touch onaspects of math beyond the textbook, such as 3D geometry,topology, graph theory, problem solving, spatial reasoning,proportional thinking, etc.

You can read more about Making Math Visible in thispaper, presented at the 2017 Bridges Conference inWaterloo, Ontario.  And here is avideo of a talk we gave about this project at St. Jerome'sUniversity at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, February 3 2017.

Note: All MakingMathVisible contentis copyrighted by George Hart and Elisabeth Heathfield.  Wefreely give teachers, schools, museums, and homeschoolerspermission to use this material in any educational context, butwritten permission is needed before selling any products orservices based on our designs.