On Saturday, Aug. 2, thousands of Orange County children and families will experience an often-dreaded subject in a completely new and fun way. The first-ever Math Fair: At the Square Root of Fun will include hands-on games, rides, puzzles, musical and theatrical performances, family workshops and more from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Bren Events Center at UC Irvine. Registration is free, and more than 2,000 people are expected to attend.
The fair features exhibits from the across the country such as the Imagination Playground and Math Midway 2 Go (from the U.S.’s only Museum of Math), as well as exhibits created just for this event, like the iConic Bounce House that shows how planes intersecting a cone produce geometric shapes, and a Lil’ Mathematician Zone designed to engage children 5 years of age and under with math activities parents can replicate at home.
“The goal for all kids to be proficient at math is not enough. They also need to love math,” said Matthew Peterson, Ph.D., co-founder, CEO and senior scientist of the MIND Research Institute. “Mathematical beauty is everywhere in the world around us, and the goal of the Math Fair is to connect children to the deeper joys and exciting aspects of mathematics.”
Inspiring a new generation to embrace and excel in math has become a corporate priority, as well, with fully 20 percent of all U.S. jobs requiring skills in at least one of the science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) fields. That’s why businesses such as Microsemi Corporation are supporting the Math Fair.
“Complex math is the foundation for the leading-edge products our company develops, and sponsoring events like the Math Fair allows us to show students and parents how math brings real world applications to life,” said Steve Litchfield, executive vice president & chief strategy officer for Microsemi. “We are very excited about this year’s event, where Microsemi will showcase some of our products and provide a forum for students to engage with various math challenges.”
Providing something for visitors of all ages, the Math Fair includes a train ride through the four dimensions, a conic section bounce house, math mystery theater performances that integrate audience-participation and technology, an exhibit of open-source 3D printed mathematical curiosities, and a historical timeline installation of great achievements in math, complete with actors playing famous mathematicians.
The Math Fair is the brainchild of Peterson, who also created the ST Math software program used by more than 110,000 children in Orange County schools. Students often call the program JiJi Math, a reference to the animated penguin whom they help to cross the screen by correctly solving math puzzles on computers or tablets. JiJi will be at the fair to meet fans.
First developed in Orange County, ST Math is now used in 35 states, and is proven to double or triple schools’ growth rate on standardized math test scores. Because the program uses visual puzzles to introduce math concepts, instead of words, numbers and symbols, it levels the playing field for English language learners and students with learning challenges.
The nonprofit MIND Research Institute has focused on making math accessible and engaging for students since its inception in 1997. However, this is the first large-scale free public event hosted by the organization, and represents an effort to expand math awareness and excitement to children beyond the classroom.
Chartered buses funded by sponsors will be bringing families from Anaheim and San Juan Capistrano to the math fair, ensuring that transportation challenges do not prohibit families from attending. Activities at the fair will be provided to families in both English and Spanish.
In addition to Microsemi, Math Fair sponsors include 760, Beall Family Foundation, Capital Group, Cox Communications, Deezmaker, Disneyland Resort, El Aviso, Evolution Exhibits, Hispanic100, Horowitz Group, Mike and Sheila Lefkowitz, New York Life Insurance Company, Orange County Register, OC Family, Matthew & Sydni Peterson, Positron, RGS, Samuel Foundation, Staples, Dr. Cesar Vargas and Wells Fargo Bank.
Get updates on the Math Fair: #SquareRootofFun.
About MIND Research Institute
MIND Research Institute is an education nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that all students are mathematically equipped to solve the world’s most challenging problems. MIND’s distinctive visual approach to math and problem-solving is the basis of its innovative, research-proven ST Math® programs for elementary and secondary schools. MIND’s programs currently reach over 630,000 students and 25,000 teachers in 2,050 schools in 35 states. For more information, visit http://www.mindresearch.net.