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Hello friends and colleagues,

Welcome to the Math in the Making post-workshop online forum. The goals of this conversation are to build on and extend the discussions that began during the in-person workshop this spring and help shape our next steps, as a field, related to the integration of mathematics with making and tinkering experiences. This conversation is open to all, so please feel free to invite others to participate.

To begin the conversation, please join our first discussion thread about concrete examples of mathematics in the context of making and tinkering.

You can also use this welcome thread to share introductions and more general thoughts, stories, ideas, comments etc. And throughout the online discussion, we welcome suggestions for additional video examples of mathematics in making and tinkering, as well as ideas for research and literature that can contribute to our evolving understanding of mathematics outside of school.

For more information about Math in the Making, visit our project page on informalscience.org. For those of you who were not able to join us in the spring, below we have outlined some of the key ideas and questions that emerged from the meeting. You can also review the pre-workshop online forum, which includes a list of introductory materials about the integration of mathematics and making.

We look forward to hearing from you over the next two weeks!


Scott Pattison, Andee Rubin, and the Math in the Making team


Emergent ideas and questions from spring workshop:

  • There is a tension between the importance of highlighting the mathematics in making and tinkering experiences and concerns about compromising the essential qualities of making (e.g., making as an agentive, unconstrained, creative activity).
  • The widespread negative perception of mathematics across society is a major challenge, and major reason, for this work.
  • A broad conceptualization of mathematicsincluding mathematical dispositions, habits of mind, and identitiesis necessary in order to see and support opportunities for math in making. The mathematics most people encounter in school provides only a limited view of mathematics’ potential richness.
  • There is a difference between starting with a making experience and looking for the potential mathematical connections (“math in making”) and designing a making experience with a mathematical content in mind (“making in math”). It is worth considering both approaches, as they have different affordances and challenges.
  • Making is not a new activity.  Historically, many communities have engaged in making activities out of necessity, not as an extra-curricular hobby. Adopting a “funds of knowledge” perspective requires that we ask about, and honor, the mathematical and making knowledge and skills that already exist in communities.
  • Educators and parents need support for their roles in facilitating mathematical making and tinkering experiences.  This may be especially true if they have narrow views of what constitutes mathematics that come from their school experiences.
  • Mathematical reasoning may be easier to identify and build on in making activities that occur over an extended period of time and involve multiple iterations of a design than in short drop-in activities.