Public Math Gathering

Over Labor Day weekend, we held the first Public Math Gathering, a 48-hour kickoff to collaboration that brought together a diverse group of educators, mathematicians, researchers, artists, designers, and scientists.


We began on Friday evening by walking the neighborhoods of Saint Paul looking for math and also for ways in which the landscape has been modified for purposes not originally considered. The rain garden and signs about walking to the Green Line pictured below are both retrofits, for example. Somebody had ideas about how to use public space differently, and they dreamed these things into being.

On Saturday morning, we volunteered as a group at Math On-A-Stick at the Minnesota State Fair before reconvening off site to debrief that experience and to design and build new ideas.

Our design work followed from this invitation:

Let’s design place-based opportunities for [X] to engage in math provocations that are [Y].

We filled in many possibilities for X and for Y. For some of us, X might be children or teenagers or families or the math anxious. And Y might be delightful or memorable or identity-changing or surprising.

We ended up with three prototypes:

  1. The Math Bus

  2. Start or Add

  3. Math Zines

Details on each of these will be coming in this space, including progress reports and ways you can use, share, develop, adapt, and contribute to this work. Stay tuned!