Activities for Mathematical and Statistics Awareness Month

Little girl holding the foamed plastic frame of a number in front of her face

Stephan Hoeck / STOCK4B-RF / Getty Images

Mathematical and Statistical Awareness month is perfect for mathematically gifted kids. It was established in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan as Math Awareness Month as a way to promote an awareness and appreciation of mathematics. Mathematically gifted kids and their parents don't need to be aware of math or appreciate it! But they can certainly enjoy the month and hope that others will become more aware, not just of math, but of mathematically gifted kids.

So what are some good ways to celebrate Math Awareness Month?

Read Some Math Books

When most people think about math books, they think of books that discuss math concepts and maybe provide math problems to work out.

While there are plenty of math books that do just that, there are also some great math books that are fiction. It's not that they contain made-up math concepts, but that they present math concepts in a fiction story format.

Mathematically gifted kids will enjoy reading these books because they cleverly discuss math concepts. The book Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi is an example of such a book. Kids who are not so comfortable with math will find it much easier to learn these concepts. There are more than books about pi, though. There are quite a few clever and funny, entertaining math fiction books.

Read (or Write) Some Math Poetry

Interestingly, April is not just Mathematical and Statistics Awareness Month, it's also Poetry Month, so why not read and write some math poetry? What is math poetry? There is actually more than one kind of math poetry. One kind is just poetry about math or some mathematical concept. For example, here is part of a poem called = 24 from the blog Math Mama Writes...

Two times two times two times three
is the form that most pleases me.
But even more, what I enjoy,
Is that a number’s like a toy.

Other poems are created using some mathematical concept, such as the Fibonacci sequence. Fibonacci poems are becoming quite popular! Here is a Fibonacci poem by Kristina Baer called Too daily from the site Fibetry:

go by
like trailers
sleights of hand quick as
meaningless insight flash-dashes.

Family Math Night

Another way to celebrate Mathematical and Statistics Awareness Month is to have a Family Math Night.

Many school districts now have a night set aside in April when families can go to the school and engage in a number of math-based activities. But there is no reason your family can't have a math night of your own.

All you need to do is have some math fun at home one night as a family. You may have so much fun that you end up having math nights all year long!

  • Tangrams
    • This site has some great information on tangrams and lots of shapes to create with tangrams. It even has instructions on how to create your own tangram set in case you don't have one handy or want more than one.
  • Family Math Games
    • Have you ever played Concentration? How about Go Fish? Or "Rummy"? Most everyone has played at least one of these games. But did you ever play them with a numbers and math twist? This site gives instructions on playing several games, most requiring little more than cards, a few coins, or some dice.
  • Math for the Fun of It
    • This page provides some simple ideas to encourage kids to think about math and numbers. Of course, if your child doesn't need any encouragement, he'll enjoy the activities anyway! He'll enjoy working out the answers in the games.
  • Mixing in Math
    • This Web page has a number of activities that the while family can participate in, but many of them can go beyond a game night. They can be played all day long! (Without having to stay home and sit at a table.)

Play Some Online Math Games

Playing some online math games can be fun for the kids. Sites like Funbrain Math Arcade have a great selection of free games.

By Carol Bainbridge
Carol Bainbridge has provided advice to parents of gifted children for decades, and was a member of the Indiana Association for the Gifted.