An upcoming event hosted by the Florida State University Department of Mathematics plans to show local students and families that math + you = fun.
FSU will hold its ninth annual Math Fun Day to provide hands-on activities, presentations, exhibits, and demonstrations of mathematical concepts and how they play into our daily lives. This year’s event — from 1-5 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 3, at the Love Building on FSU’s main campus — will show the public how exciting learning about math can be.
“This event has become a popular family outing and is a wonderful opportunity for the community to experience the beauty and excitement of math,” said Math Fun Day director Monica Hurdal, who serves as associate chair of academic affairs and a professor of biomathematics in the department. “We want families and kids to experience the fun and beauty of mathematics and see that math is more than just worksheets and arithmetic.”
Math Fun Day is an open house-style event with activities geared to students grades K-12. Attendees can explore a range of topics set up in multiple classrooms, including fractals, math in nature, secret codes and puzzles, symmetry and patterns, and more. Students can create original origami models in a hands-on approach to geometry, solve interactive riddles and puzzles, explore an exhibit about the many contributions by women to the field of mathematics and visit with snails to see how their shells are mathematical marvels. More advanced topics will be presented for older students.
Nearly 50 FSU faculty, staff, and student volunteers have worked behind the scenes and will be on hand to engage with the community. Hands-on activities will be administered by faculty members.
“I’m looking forward to engaging with students of all ages during Math Fun Day,” said Wonmin Song, an undergraduate applied and computational mathematics major and returning Math Fun Day volunteer now serving on the organizational committee. “The event caters to younger kids through activities like exploring geometry in origami and learning artificial intelligence by drawing and training neural networks.”
Math Fun Day is free and open to the public, with activities available for students in grades K-12. Students in first grade and younger will benefit from parental assistance to get the most out of the day’s activities.
“People are always surprised to learn the different ways in which we use math and to what extent math appears in our daily lives.,” said Nicole Bruce, a biomathematics doctoral student and Math Fun Day volunteer. “Math isn’t always traditionally taught in the most engaging way in school, so it’s important for kids to see that math can be fun and that there are so many possibilities in the field of mathematics.”