Experience Math: Chicago, Here We Come! 

A Conversation with Illinois Secretary of Education Beth Purvis

Starting math students off strong

Here at the MIND Research Institute, we believe that mathematics, problem solving and critical-thinking skills are at the core of innovation. Not only does the 21st century workforce require math skills for success, but we use math in everyday life. To drive progress both as individuals and as a society, we need to take math beyond the classroom.

Connecting mathematical concepts to memorable experiences at an early age encourages curiosity, eliminates fear and supports a love of problem solving and critical thinking. We have to spark passion and intrigue at an early age and ensure that kids and families have the opportunity to experience math in exciting and memorable ways.


Early education in Illinois

Governor Rauner and the state of Illinois understand the importance of early learning experiences. Even in a time of economic crisis, they have increased funding for early childhood education by $25 million dollars. They also understand that it is important not to emphasize formal educational experiences over the home environment.

Illinois Secretary of Education, Beth Purvis explains, “Family members are the most important teachers of young children. As a community, having extended conversations with a child about the world around them, reading, singing songs, and playing simple games are incredibly important to building the literacy and numeracy skills of every child.”

This year, for our annual Math Fair: At the Square Root of Fun, we are headed to Chicago. In preparation for the event we were able to connect with Purvis on some hopes for early education in Illinois.

“The goal of Governor Rauner is that every scholar in Illinois completes his or her post-secondary experience ready to be an engaged citizen with a meaningful and rewarding career,” says Secretary Purvis. “To accomplish that mission, we need to ensure that at every step from cradle-to-career families have high-quality options from which to choose. If we achieve the Governor’s mission, we can rebuild our state to one of growth and prosperity. We owe a bright future to all of the children in our state, and that starts with ensuring every child has access to high-quality early childhood education options.”


Second Annual Math Fair: At the Square Root of Fun

Chicago is the home for MIND Research Institute’s second annual Math Fair: At the Square Root of Fun! This free, family-fun event will excite young minds as they interact with mathematically-themed activities, games, exhibits and performances. Perfect for all ages, Math Fair visitors will experience the beauty and power of mathematics while problem-solving.

early learners solve puzzles at the math fair

We are excited to have the secretary at this year’s Math Fair and we are thrilled to share our love of mathematics with the families of Chicago. We asked Secretary Purvis about how the Math Fair will have an effect on children and Illinois, and she states, “The jobs of the 21st century require numeracy skills more than at any time in history. We need Illinois children to get excited and interested in math and science. The Math Fair will help students recognize the “magic” in math and hopefully begin an interest in learning how to apply math skills in fun and interesting ways. I have no doubt that among the math fair participants is a child who will someday create a medicine that will save lives, a technology that will change our daily routine, or a game that bring us great joy!”


The Second Annual Math Fair is part of MathMINDs, a movement to shift the cultural perception of math from being scary and frustrating to exciting and essential. MathMINDs engages the community and students in hands-on mathematical experiences outside of the classroom. To learn more and join the movement, sign up for MathMINDs updates!


Brie Albert

About the Author

Brienne is a Director of Education Success and former Elementary School Teacher. She speaks on behalf of the MIND Research Institute across the country to illuminate the power and necessity of neuroscience-based, interactive math software that is designed to teach all students how math really works.


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