Thousands Flock to 3rd Annual Math Fair to Experience the Beauty of Math on Saturday
Costa Mesa, Calif., Nov 8, 2016 Nearly 5,000 visitors flocked to the Math Fair, hosted by the social impact nonprofit MIND Research Institute and held at the OC Fair & Event Center, on Saturday November 5th. Children and their families experienced 24 mathematical exhibits and 37 performances and workshops. Sponsors of the free community event previewed the Fair on Friday, November 4th, at the Taste of Math fundraiser, which featured a mathematical culinary journey from notable chefs and restaurants.
A ribbon cutting ceremony kicked off the 2016 Math Fair and included remarks from Matthew Peterson, Ph.D., Co-founder and CEO of MIND Research Institute; Jeff Hittenberger, Ph.D., Chief Academic Officer of the Orange County Department of Education; Sandra Cervantes of Miniondas newspaper; community philanthropist Janet M. Ray; and Kathy Kramer, CEO, OC Fair & Event Center. Chris Hosford, Executive Director, Corporate Communications of Hyundai Motor America, one of the lead corporate sponsors for the Math Fair, also took part in the ribbon cutting.
“The Math Fair shows that if you provide rich, interactive experiences for children and families to explore the beauty and power of mathematics, they will engage in those opportunities,” said Matthew Peterson, Ph.D., MIND Research Institute. “We had families intending to pop in for an hour but they ended up staying all day because they were having so much fun learning math – that’s the world we strive to create for math education.”
The Math Fair featured exhibits for visitors of all ages over 52,000 square feet of fun. Activities included Math Mystery Theater performances that integrate audience participation and technology to problem-solve, 3D printed mathematical curiosities that kids love to touch and explore, a laser game that lets players use mirrors to discover symmetry and angles, a station for children to build their own games, the Lil’ Mathematician Zone designed to engage children 5 years old and under with stories and tactile games that parents can replicate at home, and much more.
“Math is critical to learning, providing students with the tools and higher order thinking needed for success in today’s workplace,” said Jeff Hittenberger, Ph.D., Chief Academic Officer of Orange County Department of Education. “The deep and engaging math experiences at the Math Fair show students and parents alike that math is exciting, and important.”
MIND Research Institute partnered with OCDE and numerous school districts across Southern California to get the word out about the Math Fair. Nine busses brought students and families from Anaheim, Santa Ana and Watts. In addition to thousands of Orange County attendees, visitors came from as far as Las Vegas to experience the Math Fair.
This year best-selling author and mathematician, Dr. Eugenia Cheng, entertained Math Fair visitors by introducing mathematics as powered by cooking. A University of Cambridge graduate, Dr. Cheng has been featured on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”. Additionally, chefs from Math Fair culinary partner Campbell Soup Company were on hand to demonstrate cooking through the lens of food ratios.
At the Friday preview “Taste of Math” fundraiser event, over 350 guests enjoyed mathematically-charged menu items created by 15 chefs and restaurants. Culinary partners included Villa Roma, Tacos & Co, Fuddruckers, The Dirty Cookie, Cielito Lindo, Le Petite Spoon, Crazy Rock’n Sushi, Mother’s Market & Kitchen, Campbell Soup Company, Zapien’s Salsa Grill & Taqueria, Spectra, SubZero, Cress Restaurant, High School Inc. and Pizzeria Mozza.
“All I can say is that we need more "Taste of Math" events around the country,” said Dr. and Chef Hari Pulapaka of Cress Restaurant and mathematics professor at Stetson University. “Taste of Math was a refreshing evening focused on improving the comprehension and appreciation of mathematics by all students and of all ages, achieved through the lens of food.”
Taste of Math also honored community leaders who have made a significant impact in math education. Honorees included Lisa Gonzales-Solomon, Principal of Madison Elementary in Santa Ana, and 2015 National Distinguished Principal; Fountain Valley-based Hyundai Motor America; and Marian Bergeson, the late former California Secretary of Education and MIND Research board member.
About MIND Research Institute MIND Research Institute is a neuroscience and education social impact organization, dedicated to ensuring that all students are mathematically equipped to solve the world’s most challenging problems. MIND's distinctive visual approach to math and problem-solving is the basis of its innovative, research-proven ST Math® programs for elementary and secondary schools. The visually-based ST Math program has been shown to double or triple schools’ growth rates in math proficiency. Through its MathMINDs movement, MIND engages the community in hands-on mathematical experiences outside of the classroom in an effort to shift the cultural perception of math from being scary and frustrating to exciting and essential. MIND's programs currently reach more than one million students and 44,000 teachers at 3,200 schools in 45 states and the District of Columbia. For more information, visit www.mindresearch.org.