The story-based approach
is an engaging and joyful math learning methodology.
Children learn by taking part in the adventures
through connected and meaningful engagement.
They problem-solve, do hands-on activities, and
play math games-- all of which are extensions of the stories.
Mathematical thinking is fueled by
the intersections of a child's background knowledge
and interactions with literary elements in the story.
understanding the story context, empathy for the characters,
and helping move the action forward.
In a multicultural environment, with children from different cultures,
math learning is intercultural.
Embedded math ideas
guide conceptual math understanding and applications.
While reading the story, they figure out solutions
and learn mathematical expressions.
With math feeling more like interacting with an adventure story,
children learn by exploring multiple possibilities,
without fear of making mistakes.
The young learners make sense of situations and problems
likened to young mathematicians.
Children develop confidence in their mathematical abilities
and enjoy math learning.
We want children to have better math learning experiences
Math test results reviewed by U.S. and
international math assessment specialists
reveal flaws in U.S. Math Education
Citing assessment questions and answers analyzed by TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study), experts explain, students that learn through memorizing, get low scores in international and national tests in math problems because they lack conceptual understanding of number, sets, operations, and solving for unknown values.
Learning through rote and memorization reduces true mathematical understanding. Worksheets waste students’ time with mechanical and repetitive equations without contexts and purpose. The NCTM (National Council of Teachers in Mathematics) explains how these types of math tasks diminish young learners opportunities to learn algebraic thinking and generalizing, and more importantly, reduces the joy of math learning.
Let's reinvent math learning
to free children's minds
so they can "think and enjoy math!"
What is a Math Storyteller?
People who who read, write, and/or perform stories are storytellers. If you are a parent and you have read to your child, you are a storyteller. If you are a teacher and you read stories in your classroom, you are a storyteller. If you teach an after school program and read stories to children, you are a storyteller. People who read and share stories with adults are also storytellers. WE are ALL storytellers.
A Math Storyteller is like a any storyteller. The difference is in how one engages children in learning math through the story. We thought it would be easy to get parents and teachers to take interest in math stories. But this was not the case in the beginning.
When we mentioned "math" stories, with parents and teachers who were not confident in their math abilities, we were surprised on various occasions by our observations. For the most, the topic made them feel uncomfortable. Parents and teachers did not explicitly state that they did not feel good about their abilities in math. However, when we asked them to read a few pages of the books, their eyes lit up, A few times parents said "The concept equal was never explained to us in class, we were just expected to know it was part of an equation." "I wish I had these books when I was in primary school. I would have understood math more."
Some of the teachers we worked with as part of the field studies of the picture books were very surprised at how their students took to the math ideas and solved the problems without giving up. "I was so happily surprised at how the students learned the math concepts they struggled with for a whole semester, and all in one story." Another teacher noticed how her students were so engaged in reading the stories and doing the math activities without much prodding on her part. "It felt like a different class."
Most important have been the reactions of young learners. "It doesn't feel like math class!" "Please don't tell us you don't have anymore stories." "We love math!" "Can we bring the picture books home to share with our families?" This was a particularly interesting question when compared to children's resistance to completing traditional math homework.
For us at MathXplorers, we define a Math Storyteller in the context of our goal to reinvent math learning and in consideration of the research on how children learn best.
Become A MathXplorers Storyteller
Read-aloud math stories.
When reading, connect the story to what matters to children.
The story is a teaching resource and methodology
that provides the combined
emotional, intellectual, and imaginative learning stimuli
that make math ideas come alive.
The scenarios, characters, and narratives simulate
everyday real-world life, school, and work.
Interlaced in the events and fueling challenges
are math ideas.
These are foundational elements,
generalizations, and crosscutting concepts
that children understand because they impact the story.
Furthermore, by answering the prompts, helping the characters,
playing the math games, and working on design projects,
math learning fun and fulfilling
because the ideas connect to the stories.
By engaging, children get to express their ideas too.
Rooted in research, the story-based activities
make it possible for children to learn best
as they construct their math knowledge.
Most importantly, math learning is not in a vacuum.
It is situated in a community of multicultural hearts and minds.
Children whose families represent multiple cultures
and are interacting in intercultural ways
with their peers and teachers.
They are practicing social civility, collaboration,
and enriching learning.
The characters in the story represent
hybrid races of the modern world.
MathXplorers Math Storytellers celebrate the wealth of diversity.
What do you need to know?
Learn as you read and work with children.
Observe and document their reactions.
What did you learn about the children?
Find ways to build on their strengths
and support their challenges.
Engage in mathematical thinking.
What does this mean?
The books have prompts
that guide sense making and reasoning.
Acknowledge the effort the child puts in the work.
Keep it fun.
How do you start?
Become a partner Math Storyteller!
Fill the form below to request for your free book/box.
You will have to pay for US shipping $4.
International requests will have to pay international rates.
You will also get access to the downloadable
The Math Storytellers' Community
Our goals in creating the Math Storyteller's Community are:
(1) Promote the use of storytelling in math learning.
(2) Deepen the community's collective understanding on how
children learn math through stories. Learn from fellow storytellers
and share your own observations as a Math Storyteller on how
children respond to math story teaching and learning
experiences. How is this way of learning evolving the way they
perceive math learning, and math ideas and applications?
(3) Showcase different ways by which Math Storytellers are able to
engage children in learning math concepts and processes
through math sense making and reasoning activities.
(4) Provide members opportunities to develop math story products
(5) For members to help members teach with Math Stories.
How can you join?
Support the goals of the Math Storytellers' Community
and agree to the community rules.
As a community member, you agree to:
maintain civility and camaraderie.
Share your experiences and reflections
about working with children
using MathXplorers Math Stories and activities.
The Community user interface will be available
both in Facebook and on this website soon.