Kids explore math through Geometiles at the National Math Festival

On May 4, 2019, the biannual National Math Festival took place in Washington, D.C. I was fortunate to host a large area with Geometiles as part of the National Museum of Mathematics exhibit. There were about 12,000 attendees at the festival, and our tables were full of people for the entire duration of the festival (actually, past closing time… the security guard had to ask families to go home).

To be in the nation’s capital, surrounded by dozens of cultures and languages, all there because of a desire to explore math in a playful way, was an experience like no other.  I was touched that so many people volunteered to make this event possible: from high school students, to teachers, to professors, to retirees. These pictures, taken mostly by Zdenka Guadarrama, tell some of the stories better than words.


We set the mood the day before the festival by building a (not quite lifesize) model of the US Capitol made of glow-in-the-dark Geometiles.
Getting warmed up for the joyful madness about to ensue. That’s me in the yellow shirt helping a 5 year old girl build a cube. P.C. Sheri Singer.













The US Capitol was promptly destroyed by a toddler. Luckily, a boy offered me his help in rebuilding it.
The girl in the yellow jacket is building a barn in which she plans to store the pentagonal prism built by her cousin, sitting next to her.




Our table starts getting really popular!
… as is our other table. Loving the balloon tetrahedron headdress on that dad!
Some kids have realized that they can expand their creations to the floor.
So grateful for Zdenka Guadarrama’s help with running the tables! That’s her in her new hat.




















This boy has also discovered that Geometiles hats never go out of style.
These brothers made a hat for their snowman, and a scarf too! Gotta be prepared for that late spring snow storm.









Bjoern Muetzel was wowing everyone with a Geometiles dodecahedron to which he attached mirrors.
They couldn’t leave without building their own version of the US Capitol!

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