“Pop-up” Math Museum Comes to Chicago’s Navy Pier September 26

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The free event will bring fun and educational math games and workshops to Chicago families.

Chicago Math Fair makes math fun

Chicago Math Fair makes math fun

The goal of the Math Fair is to connect children and adults with the joy and beauty of mathematics.

On Saturday, September 26, Chicago children and their families will experience math as delightful and engaging, instead of scary and intimidating. The MIND Research Institute’s nationally touring “pop-up” math museum offers games, puzzles, theatrical performances, family workshops and more from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Navy Pier. Registration is free, and thousands are expected to attend.

“The City of Chicago is committed to providing our children with access to opportunities that will allow them to become lifelong learners both inside and outside of the classroom,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is serving as honorary chair of the Math Fair. “The Math Fair will provide thousands of children and families from across the city with access to activities that will keep our students engaged as they foster 21st century learning skills.”

In partnership with LEAP Innovations, MIND Research Institute’s Chicago Math Fair features exhibits for visitors of all ages in more than 56,000 square feet of fun. Activities include 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.

“We are thrilled to bring this innovative and inspiring event to Chicago to engage children and families in math,” said Phyllis Lockett, CEO of LEAP Innovations, which partnered with MIND to bring the fair to the Windy City. “This fall, LEAP will pilot math innovations in schools across Chicago, reaching more than 1,200 students. We’re committed to making sure all students have access to the 21st century skills they need, and math is fundamental.”

A new Math Fair exhibit debuting in Chicago, called South of the Sahara, celebrates the mathematical developments of early African civilizations. Visitors will explore logarithmic weaving, fractal geometry and ancient uses of binary numbers while discovering how math permeated the Sub-Saharan cultures through arts, games, home design and weaving.

“The goal of the Math Fair is to connect children and adults with the joy and beauty of mathematics,” said Matthew Peterson, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of the MIND Research Institute. “Our exhibits and games are designed to be both fun and challenging, so that children gain a deeper understanding of the math, but also leave with a thirst to learn more.”

The Math Fair is the brainchild of Peterson, who also created the ST Math® game-based learning program used by more than 22,000 children in Chicago-area schools. Students often call the program JiJi Math, a reference to the animated penguin whom they help to cross the screen by correctly solving math puzzles on computers or tablets. JiJi will be at the fair to meet fans.

Research shows that early math skills are the number one predictor of academic achievement, high school graduation and college matriculation. Inspiring a new generation to embrace math skills and become confident problem solvers has become a national education priority as fully 20 percent of all U.S. jobs require skills in at least one of the science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) fields. Sponsors of to this year’s fair include CME Group Foundation, IMC Financial Markets and the Chicago Sun-Times.

“Math education remains a critical need among American children, and a focus area for the CME Foundation’s early childhood education efforts,” said Kassie Davis, executive director of CME Group Foundation, the presenting sponsor of the Chicago Math Fair. “Meaningful experiences like the Math Fair, that allow kids to get hands on with math outside of their typical classroom format, are going to help to close the achievement gap for Chicago’s youth.”

Hundreds of corporate and individual volunteers will be on hand to interact with guests at each exhibit and facilitate learning experiences. Activities booklets at the fair will be provided to families with both English and Spanish explanations of the math concepts and exhibits. The day includes dual-language math workshops for parents to help their children with math homework, discover how math is everywhere around them, and learn how playing games at home can build math aptitude.

The fair will also celebrate the top math games submitted by students in the 2015 national K-12 Game-a-thon.

MIND Research Institute, a nonprofit social benefit organization, has focused on making math accessible and engaging for students since its inception in 1997. The national Math Fair is the cornerstone of the MathMINDs movement, which aims to shift the cultural perception of math from being scary and frustrating to exciting and essential. To do this, MathMINDs engages the community and students in hands-on mathematical experiences outside the classroom. These include math camps, math nights the national K-12 Game-a-thon, and other activities where students and families discover they are capable problem-solvers in a mathematical world.

Get updates on the Math Fair on Twitter at #MathFair15.

About Leap Innovations
Launched in spring 2014, LEAP Innovations bridges the gap between education and innovation for teachers and students in pre-K through college. The nonprofit helps educators reimagine school to personalize instruction based on each student’s skills, interests and goals, and helps bring technology into classrooms. Headquartered at 1871, Chicago’s incubator for digital startups, LEAP also helps companies address unmet needs in education. LEAP’s mission is to exponentially advance teaching and learning in and out of the classroom so all students have equal opportunity to reach their potential. For more, go to leapinnovations.org.

MIND Research Institute
MIND Research Institute is a neuroscience and education social benefit 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. MIND's programs currently reach 800,000 students and 31,000 teachers in 2,500 schools in 40 states. For more information, visit http://www.mindresearch.org.

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