Recommendations for Integrating Mathematics into Making and Tinkering Experiences

March 28th, 2016 | RESEARCH

Making, tinkering, and other informal design and engineering experiences offer rich opportunities to engage
children and adults in mathematics and build mathematical skills, knowledge, and interests. But how can educators
successfully integrate mathematics into these experiences? One approach to answering this question is to better understand how children and adults engage with and think about mathematics outside of school, in every day and informal learning environments. As part of the NSF-funded Math in
the Making project, Pattison, Rubin, and Wright (2016) synthesized the research on everyday and informal mathematics
from the last several decades. The literature summary affirmed that children and adults regularly engage in mathematical
thinking and reasoning outside of school. The summary also highlighted how this thinking often looks very different from
classroom mathematics, is driven by different goals and motivations, and may go largely unrecognized as mathematical, by
both educators and learners. Building on these findings, below we outline a series of recommendations for educators interested in leveraging
the unique characteristics of everyday and informal math in order to successfully integrate mathematics into making and
tinkering experiences. These recommendations will hopefully serve as useful and practical guidance for educators, as well
as a foundation for much-needed research on mathematics in designed informal learning environments.



Team Members

Scott Pattison, Author, Institute for Learning Innovation
Andee Rubin, Author, TERC Inc.
Tracey Wright, Author, TERC Inc.


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: AISL
Award Number: 1514726

Related URLs

CIMBLE: Conference on Integrating Math into Informal Building Learning Environments (Math in the Making)


Audience: Educators | Teachers | Evaluators | General Public | Learning Researchers | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Mathematics
Resource Type: Reference Materials
Environment Type: Conferences | Making and Tinkering Programs | Professional Development | Conferences | Networks | Public Programs