What to Expect

Planning to attend the 2019 National Math Festival but need more information? We've got you covered!

What to Expect at the 2019 National Math Festival

What do you love? Whatever your interest, we’ve got the math for that. Film animation? Pro football? Magic? Music? Dating? Dance? Cryptography? Planet Earth? The Data Revolution? Check, check, check. Meet mathematicians eager to share their enthusiasm on these and many other topics! See the full schedule for details. (Coming soon.)

Adults, middle and high schoolers! At the National Math Festival, take in lectures by some of the most fascinating mathematicians of our time, immerse yourself in creative short films, browse literary events, and pick up math-related activities and fun for later exploration.

Elementary schoolers! At the National Math Festival, you will explore giant floor mazes, build a towering Fibonacci spiral out of mirrored metal tiles, put your game face on on to factor as you compete in the Flagway Games, try your hand at mathy puzzles, fold and wear your own mathematical art, and generally get your hands on math… get your eyes on math… get your whole body into math… in new and unexpected ways.

Preschoolers! For the littlest ones, there are dedicated PreK activities. You’ll be amazed at how much fun everyone is having, and how deep these simple-entry math activities will reach! Plus, we’ve seen toddlers really enjoy the activities marked “all ages.” Check the event schedule for details. (Coming soon.)

What’s New in 2019?

The Make or Take Spiral makes it easy to take the Festival home with you. Families, you asked for more make-and-take fun, and more activities you can do at home any day of the year…. Homeschool educators and K-12 teachers, you asked for ideas and resources…. We heard you!

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Film Room is expanded, with short Q&A sessions with filmmakers and short-film presenters. A full schedule will follow in Fall 2018.

The Mathical Reading Room offers a chance to browse all 50+ award-winning titles to date for ages 2-18, while accompanying author read-alouds span from Teens to PreK.

Additions, the shop at MoMath, returns to provide Festival-goers with even more mathy goodies, author book signings, and souvenirs for the entire family.

2019 Festival F.A.Q.

What is the National Math Festival?

The National Math Festival showcases the beauty, fun, and importance of mathematics in the world around us. We bring together some of today’s most fascinating mathematicians for presentations, performances, and hands-on events for adults and kids of all ages. Discover the delight and power of mathematics during this free public event on Saturday, May 4, 2019 from 10am to 4pm in Washington, D.C. 

Where does the 2019 National Math Festival take place?

The 2019 National Math Festival will take place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, located between 7th and 9th Streets and N Street and Mt. Vernon Place in downtown Washington, D.C., right across from Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square. The Convention Center is accessible by Metro (Yellow/Green line to Mt Vernon Square / 7th St-Convention Center), by car (over 3,000 parking spaces available nearby), or on foot.

While the Festival is centered in our nation’s capital, opportunities will exist for teachers, students, and parents to engage with the Festival online and in select museums across the country. Math lovers can find more resources to solve puzzles and explore the fun at More Math!

Do I have to pay to attend the 2019 National Math Festival?

No, the National Math Festival is free and open to the public!

What age tracks are available?

Teens, middle schoolers, and adults, come prepared to settle in with juicy, accessible, popular talks on playful mathematics and the math behind how the world works, creative short films, and book readings geared at high schoolers and middle schoolers. Elementary-age kids, come prepared to get your hands on math, with games, puzzles, demos, mathletic competitions, make-your-own wearable artwork, and much more! We have dedicated PreK activities for the littlest math lovers too.

Visit the event schedule (coming soon) to find more information on programs for different interests and ages.

How long should we plan to spend at the Festival?

Many folks stay all day; some report spending more than an hour working on a single puzzle, game, or other activity that really draws their attention. There is food for sale onsite, with other options within walking distance of the convention center.

Adults, middle schoolers, and teens: plan to stay all day if you can. Here’s a math problem for you: There are 15 unique presentations. Each is given twice. There are 5 sequential time blocks during the day (which means—you guessed it—we have 6 different presentations running at any given moment). If you attend a different presentation during each time block, what fraction of the talks will you get to see? Maybe you’ll stretch and pick one or two that are absolutely brand-new to you!

Plus, that’s not even counting all those short, creative films… let alone the “all-ages” interactive activities you’ll enjoy. Sure, they may be mobbed with younger kids, but you ought to know up front: they are designed to be intellectually challenging to adults, too! In short, we imagine you’ll have plenty to see and do.

Parents, if you bring elementary students, plan at least a few hours of fun—more if your child really disappears into activities they love! There are a couple of the presentations that are geared at elementary students (keep your eyes open for the ice cores talk and the magic show!) so check out the schedule, and plan ahead to see all you can.

If you bring a preschooler, a couple of hours is a safe bet—more if you like curling up with a book and reading out loud in the Mathical Reading Room to take a break from the large exhibit hall. There are dedicated activities for the littlest math lovers. In addition, rest assured many of the hands-on activities truly are accessible to all ages, as advertised!

How can I get more information about the 2019 National Math Festival?

Sign up for the National Math Festival email newsletter to get news alerts about featured events, guest speakers, math puzzles and resources, and more. You can also follow us on Twitter @natmathfestival. You can post your photos to our Facebook page and see photos on our Instagram, too.

How many people are expected to attend the 2019 National Math Festival?

In 2015 and 2017, more than 20,000 people each year joined the fun at the National Math Festival, and we’re excited to welcome even more math lovers to join us in 2019!

How can I get involved in or sponsor the 2019 National Math Festival?

For more information about sponsorship opportunities, contact James Sotiros, Interim Director of Development at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI), at jsotiros@msri.org.

Do you have a School Preview Day?

We hope to confirm plans soon for a School Preview Day on Friday, May 3, 2019. Please let us know if you would be interested by completing the Google Form on our School Preview Day page.

What accommodations are available for persons with disabilities?

At the National Math Festival, we are committed to providing equal access to events and activities for all participants, and we welcome guests with disabilities. Additional information about festival accommodations and access will be available in early 2019.