2019 Festival Make or Take Spiral | National Math Festival
People participating in the "Make or Take Spiral"

2019 Festival Make or Take Spiral

Saturday May 4, 2019 from 10:00am - 4:00pm ET

Take the Festival home—or back to your classroom! Get connected to local and national math clubs, online resources, and inspiration of varied shapes and sizes. This is for you: families with kids of all ages, mathematics educators, and crafty hands-on types who want to make something and take it home with them!

Art of Problem Solving

Explore the mathematical mystery of the Moebius Strip! Come make your own strip and take a list of exciting Moebius Strip activities to do with your friends or classmates back home. Also, don’t miss your chance to explore the some of the intriguing math resources designed by the Art of Problem Solving.

Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM)

Come meet some members of the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM), get information about how we can support your budding mathematician, and learn some cool math! AWM actively works to change the narrative around mathematics, making sure there is a place for everyone at the table. The activity is well-suited for any child ages eight and up.

DC Area Math Circles: Chesapeake Math Program

Open to students in Maryland, DC, and northern Virginia, the Chesapeake Math Program spans opportunities from elementary through high school. Students from public, private, and charter schools are welcome. Learn more about the group, as well as about other fun and useful math opportunities including Math Counts, and local tutoring resources.

DC Area Math Circles: DC Math Circle

The DC Math Circle, directed by American University faculty, is on the informal side of things, avoiding traditional classroom formats, examinations, and preparation for competitions in favor of fun and the richness of mathematical discovery! Our program, for 5th through 8th graders, features weekly evening lessons by a variety of in-house instructors and special guest speakers.

DC Area Math Circles: Fairfax Math Circle

Origami activities will explore small, intriguing constructions for students to build and take. These will be appropriate for a large range of students as there are simpler and more complex objects to create. We welcome teachers also. The Fairfax Math Circle is open to middle and high school students; see our website for more details.

DC Area Math Circles: Southern Maryland Math Circle

Come make a hexaflexagon! Hexaflexagons are wonderful tactile paper toys that flex to transition between colorful states, and lead to interesting mathematical puzzles. This activity is appropriate for adults, teachers, and kids age 10 and up. The Southern Maryland Math Circle meets at the Lexington Park Library with fun math activities for middle school and high school students and their parents.

DREME (Development and Research in Early Math Education)

Stop by and visit the DREME Network to practice loving math with your toddler!

  • Intentionality Bowl: Parents gain experience with seizing opportunities to engage in math during everyday routines and activities.
  • Doing Math the Mayan Way: Parents will help children recognize, count, or perform operations using the Mayan numeric system. They will leave with an appreciation of the Mayan culture whose people invented the number 0 and developed an intricate mathematical system, and with a simple fun learning activity that they could do easily do at home with their children using everyday objects.
  • Storybook Activities: Parents and children will play activities (based on content from storybooks) that help them practice their math skills.
  • Exploring Math With Paper: Fold Math Into Your Day: Families will engage in spatial thinking and language through origami and making symmetrical designs by folding paper.
  • Card Games: Families will learn some math games they can play with a simple deck of playing cards. We will also have materials from our cooking and math project available.
  • General Information and Resources: This table will serve as an introduction to our work, an opportunity to sign up for our mailing list, and to take some resources designed for teachers.

Erikson Early Math Collaborative

Come and see how simple-to-make dot cards can be used in a variety of games to promote early number sense. Make a set to take and play with the preschooler/kindergartener in your life. The Erikson Institute Early Math Collaborative will have video examples and handouts to share with early childhood teachers and parents.

Ithaca College Department of Mathematics and Marymount University Department of Mathematics

Everybody loves balloons—and Geometric Balloon Bending! Come enjoy learning more about Platonic solids, including cubes and tetrahedrons with the Ithaca College Department of Mathematics and Marymount University… and wear one home!

Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival

The Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival will also offer take home puzzle booklets and other game-based resources for all ages and levels of challenge!

Math Maypole Dance with Nancy Scherich

Maypole dancing meets mathematical patterning—come join the dance! Mathematician and dancer Nancy Scherich will lead this event for ages 8 and up. Participants will weave ribbons into beautiful and mathematically interesting designs. Start your day at the Festival with this full-body, full-color activity that will get your creative juices flowing.

To participate in making the maypole, come promptly at 10am. Later in the day the Math Maypole will remain on display for all to enjoy.

Math Monday

Want to make math games a weekly club or lunchtime event at your school? Come meet Scott Kim and check out his online resources for starting a Math Monday club at your school. And while you’re exploring his site, take note of all the cool math games and puzzles he recommends!

Mathematical Association of America (MAA)

Join the mathematicians of the Mathematical Association of America to learn about the MAA American Mathematics Competitions (AMC) and the first place US International Mathematical Olympiad team. Teachers, check out Curriculum Inspirations led by MAA’s Mathematician-at-Large, Dr. James Tanton, and make sure to catch his talk at the 2019 NMF on “How Many Degrees are in a Martian Circle?” at 10:15am and repeated at 2:00pm. Activities are aimed at the middle school and high school communities. Learn more at maa.org/amc.

Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI)

Try your hand at Super-Cube Shuffle and Factor Forts, learn about Crazy 8’s Math Clubs, take home Math at Home booklets from the California Math Council, and learn about MSRI’s Public Understanding of Math programs: face to face, online, books, movies, and more!

National Association of Mathematicians (NAM) & the Benjamin Banneker Association

Come learn more about the African-American contribution to mathematics with hands-on activities organized by the National Association of Mathematicians (NAM) and the Benjamin Banneker Association. Create parts of 17th century surveyor, naturalist, and farmer Benjamin Banneker’s Almanac and share your creations via photos on the BBA and NAM websites!

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)

What do bears in a boat have to do with mathematics? Come see the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics to find out. If you teach math, you’ll love NCTM!

Natural Math

You’ve heard about hands-on math. Now get ready for math on your hands! Model the hardest quarter of the times tables, from 6×6 to 10×10, using your fingers and this early algebra trick even a five-year-old can learn.


Experience the latest in science games, interactives, and immersive virtual reality produced by NOVA, the most-watched science documentary series on American television. Navigate the cosmos in our latest astrophysics game, use the periodic table to build molecular compounds, and learn how NASA scientists collect data about Greenland’s disappearing glaciers in NOVA’s digital activities for teens.

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Come visit the National Science Foundation! Adults: Pick up an NSF Passport, learn about the NSF support behind the 2019 National Math Festival presentations, collect passport stamps, and enter to win a tablet computer! Kids: Take an NSF Activity Book with you, complete the challenges, and bring it back; the first 50 completed entries will win a free Foldscope 140X, 2 micron resolution microscope! Did you miss the NSF We Are Mathematics video competition winners in the Film Room? Come see the film loop! Curious about the NSF? Chat, take a selfie, or do a photo shoot with some of our NSF math crew!

ThinkFun Games

ThinkFun will be bringing between 4-6 interactive games opened and available to be played during festival hours. ThinkFun will also have flyers available for pickup advertising their educators’ discount as well as their Math Dice Program. ThinkFun is the world’s leader in addictively fun games that stretch and sharpen your mind. The intended audience for the games will be for kids that range from ages 5-8 and up. The flyers for pickup will be intended for educators and teachers.


Share the joy of early math learning with your preschoolers while playing new math apps and activities! Tablets will be provided, and you can also take activities home and download the free apps on your own devices. Preschoolers, parents, and early childhood teachers will all enjoy! These apps and activities were made by WGBH and showcase public media’s pioneering research and development on how to best use tablet technology for early math learning.

The Young People’s Project

Come play the Flagway™ Game—a mathematical sport! Stop by The Young People’s Project and find out how you can get involved in the math literacy movement near you.

Hall D and Hallways of Level 2, Walter E. Washington Convention Center

Age Level



Art of Problem Solving

Art of Problem Solving textbooks have been used by outstanding students since 1993. The AoPS website launched in 2003, and its online community now has over 300,000 members. Many of the winners of each year’s International Math Olympiad use the AoPS site as a primary training resource. The AoPS online school has over 15,000 enrollments annually in courses specifically designed for high-... Learn more

Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM)

The Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) encourages women and girls to study and to have active careers in the mathematical sciences, and promotes equal opportunity and the equal treatment of women and girls in the mathematical sciences. AWM has more than 3,000 members (women and men) representing a broad spectrum of the mathematical community — from the United States and around the... Learn more

Chesapeake Math Program (CMP)

Open to students in Maryland, DC, and northern Virginia, the Chesapeake Math Program spans opportunities from elementary through high school. Students from public, private, and charter schools are welcome. Learn more

DC Math Circle

The DC Math Circle, directed by American University faculty, is on the informal side of things, avoiding traditional classroom formats, examinations, and preparation for competitions in favor of fun and the richness of mathematical discovery! Our program, for 5th through 8th graders, features weekly evening lessons by a variety of in-house instructors and special guest speakers. Learn more

Dr. Scott Kim

Puzzles are to math what stories are to language, says noted puzzle designer, author, and mathematical artist Dr. Scott Kim. His first book, Inversions, introduced the world to ambigrams — words written symmetrically so they read upside down. His mathematical art appears in many math textbooks. His puzzles have appeared in numerous magazines, including Scientific American and ... Learn more

DREME Network

The DREME Network includes early childhood departments at Boston College, Columbia University Teachers College, New York University, San Francisco State University, the University of Chicago, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Wisconsin. Funding for the DREME Network is provided by the Heising-Simons Foundation. Learn more

Erikson Institute Early Math Collaborative

The Early Math Collaborative at Erikson Institute strives to help everyone—teachers, caregivers, families, school leaders, teacher educators, and researchers—work together to improve math opportunities for young children. Together, we are transforming the understanding, teaching and learning of early mathematics from the ground up. Visit us as earlymath.... Learn more

Fairfax Math Circle (FMC)

The Fairfax Math Circle is open to middle and high school students; see www.fairfax-mathcircle.org for more details. Learn more

Ithaca College

Department of Mathematics Ithaca College, a comprehensive residential campus community of 7,000 students in the Finger Lakes region of New York, offers a learning experience that combines the best of the liberal arts and professional education. The Department of Mathematics provides flexible degree... Learn more

Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival

The Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival has been supporting fun math events for over a decade all over the world. JRMF's mission is to inspire the next generation of problem solvers with joyful, collaborative mathematics. Prior to COVID, JRMF supported hosts in setting up and running in-person math festivals, where students have agency to explore a wide variety of hands-on activities led by... Learn more

Mary Chrestenson-Becker

Mary Chrestenson-Becker is a math tutor and an origami teacher. She has been conducting origami classes and workshops in schools and at events for the past 25 years. She enjoys the connections between origami and geometry. She works as a self-employed math tutor. In addition to inspiring confidence in her students she strives to help them understand, appreciate, and enjoy math. She has a BA in... Learn more

Marymount University

Department of Mathematics At Marymount University (MU), the mathematics department is committed to help you discover the beauty of mathematics and how it can shape the world around us. Our current mathematics faculty are Dr. Will Heuett, Dr. Danielle O’Donnol, Dr. Laurie Lenz, Dr. Alice Petillo, and Dr. Jacquelyn Rische. Marymount students have been volunteering at the... Learn more

Math Monday

Math Monday is a weekly drop-in lunchtime activity where students of all ages can get hands on with math games, puzzles and manipulatives that help build their math skills. To learn how to start a Math Monday event at your school, visit mathmonday.net. Learn more

Mathematical Association of America (MAA)

The Mathematical Association of America is the world’s largest community of mathematicians, students, and enthusiasts. MAA furthers the understanding of our world through mathematics because mathematics drives society and shapes our lives. MAA members include university, college, and high school teachers; graduate and undergraduate students; pure and applied mathematicians; computer scientists... Learn more

Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI)

The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) is one of the world’s preeminent centers for collaborative research in mathematics. Located in Berkeley, California, MSRI’s mission is to advance mathematical research, foster talent, and further the appreciation of mathematics. MSRI strives to make mathematics accessible and exciting to those outside the field through the National... Learn more

Nancy Scherich

Nancy Scherich is a graduate student at the University of California, Santa Barbara working on her Ph.D. in mathematics. She has been a dancer for her entire life, and recently she has decided to mix her passions of math and dance together. In addition to her research, she creates Math-Dance productions using dance to illustrate the beauty of higher mathematics. 2019... Learn more

National Association of Mathematicians (NAM)

The National Association of Mathematicians (NAM) is a non-profit professional organization in the mathematical sciences with membership open to all persons interested in the mission and purpose of NAM which are promoting excellence in the mathematical sciences and promoting the mathematical development of all underrepresented minorities. Learn more

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) is the public voice of mathematics education, supporting teachers to ensure equitable mathematics learning of the highest quality for all students through vision, leadership, professional development, and research.  Founded in 1920, NCTM is the world’s largest mathematics education organization, with 90,000 members and more than 230... Learn more

National Science Foundation (NSF)

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is the only federal agency tasked with keeping the United States at the leading edge of discovery in all fields of fundamental science and engineering, from astronomy to mathematics to zoology. In addition to funding research and education in traditional academic areas, the agency also supports “high risk, high pay off” ideas, novel collaborations, and... Learn more

Natural Math

Natural Math places the maker approach at the center of its mathematics education philosophy. Our motto: “Math is what you make it.” Our goal is to make advanced mathematics accessible to everyone in kind ways. For example, families with toddlers do projects on symmetry and tessellations, four-year-olds design function machines, and six-year-olds build fractal models of... Learn more

NOVA Education

NOVA Education creates and curates free multimedia STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) resources and events that leverage content from the PBS science documentary series NOVA. NOVA Education aims to empower educators, youth, and lifelong learners by fostering curiosity in the sciences, promoting inclusive science communication, and amplifying the voices of the... Learn more

Rebin Muhammad

Rebin Muhammad was born in Kurdistan of Iraq and is a Ph.D. candidate at Ohio University. He developed an interest in Islamic Geometric Patterns (IGP) after discovering the work of Instagram artists who specialize in IGP. He never studied art, but these artists inspired him to create artwork based on IGP. When he began creating IGP, his interest was personal, but as his involvement deepened,... Learn more

Southern Maryland Math Circle

The Southern Maryland Math Circle meets at the Lexington Park Library with fun math activities for middle school and high school students and their parents. 2019 Festival: Make or Take Spiral Come make a hexaflexagon! Hexaflexagons are wonderful... Learn more

The Young People’s Project (YPP)

The Young People’s Project (YPP) brings together middle school students and high school mentors to celebrate, encourage, and motivate mathematical learning. Our focus is around Math Literacy, Near-Peer Mentorship, and Social Justice. YPP trains high school students, and then employs them as Math Literacy Workers, to develop interactive games to improve their own math literacy... Learn more


Children love ThinkFun’s award-winning games, mobile apps, brainteasers, and logic puzzles, available online and through major retailers in 60 countries worldwide. ThinkFun aims to be the spark that ignites young minds by translating the brilliant ideas of mathematicians, engineers, and inventors into addictively fun educational games that teach 21st century thinking skills and make learning... Learn more


GBH is the leading multiplatform creator for public media in America. As the largest producer of content for PBS and partner to NPR and PRX, GBH delivers compelling experiences, stories and information to audiences wherever they are. Headquartered in Boston, GBH has been recognized with hundreds of the nation’s premier broadcast, digital and journalism awards. Find more information at wgbh.org... Learn more