The calendar is filled with holidays celebrating Math. There’s Pi Day on March 14, Fibonacci Day on November 23, and the next Pythagorean Theorem Day on August 15, 2017. In fact, our calendar system, with the inclusion of a Leap Day every four years, is a mathematical accomplishment in itself.
But, have you ever heard of Math Storytelling Day? This quirky holiday occurs every year on September 25th.
Math Storytelling Day encourages students to engage with math by creating and sharing math stories, problems, and games. As math is too often stigmatized as just a dry practice of equations, Math Storytelling Day weaves together numbers and words. For students who are more inclined towards English or history class, this holiday encourages them to use their wordsmithing skills in math class. For students who need another way to look at a particular concept, this holiday provides that outlet. For example, just see how effectively this video uses a folktale to explain the concept of exponential growth.
Here at Knowre, we love math stories! That’s why we begin each lesson with a comic that gives a storied context to what the student will learn in that lesson. For Math Storytelling Day, we gathered a few of our favorite Knowre comics and removed all the text from them.
You can use these blank comics in class to celebrate Math Storytelling Day in a variety of ways. Here are some suggestions:
- Fill in the Blank: Based on the real-world situation illustrated in the comic, have your students fill in the dialogue that will create a solvable problem in the last panel. You can tell your students to write problems based on what you’re currently teaching in class. Or, give a bit more leeway by using this an opportunity to review previous taught concepts and skills. Have your students swap comics and solve each other’s problems
- Working Backwards: Assign each student a different problem or equation. Then, challenge your students to fill in the blank comic with the necessary information needed to produce that equation. Collect the comics and redistribute them. Based on the information in the comic, can the student reproduce the originally assigned problem or equation? If not, have the original author troubleshoot his/her choice of words.
- Missing Information: In a previous blog, we discussed Dan Meyer’s method of Patient Problem Solving. Dan rebuilds problems from his textbook, removing provided sub-steps and information from the initial presentation of the problem in order to challenge students to figure out how to answer the question at hand. Using the blank comics, fill in the first panel’s dialogue and present a problem in the last panel. Have your students discuss how to get from the first to last panel with just the information provided. What information do they need to know? What would be extraneous?