The traveling exhibit “2the Xtreme: Math Alive!” made its debut at The Perot Museum of Nature and Science in September and continues through Jan. 4.
The exhibit brings math to life in everyday ways.
Guests can engage in more than 50,000 square feet of math adventures, including riding a snowboard, creating a video game, or designing a skyscraper.
The exhibit is an effort to increase student interest in mathematics for second through sixth grades.
Presented locally by St. Phillip’s School and Episcopal School of Dallas, the exhibit sparked a crusade to declare November as “Math Rocks” Month in Dallas.
Students from both schools proposed the idea through letters, poems, and other creations hand-delivered to Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, explaining why math was important in their lives.
“We went to his office, which was quite exciting for the boys and girls,” said Zora Skelton, a third and fourth grade math enrichment teacher at the Episcopal Lower School.
The proposal was met with great enthusiasm and was presented at an October city council meeting.
A special ceremony and proclamation allowed students to see the process firsthand and celebrate the results of their hard work.
The exhibit sparked the idea for “Math Rocks” Month. When ESD teachers took their students to the exhibit, it was clear they had experienced something special.
“We took all of our fourth and fifth graders down,” Skelton said. “They were so captivated, they didn’t want to leave.”
The hands-on displays and activities create a world in which students can actively see, touch and hear the math that makes up their world.
“One of the really neat things about this program is that the mathematics is made meaningful and relevant to the students,” said Reid Prichett, ESD assistant head of school for learning and teaching. “They can see that they are thinking mathematically, whether they realize it or not.”
The students aren’t the only ones who’ve benefited from the Perot’s exhibit and “Math Rocks” Month. Teachers have also seized the unique learning opportunity.
“The teachers are working together as well with bringing abstract mathematical concepts into the real world,” Prichett said. “That was really exciting for us to be part of that learning and be able to bring that back to students’ classrooms.”