By Lina Younes
Ever since my children were young, I tried to instill in them a love for math and science. So, when I saw the news of a new exhibit in the Washington area entitled “MathAlive,” it definitely became part of my “must see” list. Of course, I didn’t mention the title right off the bat. In fact, I told my youngest: “Let’s go see this new exhibit that has interactive snowboarding and you can also invite a friend.” She eagerly said yes to my suggestion. Although, the description pointed out that the exhibit had been designed mostly for middle-schoolers, I decided to take my chances. There were many activities for children of all ages.
The exhibit with interactive displays in English and Spanish included various hands-on-activities that clearly showed how math is an integral part of our daily life. From cooking, to music, sports, construction, transportation, built environments and nature, math is literally everywhere. As part of the exhibit, children were able to conduct some virtual “water testing” using math to determine if water bodies where safe to swim in. Using math, children saw the direct correlation between contaminants and water conditions. There were similar experiments regarding air quality and other environmental issues. There were other areas focusing on robotics and space exploration.
While children may not have grasped all the math concepts in one visit, I think the exhibit definitely showed how learning about math can be a positive and entertaining experience. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the exhibit again. MathAlive will also be traveling to other cities in the United States throughout the year. Hope you have the opportunity to see it, too. Hope you’ll share your experiences with us.
About the author: Lina Younes is the Multilingual Outreach and Communications Liaison for EPA. Among her duties, she’s responsible for outreach to Hispanic organizations and media. She spearheaded the team that recently launched EPA’s new Spanish website, www.epa.gov/espanol . She manages EPA’s social media efforts in Spanish. She’s currently the editor of EPA’s new Spanish blog, Conversando acerca de nuestro medio ambiente. Prior to joining the agency, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and an international radio broadcaster. She has held other positions in and out of the Federal Government.