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Pros: Content about cultures from around the globe creates authentic problem-solving experiences.
Cons: It takes time to find the right story for a unit, and the text-heavy content may have high reading levels.
Bottom Line: An innovative math resource encourages authentic learning through global stories and connections.
Though Mathkind's goal is to improve math education, the resources are useful for building global awareness across the curriculum. Science teachers will find plenty of articles on ecological and environmental topics. Social studies and English teachers can also use these resources to enlighten students about world cultures or inspire students to write their own stories.
Mathkind's Global Math Stories is a good place to browse topics and ideas to jump-start an independent research project. If a story or math problem sparks interest, encourage students to dig down into the other resources. Encourage teams or individuals to research and write their own story. Once the story is complete, students can create math questions for their peers, and older kiddos can even create worksheets, slideshows, or other materials. Mathkind encourages users to submit their own stories for publication on their site. Perhaps your classroom's work will be added to the library, offering students an authentic audience.
In addition to the Global Math Stories program, Mathkind offers professional learning for teachers. There's a free online course called "Math 4 Antiracism," plus Mathkind organizes PD events like their Annual Math Education Conference in Guatemala. Teachers can sign up for the newsletter or contact Mathkind directly to get more involved in this global collaboration.
Formerly known as Teachers2Teachers Global Math Stories, Mathkind is an organization striving to create a more equitable world through top-quality math instruction. Mathkind provides in-person and online professional development and resources for teachers. The Global Math Stories Initiative (Math Mundial is the Spanish language version) is a collection of stories and explanations of culture from all over the globe that serve as a basis for varied math problems. These nonfiction articles -- often user-generated -- offer insight into people and places all over the world. Stories teach about culture, architecture, and ecology and include enough data to encourage interesting mathematical conversations. A handful of math questions follow each story and cover a variety of skills, along with more open-ended extension questions. These range from lesson materials and worksheets to slideshows. Many stories have additional resources, such as links to source articles, topic-specific websites, NPR or BBC stories, and related videos, which encourage students to continue the adventure and follow the information off the webpage. As Mathkind continues to grow its programs, there is an increased emphasis on social justice and anti-racism.
Math isn't everyone's favorite subject, but MathKind's global stories can hook history buffs, artistic thinkers, and the naturally curious. After reading these stories, students might begin to see that math doesn't happen only in textbooks, but exists as a useful tool to understand our world. Because the math that's covered is wide-ranging and goes beyond simple practice into critical thinking and application, it gives kids a different way to think about math. Some extensions even offer a chance to think about social justice and animal rights.
On the downside, it would be great if teachers could search by skill, concept, or reading level. Some of the reading levels seem a bit high when compared to the grade level specified by the lesson materials. Because content is evolving, some stories may have only a few resources or have content best fit for older students. But it's definitely worth a look as a way to get students to apply math, think in new ways, and build some global awareness at the same time.