Robin + Idea = Book

Her mission: make math fun for kids

by Jennifer Retter

Robin A. Ward, Ph.D., knows a little something about teaching math. Her new book, Math + Art = Fun, makes math manageable for kids.
You studied math education. Why did you choose to incorporate art in this book? If you look at the elements of art (lines, forms, shapes), these are all concepts that are used in a math classroom. Unfortunately, arts are being excluded from the public school curriculum. It’s important for educators to integrate the arts back into our teaching.
What can children learn from your book that they can’t from a traditional math lesson? First and foremost, math really can be fun. Too often when math is taught, it’s a lot of “chalk talk,” meaning the teacher is up at the board writing symbols and using difficult vocabulary. By bringing the visual arts into the classroom, it just enhances a child’s opportunity to see mathematics in a different lens. They see its relevance, meaning and applicability by seeing it in other content areas, such as art.
Do you have any advice for parents whose children struggle with math? It’s important to show that math isn’t just about numbers. Children can gain confidence in their math skills by creating these works of art and then apply the mathematics.