Abstract / Synopsis

Not everyone is a great artist, but we don’t often hear, “I dislike art.” Most people are able to appreciate visual arts, music and sports, without necessarily excelling in it themselves. On the other hand, the phrase “I dislike math” is widely prevalent. This is especially ironic in our current society, where mathematics affects our day-to-day activities in essential ways such as e-commerce and e-mail. This paper describes the opportunity to popularize mathematics by focusing on its fun and creative aspects, and illustrates this opportunity through a brief discussion of interdisciplinary topics that expose the beauty, elegance and value of mathematics within and beyond the typical K-16 curriculum. We share practical outreach methods inspired by real, fun mathematics, and our experience with a liberal-arts ‘math for poets’ course which aims to develop math appreciation without losing its rigor or depth. While many of us are not comfortable doing live performances or making fancy videos, we all can use these methods to encourage a more positive mindset about mathematics in our communities.

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