Research Ideas


Mathematics (funded by SSHRC + Fields)

  1. Infinity in my hand (gr. 3: fractions, infinity, limit)
  2. Making sums of 10 (gr. 3-4: patterning, linear functions)
  3. How to fence a pen (gr. 2-4: area, perimeter, optimization)
  4. Where parallel lines meet (gr. 2: geometry of a sphere)
  5. Probability race (gr. 2-4: probability with dice)
  6. Odds and evens (gr. 2, 7: growth patterns, odds, evens)
  7. Low floor, high ceiling (big ideas for young mathematicians)
  8. I don't like math anymore (I love it now! - math-for-teachers)
  9. Math performance (what did you do in math today?)
  10. Research performance (arts-informed research dissemination)
Mathematics (funded by KNAER)
  1. How much is a billion? (gr. 3: Fermi questions, social justice)
  2. Math pattern trains (gr. 1-4: growth patterns, slope, linear functions)
  3. Math waves around us (gr. 3-4: patterning, trigonometry)
  1. Cough, cough (gr. 4: pollution, social justice)
  2. Eating plastic (gr. 3-4: the great plastic dump, social justice)
  3. Refraction action (gr. 2-3: refraction)
  4. Will it float, will it sink? (gr. 2-3: density, buoyancy)
  5. Gravity's pull (gr. 2-3: gravity, density)
Peter Jaffe on violence & abuse
  1. Never met a happy bully (bullying and breaking the silence)
  2. The lizard in your brain (violence in the media)




"I love the concepts and the videos are very inspiring."

"Your ability to ‘reach out’ into authentic education and make a real difference is exceptional. Children in real schools in real time can be engaged to a level they’ve never dreamed of."

"I love the artistic rendering of the math ideas as shown on several pages of the research stories. Wow! They are rich and loaded with big mathematics ideas. Preservice students would for sure learn a lot from these documentaries."

"Many thanks! Caught children humming your songs in the halls!"

"I caught a performance and I could not keep a silly grin off my face for hours after the concert!  Thanks for the delight and fun (and learning!)"








inspired by ads for Science World

Trigonometry in Grade 3? ... how is that possible?

Read about it ... see the documentary.

Taking MUMB out of missing numbers - which math universe do you prefer?

See the documentary.

Mathematician and author Manil Suri (University of Maryland Baltimore) visited St. Andrews Public School in Toronto and took questions from students and parents at the school's Math Community Evening, where young students shared their classroom learning with family, firends, and the wider community.

What is Research ideas?

Documentaries of big math and science ideas in elementary school classrooms: teaching ideas in action; models of best practice; songs from classrooms - for your mp3 player - and animated music videos; math posters - download and print!

Do the math courses ... experience the pleasure of math surprise ... see a sample: enrichment ... for students; re-learn to love math ... for parents; neat math ideas ... for teachers.

A news report about our 26 May 2012 concert.

A short Radio documentary on our approach, by Jennifer Ferguson, which aired on 26 September 2011 on 106.9 the X FM.


Math Concert, 26 May 2012, a Fields Institute event

Bob Hallett (Great Big Sea), Tracy Bone, J.C. Campbell, and Moira Burke joined Joy of X at 7 pm on 26 May 2012, at the Regent Theatre in Oshawa.

See music videos from the Math Concert.

Songs based on the SSHRC-funded research of George Gadanidis (UWO), Marcelo Borba (UNESP, Brazil) and Janette Hughes (UOIT).

"Do the math" workshops: Cool math experiences for students, parents and teachers. Try one and get hooked on math!

New songs: Download 11 FREE math education research songs (mp3 format) ... click on the links below ... and pass them on!

  • Infinity in my hand
  • Pleasure of making 10 ... see the documentary
    • More homework like this (mp3) - Parent feedback from a grade 3/4 classroom.
    • Less than 10 (mp3) - How many solutions are there to __ + __ < 10? ... from a grade 2 classroom.
    • I'm from math (mp3) - And so are you! ... from a grade 3/4 classroom
  • How to fence a pen ... see the documentary
    • Fence a pen (mp3) - So you have 20 metres of fence to make a pen for your dog - what shape will you make it to have the biggest area? ... from a grade 4 classroom.
  • Where parallel lines meet ... see the documentary
    • Parallel lines (mp3) - They can meet! Really! ... from a grade 2 classroom
  • Probability race ... see the documentary
    • The rematch (mp3) - So Hare challenged Tortoise to a rematch ... who won? ... from a grade 3/4 classroom.
  • Odds and evens ... see the documentary ... do the math
    • Math surprise (mp3) - Did you know that odd numbers hide in squares? Where do even numbers hide?
  • I don't like math anymore
    • Big Bad Wolf (mp3) - Someone is scaring young children away from math - is it you?
  • Math performance
    • Imagine this (mp3) - What if there were cool stories you could share when asked "What did you do in math today?

New documentary: Where Parallel Lines Meet. What? Parallel lines can meet? Try this riddle, then view the documentary of grade 2 students exploring parallel lines:

  • Molly steps out of her tent.
  • She walks south 1 km.
  • She walks west 1 km.
  • She sees a bear and gets scared.
  • She runs north 1 km and arrives back at her tent.
  • How is this possible?
  • And, what colour is the bear?

New documentary: The Pleasure of Making 10. Students exploring linear functions and inequations in grade 3/4? How can that be? In grades 3 and 4, students solve missing number equations, like 3 + __ = 12 and __ + 5 = 8. Solving such unrelated problems, students do not have opportunities to experience the beauty of math patterns and relationships. One alternative is to engage students with problems such as __ + __ = 10 and __ + __ < 10. Students get lots of practice solving missing number problems. But they also get lots of practice exploring patterns and representing relationships. The documentary shows how this was done in two grade 3/4 classrooms.

The Math Liberation Front needs you! And children need math ideas with a low mathematical floor, allowing engagement with minimal math knowledge, and a high mathematical ceiling, so that concepts and relationships can be extended to more complex connections and more varied representations. Join our struggle!

Fear or dislike math? Someone is scaring young children away from math. Is it you? See Communique #2 of the Math Liberation Front.

Math concerts by Joy of X for K-8 schools funded by the Fields Institute in 2011-2012.

Math and Science Performance Festival. See more math and science performances (and share your own!!) at the Math and Science Performance Festival.