Mathematicians look like all of us

A couple years ago, I realized that whenever I would talk about the mathematicians who created the math we were doing in class, there were a lot of similarities in the people that I was displaying on the board. In my class, no two students were alike. But every mathematician I was displaying looked the same. The following year, after my students took their end of year exam, I decided to spend the last few weeks of school doing a mathematician project. For this project, I had the students pick from a list of mathematicians that I gave them, fill out a bio sheet, and make a presentation. They got bonus points if they dressed up and presented as their mathematician of choice. I’ve enjoyed learning about mathematicians from around the world. I hope that by sharing with my friends, who share with their friends, and by the people who find me through my hashtag, that people will start to see that mathematicians look like all of us. It is not a field set aside just for European men in powdered wigs. Mathematicians come from all centuries, all countries, and all socioeconomic backgrounds. Mathematicians really do look like all of us!

Like so many awesome math teachers, I met Megan McLean through social media at some point over the last few years. Megan is a teacher all the way on the other side of the US, and with the help of Instagram, I get to feel like she is my colleague next door. Over the last few months, Megan has been researching mathematicians from all over the world and collecting their stories into her Instagram account @mathematicianslooklikeallofus. This post highlights a small sliver of the mathematicians she has found and also links to where we can learn more. Here is Megan's guest post on the work she has done so far on this important project.


Guest post by Megan McLean


Hi! I’m Megan McLean, a Math and Engineering teacher at Lewis and Clark High School in Spokane, Washington. I’ve been teaching for 13 years. In that time, I have taught in the US and also in South Korea, which was an amazing experience. In my former life, I was a Mechanical Engineer having gotten a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Idaho (GO VANDALS!). I became a teacher because I wanted to inspire students to see themselves as mathematicians and to help develop in others the love I have for math.

Digital Math Escape Rooms

Wowza, what a start to the school year. To meet the new needs of your classroom, whether students are working independently in your classroom or distance learning from home, I have been converting my printable math materials to also include digital versions. You can see those here. I have also recently been creating some digital-only math activities to work in Google Slides (these can download as PowerPoints and still be interactive) and Google Forms. One of the newest activity types I've been making in Google Forms are digital math escape rooms.

digital math escape rooms

I have been getting some great feedback on these digital math escape rooms

Moving Math Forward: Virtual Math Conference October 2020

I am so incredibly excited to be presenting at the Moving Math Forward conference this fall.  My session “Cultivating Math Confidence” will focus on concrete ways to instill confidence in your math students through your curriculum. I will share the ways I built places into my classes where students could find success and build their math confidence.

I am very excited to be presenting at the Fall 2020 Moving Math Forward virtual conference with 14 other awesome math educators. This will be a 3-day event starting Monday October 5, 2020, with options to attend 1, 2 or all 3 days.

Digital Math Word Walls for the Virtual Classroom

Interactive digital math word wall updates for distance learning! All of the digital word wall links are updates to their existing printable math word walls so that you have what you need whether school is face to face, virtual or following a hybrid blended model. You all have been making these amazing bitmoji virtual classrooms to reach students distance learning and keeping your kids connected to their math curriculum, to each other and to school. After lots of thought, I figured out a way to make digital math word walls that can keep students connected to their math vocabulary. I also show how to share a virtual classroom with students so that you can edit your digital math word wall to deliver math notes, math curriculum, math videos or whatever you’d like!

Over the years, I have written a lot about math word walls and how strongly I feel about them. When I was in the classroom, they were an extension of my teaching, gave my students the tools they needed to work with a greater sense of independence and allowed me to make visual connections to other parts our math curriculum while teaching. I always find myself gushing about math word walls because I know how well they worked for my students.

Virtual Math Classroom Decor

Images for your virtual math classroom, including posters and a growth mindset bulletin board. Includes video tutorials for creating your own bitmoji classroom

So much learning has happened these past few months! More than I ever thought possible. If you had asked me in February if I knew what a bitmoji classroom was, I'd have looked at you funny. Now fast forward a few short months later, and I have my own virtual classroom and lots of virtual math classroom decor!

Algebra activities for the hybrid learning classroom

Will we be remote? In person? Following some sort of hybrid blended learning model? Will we need digital algebra resources or even a virtual algebra word wall? Because it's so up in the air, and because updating my printable resources was something I should have done a long time ago, I have been working on my algebra resources to now also include digital links to interactive versions online. Over the last few months I have been updating my printable algebra activities to now also include links to interactive digital versions of the activities for a hybrid model of blended learning. This way you will be ready for anything! Whether we are back in the classroom teaching face to face, teaching from home remotely or following a blended learning model, you will be able to easily assign algebra activities to all of your students. The GOOGLE Slides and GOOGLE Forms also help save paper, even when we are back to school full time or will help when assigning activities to students who are absent.  It has been important to me to update the original printable files with links to the new digital math activities so that you have access to both. This will he be helpful for remote learning, for make-up work when a student is absent, for saving paper, for blended math classrooms, flipped algebra classrooms and for students who need printed form.

Will we be remote? In person? Following some sort of hybrid blended learning model? Because it's so up in the air, and because updating my printable resources was something I should have done a long time ago, I have been working on my algebra resources to now also include digital links.

Every algebra activity in this post is in both printable and digital form (within the same file) to work if we follow either a distance, face-to-face or hybrid model at school. I have been updating all of my printable algebra activities to now also include links to interactive digital versions so that you will have the activities you need.

Visual Math YouTube Playlist

Over the last few months I've been building a visual math playlist on my YouTube channel with videos on multiplying and dividing fractions, working with integers, solving equations and more. All of my math videos can be found on my YouTube channel. I've been adding videos to go along with my free math cheat sheets (mainly for algebra and algebra 2), videos on ways to make math visual and some tech tips. I really enjoy making and editing videos, so more to come soon.

Over the last few months I've been building a visual math playlist on my YouTube channel with videos on multiplying and dividing fractions, working with integers, solving equations and more. 

How to multiply fractions using area models video on my YouTube channel