Making math fun on your next family trip

We promise, it can totally happen. Here’s why having fun with numbers on vacation can be beneficial for kids.

It’s the rare child who’ll choose an afternoon of math homework over a family vacation. That’s partly because of the negative way that we talk about and teach math, says Chris Emdin, a professor of education at the University of Southern California.

Math, he says, can absolutely be a lot of fun. The problem, he says, comes from believing that being good at math is all about getting the right answer. “It’s not whether you get something wrong,” says Emdin, author of Stem, Steam, Make, Dream: Reimagining the Culture of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, “but how innovative and creative you are in trying again to get the answer.”

The key, Emdin says, is rethinking how math is taught—and travel is a great way to do that. Taking kids out into the world, away from desks and textbooks, offers opportunities to think creatively and see the relevance of what they’re learning in real time.

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