With the National Math Festival just a few short weeks away, I’ve been receiving all kinds of awesome email with events and challenges related to the festival.  Today’s I thought was especially fun, so I thought I’d share it with you.  Below is the exciting message I opened earlier today:

What is #ISpyMath?

#ISpyMath is an online cooperative challenge that encourages kids and parents alike to discover and spread the delight and power of mathematics by sharing images, videos, and other multimedia of “math in action” in their daily lives.

Challenge participants are asked to find math in fun and unexpected places—such as the Fibonacci spiral in a sunflower, the four-color theorem in a map of the world, or the golden ratio in a piece of classical art at their local museum. We’ll even accept submissions of participants playing with their food or making melodies on their favorite instrument, as long as they can show they’re learning or using math in the process!

The challenge kicks off on Pi Day (March 14) and runs for two weeks, ending on March 28.

How does it work?

Participating in the challenge is easy. Social media users simply need to post their #ISpyMath multimedia on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram during the two-week challenge period. To be eligible to win the challenge, posts must:

  1. Be publicly visible—if they’re private, we can’t see them to judge them!
  2. Include the #ISpyMath hashtag.
  3. Demonstrate that the participant is aware of a mathematical principle or concept at work. For example, a tweet with a photo of a sunflower would not win if it simply said “I love sunflowers! #ISpyMath.” But, it might win if it said “Sunflowers are my favorite flower AND their seeds form a Fibonacci Spiral. Cool! #ISpyMath.”
  4. Adhere to community guidelines on the platform of choice (no profanity, spam, or otherwise inappropriate content).
  5. Be submitted before 11:59 pm ET on March 28, 2015.

After the challenge concludes, the National Math Festival will select up to five winnersbased on the most creative, exciting, and unique submissions that reinforce the idea that math is fun and is all around us. Winners will be notified via social media during the week of April 5-11.

Who is eligible?

The challenge is open to people of all ages, from anywhere in the world. We simply ask that those under the age of 13 request parental approval before participating in the challenge, as required in the community guidelines for Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.


Email sschmidt@msri.org with your #ISpyMath questions.


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