EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR FAMILY MATH FESTIVAL
Your Family Math Festival will expose students and their families to critical mathematics topics in a positive, hands-on, festival-like atmosphere. At your Family Math Festival students of all ages and their parents will work side-by-side doing challenging math problems using everything from beans to balances. Each activity will be challenging, fun, and a great example of what the Common Core Standards are all about!
A Family Math Festival is a truly un-graded and free-access learning event for all ages. For each Family Math Festival, we set up 12 to 16 DIFFERENT activity stations for your families. Math Festival activities are designed for all ability-levels from young primary students to adults—everyone can always find activities perfect for them no matter how much mathematics they’ve studied. Babies in strollers all the way up to grandparents are welcome and will enjoy this event. Your school will receive a CD with a complete set of your Math Festival’s printed curriculum materials. Your teachers may use it to extend the learning all year long.
Your Family Math Festival will accommodate up to a maximum of 200 persons at any given time DEPENDING ON THE SIZE OF YOUR FACILITY AND NUMBER OF AVAILABLE TABLES. If you expect larger numbers, please contact the Math Festival Director before confirming your Family Math Festival to discuss possibilities.
Your Math Festival can be wonderful public relations for your school. Invite school board members, your superintendent, teachers and administrators from other schools, and members of your community to visit as well as families. This is also a wonderful opportunity to invite your local press to visit your Festival— newspapers are frequently looking for positive news stories about education in their local schools. Visitors can come at any time during your Family Math Festival.
HOW TO PLAN FOR YOUR FAMILY MATH FESTIVAL
- CHOOSING A MATH FESTIVAL DATE:
❏ If at all possible, choose a date for your school’s Math Festival that has the fewest possible conflicts when so families in your school can participate; sporting events, testing, off-site meetings, or other special programs on your Family Math Festival date.
❏ The use of your gym or multi-use room for your Family Math Festival is mandatory; only the Festival can be going on in that room that day an hour or more before and an hour after your scheduled starting and ending times. Please check that no other programs must use the Math Festival facility on your chosen date.
❏ Before you confirm a date with the Math Festival Coordinator, please make sure that your school and district has authorized the estimated expenditure. We are happy to revise estimates based upon requested changes, or sign district contracts/consultant agreements if we are notified well in advance of your Math Festival. All financial details and arrangements must be settled weeks before your Math Festival date.
❏ An evening Family Math Festival usually runs from 6 or 6:30 to 7:30 or 8:00 (an hour is usually about right if no additional program is scheduled (raffle, talk by principal or speaker, etc.). 90 minutes is the MAXIMUM length of the Family Math Festival. We've found this amount of time works well for the majority of Math Festivals we've conducted—even for schools with large parent turnouts. We also offer daytime and Saturday Family Math Festival, and Family Math Festivals together with a daytime student Math Festivals.
2. CHOOSING A TEACHER-LEADER TO BE IN CHARGE:
❏ It is essential that one certificated staff person, an administrator or teacher-leader, be identified and available for the entire event to assist the Math Festival Presenter. Since your Math Festival presenter is a visitor in your school, this is a legal requirement of the California Education Code.
❏ This designated staff person will need to be present and available from the set up time, during the entire Family Math Festival, and about 45 minutes after the event for clean up.
❏ Ideally, this designated teacher-leader will also be the person to work with the Math Festival Presenter in planning all aspects of your Family Mathematics Festival before your event’s date. Email communication with this individual is key to the success of the planning process. Please identify this person to us ASAP. Don’t worry; there is not that much to plan!
3. NUMBER OF FAMILIES YOUR FAMILY MATH FESTIVAL CAN ACCOMMODATE:
❏ Depending on your facility, an evening or Saturday Family Math Festival can accommodate 200+ family members and students. Since the evening program is a drop-in program, and not every family needs to be present at the start or stay for the entire event, we've found that families come and go continually throughout the event—that stems the crowding quite a bit. In our experience, families stay an average of 45 to 60 minutes, so there is a continual turnover.
❏ You know your community, so you can best estimate how many parents and students will attend. If you are expecting LARGE numbers, you have two choices: you might limit attendance by having families sign up in advance; or plan to host TWO 40-minute Family Math Festival sessions (your presenter will need 10 minutes in between sessions to get the room ready for the next group). Your Family Math Festival must be held in ONE facility; hosting any part of the Math Festival outside or in other rooms doesn't work because of supervision issues.
❏ If you are expecting LARGER numbers than you think your facility can handle, you have two choices: you might limit attendance by having families sign up in advance; or plan to host TWO 45-minute Family Math Festival sessions (we need 15 minutes in between sessions to get the room ready for the next group). For example, you could have families with last names A-L attend the first session and M-Z the second session (or some other design of your own). For very large schools we can host longer Family Math Festivals or even two-day events at extra cost.
❏ It's not necessary (or even a good idea) to split the families by primary and upper grades; a Math Festival is a truly ungraded activity suitable for K-8 grades students and parents attending at the same time. This also allows parents with both primary and upper grade children to attend ONCE with all their family. However, your Family Mathematics Festival must be held in ONE facility; hosting any part of the Math Festival outside or in other rooms doesn't work because of supervision issues and possible weather conditions.
❏ Parents MUST accompany their children and stay with them during the Festival. However, there will be hands-on math activities for ALL ages to do and enjoy, everyone from toddlers to seniors, including students from TK through high school, can have fun and be challenged at your Family Math Festival.
4. ANOTHER WAY TO ENGAGE PARENTS AT YOUR FAMILY MATH FESTIVAL:
❏ The California Math Festival Program encourages all schools to reach out to parents and help them support their children's mathematics education. Therefore, as part of every Family Math Festival we host, we provide the school with 50 K–12 Math at Home parent guides to mathematics education FREE OF CHARGE courtesy of the California Math Festival Program.
Math at Home is the first annual winner of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Special Publication Award. Click here to download a free PDF copy of Math at Home in English or Spanish!
❏ Math at Home is available in English or Spanish editions. You may request a total of 50 English and/or Spanish Math at Home with an option to purchase more. Your presenter will bring the booklets to your Family Math Festival. This is a great way to support math in the homes of your students, and we'd like to help.
❏ If you request, your Family Math Festival presenter will make a few brief comments to parents about the importance of mathematics to their children's future and talk a bit about how they can support their children's study with suggestions from the Math at Home booklets.
❏ If you want MORE than the 50 free booklets, we sell them at our cost per booklet over the first 50. Please let your presenter know if you want more than 50 Math at Home, booklets as soon as possible so that we can adjust your Math Festival's cost estimate to reflect the larger number of booklets for your district or school's invoice.
❏ In most cases your presenter can bring the number of booklets you request on your Math Festival date, however, if the number of booklets you require is large than the presenter's stock of booklets, the booklets may have to be ordered directly from the California Mathematics Council, the publisher of Math at Home, another reason we need to know this well in advance of your Family Math Festival date.
5. SETTING UP A SCHEDULE FOR YOUR FAMILY MATH FESTIVAL:
❏ A Family Mathematics Festival can last a maximum of 1.5 hours, not counting set up and clean up. If you would like a Family Mathematics Festival longer than 1.5 hours, we would be happy to schedule one at additional cost. Since a Family Mathematics Festival is a drop-in event, unless there are additional programs planned for the evening, this is a sufficient amount of time to engage families.
❏ The timing or your Family Mathematics Festival is up to your school (within the 1.5-hour maximum). In setting your schedule, it is wise to schedule your Festival late enough for families to have dinner BEFORE attending your event, and yet not too late to infringe on the youngest students’ bed times. However, we realize that different schools will have different criteria for setting the times of their event.
❏ SAMPLE Family Mathematics Festival schedule:
• Setup: 5:00–6:30 pm (minimum of 1.5 hours is required for set up of the Math Festival materials)*
• Family Mathematics Festival Session: 6:30–8:00 pm*
• Packing up: 8:00–9:00 pm (1 hour is required for packing up, and the facility must remain open)*
*During these times, a teacher or administrator on your credentialed staff must be present and available to assist the Math Festival Presenter.
6. ADVANCE PREPARATION FOR YOUR FAMILY MATH FESTIVAL:
❏ It’s wise to start publicizing the event as soon as possible to avoid future date conflicts with other school or community events. A planning email will be sent which includes samples of flyers that can be modified with your particular date, information, and schedule; then used to announce your event in advance to your community.
❏ Please make sure you inform parents both through your students or any flyers that they or another adult MUST accompany their children during the festival. Unaccompanied minors can be a problem.
❏ Inform the school custodian about your Family Mathematics Festival AS FAR IN ADVANCE AS POSSIBLE. Please remind him or her again the day before your event so the room and floor are clean and the tables are set up and ready.
❏ If the gym or multi-use room must be used for after-school activities the afternoon of the event, the Festival materials cannot be set up until the students leave, the floors are cleaned, and the tables are up. At that point, we will still need a full hour and a half to set up the Festival materials BEFORE THE FIRST FAMILIES ARRIVE. Once set up, the Festival materials and tables must remain set up for the entire event, since the Festival stations take significant time and energy to set up and/or move.
❏ Your Math Festival presenter will arrive 1.5 hours prior to the start of your Family Mathematics Festival, and will need assistance from at least one teacher or administrator in setting up all of the Math Festival materials.
❏ Your Math Festival presenter is a teacher and very knowledgeable about mathematics, current education issues, and working with parents and families. If you wish your presenter to make some brief comments to families about the importance of mathematics to their children, he or she would be happy to do so. If you wish this to be part of your program, please inform us in advance. The timing of these comments works best if scheduled about mid-way through your Family Mathematics Festival, since families do not all arrive at the very beginning or stay to the very end. If you wish your presenter to talk to parents, please have a PA system and microphone set up in advance and working.
❏ You will need 12 TO 16 typical large double cafeteria tables with seats set up in the gym or multipurpose room, arranged with as much space as possible between tables. The custodian will need to set up the tables BEFORE the arrival of your Math Festival presenter (link to PDF room and table diagram below).
Please note: NO FOOD OR DRINK AT ANY TIME is allowed in the Math Festival facility! The Math Festival materials do not do well around food and drink. If you wish to have food or refreshments connected with your event, please have the food in a separate room, and plan a strategy for keeping food out of the Math Festival facility. Please work with the Math Festival Director to plan for this.
7. FAMILY MATH FESTIVAL ROOM AND TABLE SET UP:
Please use this diagram of a typical cafeteria/multi-use room in setting up tables for your Family Mathematics Festival. If you are using a gym instead, the setup of tables is the same. A standard cafeteria, fold-down double table—or alternately—two 6' X 4' folding tables placed end to end, will be used for EACH Math Festival activity station. We will set up least 12 stations, more if the room allows. 16 Math Festival stations can accommodate up to 200 parents and students, depending on the size of your room. Please have your custodian set up the room with tables that afternoon before your event, so the Festival set-up can begin at least an hour and a half prior to the start of your Family Math Festival.
If you have questions, please contact Paul Giganti, California Math Festival Director: firstname.lastname@example.org