# I Tell (Math) Stories.

By Gabriel Mateescu   (MEd. Imaginative Education, Math Teacher Surrey School District)

When you hear the word imagination what do you think of? I doubt many of you reading this initially thought of Math. Yet Math and imagination are closely linked. The greatest mathematical minds in our history had immense imagination to create and discover new connections between numbers, variables, the world around us and our universe. There are many great historical mathematical tales to be told throughout history such as how Archimedes was able to calculate the circumference of the earth with very primitive tools. Also, how around the year 500 B.C.E. Hippasus discovered the existence of irrational numbers while trying to calculate the value of . There are countless stories of discoveries made in the field of mathematics spanning thousands of years. But, how many of us take the time to share even one of these stories with our students?   I admit guilt here as well. Too often I get bogged down with checking homework, getting through the lesson, making sure corrections are done on quizzes etc.

If you were teaching a class of grade 8 or 9 students and more than half didn’t know or couldn’t remember their multiplication tables, telling a story would be the last thing on your mind I’m sure. And yet, I’m almost positive that we have all taken even a few minutes per week to share with our students some sort of personal account of an event that has happened in our lives.

We can’t help it; it’s human nature to story tell. It’s in our DNA.

Whether recounting the time your car got towed or a memorable experience with loved ones, we love telling stories. We love our stories to be heard and people love hearing them. Think about the countless stories that get told in the staff lunch room each day! Of course, a Monday story tends to carry more weight than, say, a Wednesday one, but still we can’t help but be engaged or perk our ears up.

The point is that stories engage, inspire and create curiosity. (Read more about how and why the story-form supports learning here. And here is the “why and how” for humanizing  topics in your teaching.)