Park City Museum urges children and adults to ‘Go Figure’
Before most children enter kindergarten, they are already interested in math, said Courtney Titus, Park City Museum exhibitions curator.
"Math is a subject that is naturally learned by any curious mind, especially in young children," Titus told The Park Record during an exhibit tour. "However, adults often underestimate that ability and often miss opportunities to help their children learn these concepts at an early age.
"Research indicates by the time these kids enter school, any negative attitudes regarding math that are shown by parents are passed down to their kids and makes math just another school subject, rather than something that can be fun and exciting to learn," she said. "Studies shows that adults and parent need to help obliterate that problem and to do so, they need help and information."
It is in that spirit that the Park City Museum is showing "Go Figure" in the Tozer Gallery through May 16.
"’Go Figure’ is an exhibit that teaches basic mathematic concepts through reading," Titus said. "It was developed by the Minnesota Children’s Museum in collaboration with the American Library Association and was funded in part by the National Science Association."
The exhibit is designed for everyone but especially for families with children ages 2 to 7, according to Titus.
"It is also displayed in both English and Spanish and offers many hands-on, play-filled experiences where parents or caretakers can read books that teach these math concepts with their children," she said.
The books featured in the exhibit are Marc Brown’s "Arthur’s Pet Business," Pat Hutchins’ "The Doorbell Rang," "The Quilt" by Ann Jonas, "Frog and Toad Are Friends" by Arnold Lobel and "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," as retold by James Marshall.
"Each station in the exhibit offers people to read a book and participate in a math activity that is featured in the book," Titus said.
At the "Arthur’s Pet Business" station, children and families can help plan out Arthur’s month by placing activity tiles on different calendar dates.
At "The Doorbell Rings" area, visitors can practice counting by placing different numbers of giant chocolate chips into eight cookies.
"For ‘The Quilt’ people will be able to use an iPad to either complete a quilt or design a new quilt, and the ‘Frog and Toad Are Friends’ station, which is my favorite, offers an activity that allows kids and parents to sort, stack and match by using a series of large, colorful, plastic buttons," Titus said. "They can decide to find all of the purple buttons or all the ones that are stars or square."
At the "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" section, children can measure and compare their heights.
"They can also convert their heights to other unique ways of measuring such as spoons and pencils," Titus said.
While their children have fun with the activities, parents and caretakers can learn simple ways to foster that natural curiosity in their kids through reading about math.
"There are many more books like these out there," Titus said. "As of right now, we are partnering with Dolly’s Bookstore that is promoting the exhibit with a display that features children’s books about math concepts."
The exhibit comes to the Park City Museum during an ideal time of the year.
"Many school groups and families with young children usually come visit during these months," Titus said. "We’re excited to cater to those audiences and provide something fun and interactive to enjoy. And since this is also displayed in Spanish, we hope that we can encourage members of the Hispanic community and those who are bilingual to see the exhibit together."
Throughout the next three months, the museum scheduled additional programming that will complement the exhibit, according to Titus.
It will also host a free open house for teachers and educators on Monday, Feb. 29, from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. Teachers should RSVP with the museum’s education director Diane Knispel at 435-649-7457 ex. 102 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .
"We are also presenting three different story and craft days," Titus said.
Those days are:
"Diane will read the stories that are featured in the exhibit and then the kids will do a craft afterwards," she said.
The museum will also offer two "locals’ free" days on Tuesday, April 12, and Tuesday, May 3.
"Math is an issue that everyone should be concerned about, and we have so many resources in Park City — including Dolly’s Bookstore and local libraries — that can help jump-start interest in reading about math," Titus said. "We also have the Mega Genius Supply and I.Q. H.Q., and Zaniac, tutoring locations that are in the position to help nurture the love of math and offer support for kids down the road. We are excited to show this exhibit because it does help foster the love of math."
The Park City Museum, 328 Main St., will show "Go Figure" at the Tozer Gallery through May 16. The museum is open Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Sundays from noon until 6 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 7 to 17. Children ages 6 and younger are admitted for free. For more information, visit Parkcityhistory.org.
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In the closing scenes of the about-to-be released documentary “Public Trust,” environmental journalist Hal Herring says this of the battle over public lands: “You only have a right to what you are willing to fight for.”