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Each year, countries all over the world are invited to celebrate the day in schools, libraries, museums and public spaces of all kinds! Whether with students and teachers, governments and schools, mathematicians and scientists, or simply random citizens who love to do math, International Day of Mathematics is here to welcome anyone and everyone to show appreciation and enjoyment of math!

History of International Day of Mathematics

It’s hard to completely get a handle on the history of mathematics itself because it can only be traced through the history offered by written documents, even though this may only offer a sliver of what ancient humans were up to in their calculations! The earliest written texts available on the subject of mathematics date all the way back to approximately 2000 BC.

In a world that has been dominated by males in many cultures for most of history, today’s education systems may offer better access to mathematics and other subjects for girls and young women. But the worlds of math and science are still far from equal when it comes to gender! And this is one important reason that International Day of Mathematics was founded in the first place.

International Day of Mathematics got its start with the idea of improving the access to and role of mathematics education for students. This is particularly related to the role that math plays in science and technology as well as for empowering women and girls, improving the quality of life, and also contributing to sustainability for the planet and people.

The audience for the International Day of Mathematics is not only society at large, but students and teachers – more specifically, women and girls – to improve education, raise awareness, promote understanding, increase international relationships, promote gender equality, and so many other goals for the benefit of the cause.

In 2019, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) proclaimed the International Day of Mathematics, making its first celebration on March 14, 2020. Themes for these annual events have included “Mathematics for a Better World”, “Math Unites” and “Math for Everyone”. The hope is that the different themes each year will spark creativity, flavor the celebration, and bring attention to the connections between mathematics and so many different other ideas, concepts and fields.

Countries that have been involved in the organization and development of the International Day of Mathematics have included representatives from Korea, India, Portugal, Turkey, Ivory Coast, Algeria, Canada and so many others. Plus, the day is supported by more than 15 different international and regional organizations that promote math.

International Day of Mathematics is celebrated on the same day as National Pi Day – and for good reason! The date, March 14, when written in numerals, is 3/14. Or, written with a decimal, it’s 3.14. And what is the significance of that number? Well, of course, it’s Pi (symbolized as π), which is one of the most important constants in mathematics and physics. 

How to Celebrate International Day of Mathematics

The International Day of Mathematics can come with all sorts of fun and creative ideas for enjoying the day! Get started with some of these ways to celebrate:

Attend or Organize a Math Event

International Day of Mathematics is a great time to get involved with all of the interesting and intelligent things related to the world of math! In honor of the day, local schools and organizations may be hosting competitions or events for “mathletes”. Perhaps it would be a good idea to get involved by volunteering to help at the event, as a judge, registration person or some other important role.

Those who don’t already have any math events taking place in their local school or community in celebration of International Day of Mathematics might consider starting one! Gather a few local math teachers together and create an event or competition in support of this important day.

Encourage a Young Person in Mathematics

Whether just tutoring them in their algebra homework or encouraging them to enter into the field of mathematics when they go to college, International Day of Mathematics is a great time to think about the mathematicians of the future! Teachers, especially, can take this day as an opportunity to focus on the importance and excitement of mathematics.

Perhaps this means becoming a regular math tutor at a local school or after school program. Or maybe this means making a donation to a charity that provides scholarships for underserved young women who want to study mathematics in college or university. Or perhaps there is a young woman in the family who is interested in mathematics and simply needs some encouragement and support to pursue that discipline as a career.

Access Some Math Resources Online

Sometimes, helping a kid of a younger generation with math can be intimidating because the rules seem to change as they go along. For those who need to brush up on their math skills, or for students who are in the middle of studying math but could use some more help, consider some of these online resources for studying math:

  • Khan Academy. Completely free, this website has personalized resources for students with access to videos and online courses as well as exercises. It’s a great way to brush up on skills or get answers that are needed to grow in the ability to do math problems and apply it to daily life. 
  • Desmos. This online graphing calculator is free and allows students to plot data, use graph functions and evaluate equations so they can grow in their math skills. 
  • Wolfram Mathworld. This free online resource offers demonstrations, downloadable notebooks, interactive GIFS and more for math students of all ages. 
  • Quizlet. A great way for math students to make sure they are keeping up with their skills in the world of mathematics is to use this app. With digital cards, students can memorize and learn whether with premade decks or custom-made decks for students from kindergarten through high school. 

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