Document Type


Presentation Date


Conference Name

Joint MAA/MichMATYC Meeting

Conference Location

Hope College


Mathematics embraces creativity and beauty yet often our children are immersed in classroom activities where these attributes are hidden by an overemphasis on algorithms, computational speed and known answers that can be found in the back of the book or with a quick Google search. This learning environment creates a false perception of what it means to be “good at math.” From the research we know than many of our elementary school teachers have negative attitudes towards mathematics; an attitude students pick up and adopt which may foster the development of the reluctant, impatient problem solvers we find in our undergraduate classrooms. A change in the culture to one that both acknowledges and values the creative nature of mathematics is long overdue.

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills in conjunction with the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the Mathematical Association of America developed the 21st Century Skills Map for mathematics. In the Learning and Innovation skills area the emphasis is on the 4C’s: Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication and Collaboration, skills that have been topics of discussion in math education for over a century. This talk shares examples of efforts to infuse the 4C’s into K-12 mathematics classrooms in hopes of stimulating further collaborations between mathematicians and educators to restore wonder and beauty to mathematics taught in today’s classrooms.