Math: Multiplying Options for Success

What do pineapples, honey bees, and Bella Hadid have in common?

The answer is math. Honeybees are the most mathematical creatures. Just a few examples are their use of math to build their honeycomb, to communicate where their nectar is, and their little bodies are in Golden Ratio, or perfectly symmetrical (and their honey is golden).

Pineapples are a mathematical fruit.  Their surface is tessellated, their bodies and leaves are in Golden Ratio – they are both laterally and radially symmetrical. They happen to be golden too.

And Bella Hadid has been crowned the world’s most beautiful, thanks to her symmetrical face in Golden Ratio.  The Golden Ratio is a mathematical relationship that people see as beautiful. 

And if you think this isn’t relevant in your everyday life, think again.If you have been influenced to purchase something new lately it was very likely marketed to you using the Golden Ratio.  

Math – the “M” in STEM – may be the most important as it is the language needed to engineer new technologies and make scientific discoveries. It underpins our financial systems.  It’s at the center of many important life skills like problem-solving, and critical thinking. 

Yet, today, the average American student is an alarming 15-24 weeks behind in math.

Declining math scores and diminished math skills threaten our nation’s economy, security, and global competitiveness. Our challenges with math also exacerbate pre-existing educational inequities and widen the opportunity gap for millions of youth across the U.S.

Multiplying Options for Success: Solving our National Math Crisis​ explores the significance of math learning and its critical role in the futures of our young people, workforce development, economic growth, and national security. By citing research and practical applications of solutions, this brief underscores the relevance of a proficiency in mathematics, offers recommendations to address challenges, and outlines the role of partners in developing, supporting, and scaling impactful math-focused initiatives.

Multiplying Options for Success: Solving our National Math Crisis

Executive Summary

Download a snapshot: more about the nation's math crisis and ideas to solve the problem.

Full Brief

Download the full equation: the importance of math; strategies that work; and example case studies to solve the problem.

In 2021, STEM Next, in partnership with Takeda Pharmaceuticals, launched an intense focus on bolstering math learning in out-of-school spaces for kids across the country. Taking examples from the Million Girls Moonshot, STEM Next’s national initiative to close the STEM equity gap and other out-of-school programs, this brief shares things learned from these efforts thanks to the generous support of Takeda.

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