Friday, July 10, 2009

Crafty Thursday: Math Gnomes

I know, it's Friday. Between having my daughter with me all day long until French camp begins next week and preparing songs for French camp, I've had a full schedule. I've also started getting up early in the morning to exercise. That means going to bed early. Here and there, I've had some time to sew, and thus I finally created a set of royal "math gnomes" inspired by the Waldorf tradition of math education. While many math gnomes sets have the four processes of Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division as subjects of King Equals, my mom told me about the story setup of the royal math gnomes: King Addition loves to collect things, Queen Subtraction likes to give away her wealth, Prince Multiplication likes to do things fast, and Princess Division is a staunch social advocate who wants the resources to be divided fairly. Lucia came up with the idea of Equals as a Jester. Here is Lucia's drawing of the Royal Math Gnomes:



Here is the set I've made for the family:





If you do a search for "Math Gnomes" on Flickr, you'll come up with some other lovely representations like this one and this one. Two nice sets I've admired on Etsy are by julieblanchette and mamaforearth.

If I post a set of math gnomes in my shop, it would definitely be a big-ticket item. (August 21, 2009 Update: here they are.) I don't really know what the market is for math gnomes. Of course people admire the sets, but chances are that the people who need math gnomes the most are probably working with small budgets. I've joked about branching out into having different singular math gnomes be available to provide encouragement for teens working on Algebra, Geometry and Calculus homework:

8 comments:

Schelle said...

I love your maths gnomes and the story with them is great! I shall have to remember that for a few years time. Lucia's drawing is excellent - just this week, Wombat has started drawing people for the first time. He presented me with a rather lovely self-portrait which is now smiling from my desk.

Anne said...

I love your Math Gnomes they look
wonderful.
I was thinking of making some needle felted math gnomes.
Thanks for the links. :)

Lone Star Ma said...

I love your math gnomes. I think the Lone Star Girl would totally go for a pi gnome. Kid loves pi.

KateW said...

I love how you and Lucia worked together on this project. Please put them on Etsy!!!!

The LIbrary Lady said...

Put them on Etsy and I might very well buy them. SC deserves something to mark her memorable passing of the state Math exam for the first time in 4-5 years!

Saints and Spinners said...

Library Lady: Congratulations to SC! I'll keep her in mind as I create more math gnomes. In my post, I forgot to mention Lucia's "Triangle Sisters" of whom Scalene is her favorite.

KateW: Thank you! Stay tuned. I must admit, since starting this project, I'm thinking more and more about taking myself through a remedial math course. While I've always struggled in math, there were brief periods when I did well AND enjoyed the work. Radical numbers were my favorite.

LSM: I had a bit of fun with Bede this morning when I said, "I'm making a pi gnome. What kind of pi do you think I will make?" He responded, "Um, apple?" before he realized what I meant. Fortunately, we are both easily amused.

Anne: I would really like to see your math gnomes creation. You do beautiful work.

Schelle: It's a real kick when children start drawing people. I think you will be a natural with teaching math to Wombat and Munchkin when the time comes.

adrienne said...

I love Lucia's drawing.

I certainly might have taken to math more handily if someone had given me a set of these. As it is, I mostly learned basic processes from playing around with this owl-shaped TI calculator I had when I was in elementary school.

tanita davis said...

I had the same calculator!!

I do think a Pi doll would be awesome. Must be some way to make this something schools could use... manipulatives don't always have to be blocks, you know.