Family Math Nights

Watch math come to life in these Family Math Night videos we’ve held with our educational partners.

Aroland First Nation at Johnny Therriault School

Naicatchewenin First Nation at Crossroads Public School

Seine River First Nation and Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nation  at Mine Centre Public School

Couchiching First Nation

A celebration of math and family!

Hosting a Family Math Night at your school is an opportunity to build and strengthen positive relationships among home, school and community. Not only that, children of all ages get a chance to see math as an inclusive, playful, engaging and accessible endeavour.

A great example of this can be seen in our recent collaboration with the Rainy River District School Board (RRDSB) schools and the First Nation communites they serve.  Family Math Nights were designed collaboratively with indigenous instructional leaders, First Nation educational counsellors, school board numeracy facilitators and the Robertson Program/Jackman ICS/OISE team. 

First Nation community members and RRDSB educators developed activities  – such as canoe symmetry, creating tangram clan animals, wigwam construction, exploring number patterns through Metis jigging – that raise awareness of concepts of geometry and measurement embedded in local cultural practices. As well, school board numeracy facitlitators and OISE team offered activities that reflect current research in spatial thinking – a strong predictor of overall math achievement.

This deeply collaborative and respectful approach to planning Family Math nights – designed under the leadership of First Nation communities in collaboration with the school board – highlights a model of success being used across the RRDSB.

Family Math Night Activities

In this activity, students follow code to create Ojibwe syllabics that spell out a secret word in Ojibwe. Learn code while using directional language.

In this activity, students visualize how paper that has been folded and hole-punched will look when the paper is unfolded.

In this activity, students learn about probability by guessing how many sticks will remain upright when dropped.

In this activity, students learn perspective taking by identifying the top, side, and front view of 3-D figures.

In this activity, students bead then create a bar graph that corresponds to the colours of beads they used.

In these activities, students use unified cubes to create a staircase of unifix towers representing 1 to 10, students draw number cards and build a corresponding unifix tower to see whose tower is taller, and students toss dice and build a unifix tower to see who can complete a bingo first.

In this activity, student use tangram manipulative pieces to complete a puzzle that creates an image of a clan animal.

In this activity, students create a map of their community on the grid. They then create a code for someone to follow, which takes them to a community landmark.

Students can create symmetrical designs on a cookie sheet with magnetic pattern blocks (or more permanently, on a construction paper with pattern block stickers). This activity can be done individually or in partners.

At this station, students visualize and then build 3D structures with frameworks. Their structures can be labeled and displayed for all to see!

Students create their own mandala with stickers on a circular paper divided into quadrants.

Learn more about family math nights

This is OISE’s Inclusive Schools project document, Deepening Inclusive and Community-Engaged Education in Three Schools: A Teacher’s Resource.

Dr. Bev Caswell, along with Grace LaRocque, contributed to the resource: Creating a Student-Led Multicultural Math Night to Draw Crowds. 

The article provides insight on how the Robertson team designed a series of Family Math Nights with the Toronto District School Board. There are outlines for activities, an overview of the important roles school community members should play, and a timeline for how you may want to plan and execute your Family Math Night.

Click on the image to view the article.
If you are interested in viewing the entire publication, please click here.

Deepening Inclusive and Community Engaged Education
How to cite this page:
Caswell, B., Moss, J., MacKinnon, S., Jones, J., Gibson, J., Kabatay, T., Jones, S., Hawes, Z. & Pedersen, Z. Hosting a Family Math Night The Robertson Program for Inquiry-based Teaching in Mathematics and Science. 21 July. 2015. <>.