The Department of Mathematics and the Diversity and Equity Initiative at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa are organizing an event to adress the under-representation of women — and particularly of Native Hawaiian women — in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM disciplines) at UH Mānoa and nationwide. Research shows that barriers for under-represented groups arise largely from lack of access to educational opportunities and the resulting lack of academic preparation in math andscience.

An Afternoon of Beautiful Mathematics for Girls and Their Families will take place at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa campus on Sunday December 7, 2008 from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. The special event will be divided into two parts:

  • A 30-minute lecture presented by women faculty members from the Department of Mathematics, addressing the beauty of mathematics and its applications to everyday life.
  • A series of discovery stations designed and run (with the help and support of faculty) by female graduate and undergraduate students from STEM disciplines.  Girls and their families will visit these stations, engaging in hands-on math and engineering problems.

This event will benefit several target audiences: women faculty in STEM disciplines, graduate and undergraduate females in mathematics and science at UH Mānoa, and local K–8 girls and their families.  

See the article in the advertiser here.

Native Hawaiian Science and Engineering Mentoring Program


DAY: DEC. 7, 2008


Campus Center Map (pdf map)

TIME: 1-5pm

No registration

Boys are welcome!


Proficiency in mathematics and science is an important outcome of education. In an increasingly technological society, the ability of workers to solve complex scientific problems and to use mathematical skills are crucial components.

As mentioned recently by the Mathematical Association of America, " U.S. culture discourages girls from excelling at math". Many girls possess a high aptitude for mathematics, a new study concludes, but few girls in the United States reach the highest levels of mathematical attainment. An analysis of standardized test scores from more than 7.2 million students in grades 2 through 11 found no difference in math scores for girls and boys, contradicting the pervasive belief that most women aren’t hard-wired for careers in science and technology. The nation urgently needs to improve how it identifies and nurtures such gifted children so that this pool of exceptional talent is not wasted, the study recommends. Studies have shown that Boys and Girls have similar mathematics and science proficiency scores at age 9, but that a gender gap in science proficiency scores begins to appear at age 13. “We’re living in a culture that is telling girls: you can’t do math ” said a study’s lead author, Janet E. Mertz, an oncology professor at the University of Wisconsin, whose son is a winner of what is viewed as the world’s most-demanding math competition. "Kids are self selecting. For social reasons they’re not even trying. There’s just a stigma in this country about math being really hard and feared, and people who do it being strange. It’s particularly hard for girls, especially at the ages when people start doing competitions."



Our event is designed to fun, exciting and very importantly to be hands-on for the participants.  Examples of discovery stations are: building polyhedrons using marshmallows and straws; combining art and mathematics; the use of charts, graphics, statistics; space exploration; make your own flubby buddy; obstacle challenges using mirrors and angles; robotics. Each station will be divided into sections to address different age groups.

1) The robotics station is based on an outreach educational program that has been developed by the department of mathematics (see At this station the kids will build their own robots. Our goal is to focus on developing children's creativity in solving  problems as well as providing an engineering and programming background.  The station makes use of Lego's educational Mindstorm kits with its corresponding ROBOLAB software, creating a flexible means of developing robots in a relatively quick and flexible manner. Robotics is very often seen as solely developed be the computer science and engineering communities. However, there is a tradition of mathematicians working with roboticists. Many problems in robotics, or in the disciplines that are core to what we call robotics, have attracted mathematicians to this field.

and the Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program in Hawaii.

2) The space exploration stations.

One space station will be an interactive booth where children will learn about conic sections, fractals, and signal processing. The younger children will have paper conic sections divided into ellipses, parabolas, and hyperbolas of which they will color and put back together. The older children will be introduced to fractals through photos, movies, and interactive software and learn how fractals can relate to satellite image processing. The oldest children will hear sounds from space and be able to view their associated frequencies, along with an interactive booth where they can record their own voices and be able to view the associated frequencies. Download the flyer here.

At the second space station, the participants will build a Bubble-Powered Rocket!! Explore the wonders of space exploration. Participate in a group discussion about space travel and the tools needed to survive outer space. Learn about gravity and Newton's third law of motion. Build a rocket out of paper and powered by fizzing tablets. Then test out your design and see how high you go!! Download the flyer here.

3) The cards playing station.

Use an ordinary deck of playing cards to make you good at math. Join us and see ho wplaying games with cards make math fun. Download the flyer here.

4) The measurments, graphing and charts station.

This discovery station rpovides hands-on experience dealing with making and understandings graphs, charts, and different measurments. All ages are welcome to learn these valuables techniques and get a taste of how fun math can be. Download the flyer here.

5) The cryptology station.

At this station you will learn all about codes and ciphers, and create and decipher secret messages! Younger children (ages 8-13) will learn how to become codemakers and codebreakers using various cipher methods. Older children (above 13 yrs) will become cryptanalysts by using different cipher systems to break difficult codes in a series of secret spy cases. Come and find out how to crack the code!! Download the flyer here.

6) The flubby buddy station.

In this station, students will be learning how to make “flubber”, a slimy gooey substance that is not only extremely fun to play with but also inexpensive to make (in case your kids would like to make more at home).  This activity teaches the basic mathematical skills that students will use throughout their academic careers; following careful directions, counting, measuring, and fractions.  The fun doesn’t have to stop here; they can take flubber home with them! NOTE: This activity is absolutely 100% safe under supervision and fun for children. WARNING: May make you the coolest parent in the universe!! Download the flyer here.

7) The art math station.

The Math Art station will recognize how an equilateral shape can be tiled onto a plane without any gaps or over lapses and have fun with it. Girls of ages 8 and up will design their own tessellation masterpieces. For the younger girls, we will teach them how to convert many straight lines into a curve. Download the flyer here.

8) The polyhedron station.

Learn math with toothpicks and jelly beans, straws and marhsmallows. Construct geometric models and learn mathematical vocabulary. Download the flyer here.

9) The laser maze station.

Test your skills and knowledge of angles, vectors and problem sloving with thi sfun and exciting activity. Learn about some real life applications. Download the flyer here.

Download the flyer event here.