March Theme:  Science

12 Months of Math

Everyone is a scientist; we are all performing experiments and tests to figure out how the world around us works. We take different routes to get to school and work to see which way is quickest, we use different ingredients when we cook to see what tastes better, we simply pay attention to the weather to figure out what to wear every day, and on and on.  

This month we’ll take a closer look at how math fits so nicely with science. Dive into the career connections to discover many different fields of science. And, meet some local scientists who are using math to discover and study new things every day in the Career Spotlight section. As always, there are lots events and activities to learn even more!

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Thank you to this month’s sponsor:

sandia national laboratories

Parents' Corner

Math Talk

Topic:  Problem Solving

Mechanical Engineers regularly identify problems, then work to develop strategies to solve those problems. Engineers use critical thinking, creativity, design, and construction to communicate their strategy ideas. When tackling a problem think of the IDEAL problem-solving process.

  1. Identify your problem.
  2. Define the important detail or information about your problem.
  3. Explore different strategies for solving your problem.
  4. Apply or implement the “best fit” strategy.
  5. Look back and learn from your work.

Explore problem solving with this fun challenge:

Leaning Tower of Pasta

Construct a tall tower with spaghetti and marshmallows that will hold a ball on top.

How can you build a tower or structure made of spaghetti and marshmallows?

How heavy is the ball?

On what surface will the tower be built?

Are there any other variables to consider?

What different shape tower can you try? Rectangular? Triangular? Spherical?

Will it be tall? Wide?

How many sticks of spaghetti and marshmallows should you use? What are their sizes?

Now that you’ve explored some strategies, decide what is the best one and build your best tower.

How well does your design work to hold a ball? Can it still be improved?

Which design ideas didn’t work as well? Why not?

Are there other materials you could use to improve your design?

Events and Activities

Math in Science Events

Sunday, March 17, 2019, 2-4pm

Look for a math activity at Explora from 2-4pm today hosted by 12 Months of Math.

This month‘s activity is about light and spectroscopy: Did you know that every color has a number? Can you identify something just by color? Come learn about the light spectrum, elements and colors with 12 Months of Mathin Explora’s Experiment Bar!

Math in Science Activities

Career Connections
Life Sciences


Growing, aging, digesting—all of these are examples of chemical processes performed by living organisms. Biochemists study how these types of chemical actions happen in cells and tissues, and monitor what effects new substances, like food additives and medicines, have on living organisms.


Life is all around you in beauty, abundance, and complexity. Biologists are the scientists who study life in all its forms and try to understand fundamental life processes, and how life relates to its environment. They answer basic questions, like how do fireflies create light? Why do grunion fish lay their eggs based on the moon and tides? What genes control deafness? Why don’t cancer cells die? How do plants respond to ultraviolet light? Beyond basic research, biologists might also apply their research and create new biotechnology. There are endless discoveries waiting to be found in the field of biology!

Soil & Water Conservationist

Soil and water are two of Earth’s most important natural resources. Earth would not be able to sustain life without nutritive soil to grow food and clean water to drink. Soil and water conservationists foster the science and art of natural resource conservation. The scientists work to discover, develop, implement, and constantly improve ways to use land that sustains its productive capacity, and enhances the environment at the same time. Soil and water conservationists are involved in improving conservation policy by bringing science and professional judgment to bear in shaping local, state, and federal policy.

Environmental Scientist

Have you ever noticed that for people with asthma it can sometimes be especially hard to breathe in the middle of a busy city? One reason for this is the exhaust from vehicles. Cars, buses, and motorcycles add pollution to our air, which affects our health. But can pollution impact more than our health? Cutting down trees, or deforestation, can contribute to erosion, which carries off valuable topsoil. But can erosion alter more than the condition of the soil? How does an oil spill harm fish and aquatic plants? How does a population of animals interact with its environment? These are questions that environmental scientists study and try to find answers to. They conduct research or perform investigations to identify and eliminate the sources of pollution or hazards that damage either the environment or human and animal health. Environmental scientists are the stewards of our environment and are committed to keeping it safe for future generations.

Physical Sciences


Electricians are the people who bring electricity to our homes, schools, businesses, public spaces, and streets—lighting up our world, keeping the indoor temperature comfortable, and powering TVs, computers, and all sorts of machines that make life better. Electricians install and maintain the wiring and equipment that carries electricity, and they also fix electrical machines.


Everything in the environment, whether naturally occurring or of human design, is composed of chemicals. Chemists search for and use new knowledge about chemicals to develop new processes or products.

Forensic Scientist

Guilty or not guilty? The fate of the accused in court lies with the evidence gathered at the crime scene. The job of the forensic science technician is to gather evidence and use scientific principles and techniques to make sense of it. It can be a grueling and graphic job, but very rewarding. If you like the idea of using science to help deliver justice, then you should investigate this career.


Astronomers think big! They want to understand the entire universe—the nature of the Sun, Moon, planets, stars, galaxies, and everything in between. An astronomer’s work can be pure science—gathering and analyzing data from instruments and creating theories about the nature of cosmic objects—or the work can be applied to practical problems in space flight and navigation, or satellite communications.

Source: Science Buddies,

Career Spotlight

 Learn how these professionals use math in their careers:

Fun Online Resources
math in sports

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Thanks to our Title Sponsors:

Color Explora Logo iHeart Media intel NSF logo

12 Months of Math, a project of STEM-NM, is a city-wide initiative designed to explore and celebrate math’s importance to our community and in our lives. 12 Months of Math will provide community-based, culturally-relevant, multilingual family math programs for the public. Each month of math will focus on a selected theme and will provide math activities in a real-world context, supported by local business and organizations whose work relates to the month’s theme. 12 Months of Math brings together the varied expertise of partner organizations and coordinates efforts to bring about significant improvement in children’s math outcomes.

STEM-NM is New Mexico’s nationally-designated STEM Learning Ecosystem, working to increase the prosperity of our community by engaging students and preparing them for jobs in our local science, technology, and health care sectors.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1744541. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

12 Months of Math is looking for math events and opportunities to engage New Mexico families. If you would like to share math information with us please fill in this contact form.

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