About this project
STRETCH GOAL $20,000+: Starting with $20,000 and for every $500 that we raise thereafter, we will give away at least 5 Funville Adventure books at a math festival or similar event.
STRETCH GOAL $18,000 - REACHED! If we reach $18,000, we will create two hands-on activities based on some of the math in the book for parents and teachers to do with their children. These will be posted on our website.
STRETCH GOAL $12,000 - REACHED! We will create and include with all reward levels (electronically for rewards less than $25) a mini-poster with 5 who-done-it style puzzles featuring the characters of Funville. Test your problem-solving skills and see if you can figure out which Funvillians are behind the hijinks!
UPDATE: Sample chapter available here.
Welcome to Funville
Where functions come to life as magical beings!
Please support this project to help children explore the exciting world of Funville Adventures, an upcoming book from Natural Math. Children as young as 5 will enjoy the story and math-rich play; older children and adults can also investigate the deeper mathematical concepts!
Early reviews of the book
“You too will want to visit Funville, a delightful land where magical and strangely mathematical powers run rampant!”
-Jordan Ellenberg, author of How Not to be Wrong
"Mathematical words can sound scary, but the concepts they describe are not: Funville Adventures proves this so!"
-James Tanton, MAA Mathematician at large
"Enjoy the story. Stay for the math. Emmy and Leo's magical adventure will encourage families to play with ideas together."
-Denise Gaskins, author of Let's Play Math series
The Story behind the Book
Sasha started sharing her love of math with her children when they were very young.
Her daughter Katie, a lover of role playing, would turn everything into a story. When Katie was 4, Sasha introduced her to the concept of a function, and they both had a lot of fun coming up with functions and making up stories about them.
This game gave Sasha the idea of writing a story that would introduce children to the concept of a function, and served as the inspiration behind the personified functions in Funville.
Sasha knew that she wanted to write a book for children, rather than a book telling parents how to do math activities with their children. This way, the book could reach children more directly, take the burden off the parents, and put the children in the driver’s seat.
Sasha reached out to her friend Allison, who shared her vision that mathematics could be taught to children in a way that connected more with their natural creativity. Like Katie, Allison had grown up loving stories, and was excited by the idea of creating a book that would blend mathematics and storytelling.
The Story in the Book
After 9-year old Emmy and her 5-year old brother Leo go down an abandoned dilapidated slide, they are magically transported into Funville: a land inhabited by ordinary looking beings, each with a unique power to transform objects. The siblings discover that Funville is full of surprises; one never knows when something will be shrunk
flipped upside down
turned into an elephant
As Emmy and Leo explore this exciting new world, befriending many Funvillians along the way, they discover that despite being able to do some very impressive tricks with their powers, Funvillians often get stumped by situations requiring more than just the straightforward use of a single power. Emmy and Leo think outside the box to solve problems by using combining multiple powers, as well as using ideas that do not involve powers.
The Story within the Story in the Book
While on the surface, Funville Adventures is just a fairy tale, the powers of the Funvillians are a vehicle for introducing children to the concept of a function. Each power corresponds to a transformation such as doubling in size, rotating, copying, or changing color. There is even a Funvillian whose power is to change other Funvillians’ powers. Some Funvillians have siblings with opposite powers that can reverse the effects and return an object to its original state, but other powers cannot be reversed. In this way, we introduce kids to the mathematical concepts of invertible and non-invertible functions, domains, ranges, and functionals without mathematical terminology.
The concept of a function is truly fundamental, and accessible to children from a young age. It is unfortunate that for many of them, their first encounter with it is in high school or late middle school, often in a dry, technical manner. We present this material in a form that will appeal not only to kids already interested in math, but also to who are missing out on mathematical adventures.
The Story behind Sharing with the World the Story in the Book and the Story behind the Story in the Book
Here’s where you come in! We are doing this Kickstarter campaign to cover the costs of producing and printing of the book, and to connect with a community of those who seek innovative approaches to math education. We are looking to gauge the market for story-based mathematical content, and to build a base of support for future projects. If you want to see Funville Adventures and more books like this in print, please consider supporting us!
The money raised by this campaign will cover the following expenses:
- Paperback layout
- Ebook design
- ISBN numbers and bookstore registration fees
- Printing paperback books and posters
- Shipping paperback books and other prizes
The Stories of the Authors of the Story in the Book, the Story within the Story in the Book, and this Story about those Stories
Sasha Fradkin has loved math from an early age, and seeks to share that love of math with others. After receiving her PhD in mathematics from Princeton University, she worked for several years as a professional mathematician and taught enrichment math at the Golden Key Russian School to children ages 4-10. Last year, Sasha became the Head of Math at the Main Line Classical Academy, an elementary school in Bryn Mawr, PA. She develops their math curriculum and teaches children in grades K-5. She writes a blog about her teaching as well as various math adventures with her two daughters, and enjoys pondering about exciting and engaging ways to present the beauty of mathematics to young children.
Allison Bishop grew up with a passion for writing, and initially disliked math because it was presented as formulaic. She belatedly discovered the creative side of mathematics and science, and now sees it as a vital component of the curiosity that drives her life. She is currently a professor of computer science at Columbia University as well as a quantitative researcher at the Investors Exchange. She remains an avid fiction enthusiast and writer, and is always seeking new ways to expose young minds to creative mathematical thinking and fuel their scientific curiosity.
About the illustrator
Mark Gonyea is a comic creator and graphic artist. Since 2000, Mark has been creating a series of silent comic posters called Story Posters. Mark has also worked as a graphic artist during that same time, created a web-comic called Mr. Oblivious, and has published a series of kids books specifically about graphic design. Mark’s motto is: Complicated Doesn’t Make it Good.
The Story of the Community that Helps Stories like the Story behind the Book to Turn into Stories like the Story in the Book and the Story within the Story in the Book
Natural Math has developed a unique publishing process to ensure that our books will add rich and beautiful math to your child’s life. A quality book takes professional artists, editors, and designers, but it starts with dedicated authors who care enough to spend dozens of hours improving each aspect of the book and related activities by testing it with many children, families, and classes.
Natural Math invites beta readers – brave community volunteers who field-test the draft in their own families and classes, without the authors on-scene to help. Our beta readers are new parents and veteran homeschoolers, principals and classroom teachers, leaders of math playgroups and math circles. They come from all learning backgrounds and all continents (except Antarctica). Their input is how Natural Math books become so real.
Funville Adventures will be published under a Creative Commons license. It means that people all over the world will be able to access its content, translate it into different languages – and share their ideas based on the book.
Risks and challenges
Risks are low. We are a part of the author support community Natural Math with a lot of combined publishing, education, and creative experience. We have done much of the work upfront: the book is fully drafted and much of the art is done. Comments from dozens of teachers, parents, and math circle leaders went into multiple revisions. We have watched many children enjoy "Funville Adventures" and use it as a springboard for their own math-rich play.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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- (30 days)