When was the National Math Foundation founded?
The National Math Foundation became a 501(c)(3) public charity on August 22, 2012. Prior to IRS approval, our team secured grant funding for schools and non-profits for projects related to NMF programming.
A Fresh Start – The Pilot Program
In 2009 Suzy Koontz, an educational consultant, actuary, math teacher, and author, developed a multi-sensory solution to America’s ever decreasing position in global math rankings. She introduced Math & Movement™, a kinesthetic approach to teaching math that incorporates physical exercise, stretching, cross-body movements, yoga, and floor mats to encourage elementary-age students to practice and retain early math concepts.
Research suggests motion-based learning facilitates muscle memory. Through repetition and movement exercises, Math & Movement™ enforces basic math and reading concepts foundational to higher-level curricula. By developing children’s confidence at an early age, they are more likely to excel in advanced coursework, preparing them for careers in math, science, and technology.
Math & Movement™ was piloted in a first grade classroom in Ithaca, NY, a city in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. After expanding programming to include grades K-5, integrating into classrooms across New York State, and piquing interest through presentations at national conferences, teachers in Chattanooga, Tennessee took notice. Math & Movement™ crossed state borders for the first time in 2011. This pattern continues and Math & Movement™ is now used in elementary classrooms in many states including New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Florida, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Washington, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Texas and Ohio.
Expanding beyond the classroom, Math & Movement™ engages students, parents and communities through Family Fun Nights. These evenings serve as an introduction to the curriculum for parents and community members. Older students reinforce their skills by helping younger children at different activity stations. By exposing parents to the techniques taught in classrooms, they build confidence in their ability to help their children with homework. Bringing together multiple families strengthens the community through collective participation.
Math & Movement™ currently runs in small pockets of the country, with Suzy Koontz traveling to each one to train teachers and present at regional conferences. Interest in the program has grown exponentially, with approximately 2,000 elementary school teachers now working to incorporate Math & Movement™ in their classrooms. Suzy, with the support of an advisory team of two board members developed the National Math Foundation to help grow opportunities to share Math & Movement™ and other well-tested movement-based curriculum (as they are identified) more widely. As defined in its charter, the National Math Foundation “provides monetary support and serves as a centralized training hub to enable learning institutions to expand their teaching resources to include programming that promotes non-traditional learning.”