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Math Festival Aims To Make Summer Learning Fun

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- How do you make children excited about mathematics while on summer break?

As CBS2's Ali Bauman reported Sunday, a festival in Lower Manhattan sought to do just that.

One man who appeared as a mime at the event is actually a college mathematics professor. His lesson at the was about infinity, and his classroom was the first ever New York Math Festival – put on by the National Museum of Mathematics.

"I'm learning how to put the shapes together," said Anya Reisen, 8.

"Right now, we're trying to get unstuck without taking these off," said Jack Stone, 9.

With all sorts of brain-teasing games, puzzles and even jugglers, the event looked more like a carnival than a classroom.

"It's like interesting and hard at the same time," said Zen Keshwani, 10.

But arithmetic in July? Organizers from the National Museum of Mathematics want to show kids that calculations can actually be very creative.

"We want kids to say math is about playing, patterns, exploring, fun!" said Cindy Lawrence of the museum.

In a lesson in probability that adults may find familiar, organizers set up a roulette wheel. Perhaps their next lesson should be that the house always wins.

Another group was trying to make some blocks match a pattern – in a lesson in pattern recognition they didn't even realize they were learning.

And that was exactly the point, to get students excited about math class come fall.

"We're trying to give a motivation for learning math, not just, 'Here's something you have to do;' not just medicine you have to take," Lawrence said. "It's something beautiful."

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