Season 4, Episode 4

Dear Math

In this episode, Bethany and Dan chat with Sarah Strong and Gigi Butterfield, authors of Dear Math: Why Kids Hate Math and What Teachers Can Do About It. Listen in as they chat about their experiences with finding joy in math, and how their passion helped them tell the stories of other students’ journeys to find (or not find!) joy in math.

Meet our guest(s):

Sarah Strong and Gigi Butterfield

Sarah Strong is the co-author of Dear Math. She has taught math and science to grades 6 through 12 at High Tech High in San Diego, and she also works for the High Tech High Graduate School of Education teaching various math pedagogy courses and supporting new math teachers in the organization.

Gigi Butterfield is the co-author of Dear Math. She is currently a screenwriting major at Loyola Marymount University and a former student of the Gary and Jeri-Ann Jacobs High Tech High in San Diego. She thrives in situations where she can explore math deeply and ask thoughtful questions of her peers and her teachers. Gigi has attended project-based learning schools since the age of five and, even in college, is passionate about how PBL plays an integral role in revitalizing heavily antiquated math pedagogies.

Meet our hosts: Bethany Lockhart Johnson and Dan Meyer

Bethany Lockhart Johnson is an elementary school educator and author. Prior to serving as a multiple-subject teacher, she taught theater and dance, and now loves incorporating movement and creative play into her classroom. Bethany is committed to helping students find joy in discovering their identities as mathematicians. In addition to her role as a full-time classroom teacher, Bethany is a Student Achievement Partners California Core Advocate and is active in national and local mathematics organizations. Bethany is a member of the Illustrative Mathematics Elementary Curriculum Steering Committee and serves as a consultant, creating materials to support families during distance learning.

Dan Meyer taught high school math to students who didn’t like high school math. He has advocated for better math instruction on CNN, Good Morning America, Everyday With Rachel Ray, and He earned his doctorate from Stanford University in math education and is currently the Dean of Research at Desmos, where he explores the future of math, technology, and learning. Dan has worked with teachers internationally and in all 50 United States and was named one of Tech & Learning’s 30 Leaders of the Future.

Transcripts and additional resources

Show notes:


“And during that project, the students wrote their letters, but then we did a lot of analyzing and revising and adding to our stories throughout the semester to like explicitly address our evolving understanding of our math identity.” —Sarah Strong