**Who to Invite to the Math Fair**

For a math fair presented by elementary students, an obvious group to invite are the parents and guardians of the students, but there are other options as well. For example, in one school, each class produced their own math fair, with about six to eight puzzles, and the classes visited each other. In order to avoid duplication of the puzzles, a coordinator was appointed to ensure that the same puzzle was not used in two or more classrooms.

We have also seen this idea used between schools, where schools can pair up, and each visits the other's math fair. As in the earlier situation, a certain amount of coordination helps avoid too much duplication of the puzzles.

There are also situations where, for whatever reasons, parents and guardians are simply not interested in visiting the school. (One hopes that activities like math fairs will help change this). In such a situation, you could have one group of students present their math fair to another group. This approach has worked in junior high schools, where, for example, each year the grade nine classes present a math fair to the grade eight students, thereby creating something of a tradition that the grade eight students look forward to when they enter grade nine.

Junior high schools have also invited students from nearby elementary schools, using it as a recruiting tool.

Some schools have presented math fairs during parent-teacher nights. Visitors who might not ordinarily visit the school were thus able to see that the math curriculum included more than just rote exercises in addition and multiplication, and that their children were actually learning how to reason.

At the college or university level, the college students have presented math fairs to elementary and junior high students. There are two options here: the math fair can be taken to the school, or the schools can be invited to bring their students to the university. This has proved to be immensely popular in places where is has been done, and schools can use the university event as a model for doing their own math fair later.

We have also seen this idea used between schools, where schools can pair up, and each visits the other's math fair. As in the earlier situation, a certain amount of coordination helps avoid too much duplication of the puzzles.

There are also situations where, for whatever reasons, parents and guardians are simply not interested in visiting the school. (One hopes that activities like math fairs will help change this). In such a situation, you could have one group of students present their math fair to another group. This approach has worked in junior high schools, where, for example, each year the grade nine classes present a math fair to the grade eight students, thereby creating something of a tradition that the grade eight students look forward to when they enter grade nine.

Junior high schools have also invited students from nearby elementary schools, using it as a recruiting tool.

Some schools have presented math fairs during parent-teacher nights. Visitors who might not ordinarily visit the school were thus able to see that the math curriculum included more than just rote exercises in addition and multiplication, and that their children were actually learning how to reason.

At the college or university level, the college students have presented math fairs to elementary and junior high students. There are two options here: the math fair can be taken to the school, or the schools can be invited to bring their students to the university. This has proved to be immensely popular in places where is has been done, and schools can use the university event as a model for doing their own math fair later.

**Invite a Guest Speaker**

Consider the possibility of inviting guest speakers. Are you in or near a college town? Often there are people in the Math department, or in the Education faculty who are interested in pre-university mathematics. If there is nobody directly involved with math fairs, look for people who have helped organize such things as math competitions, or who are known to be interested in what is commonly called "recreational mathematics".

Perhaps your local government representative might be interested.

If you wish to invite a speaker, and are not sure who to invite, see our list of contacts—we might be able to suggest someone.

A gentle warning might be in order here. For many people, the words "math fair" conjure up the image of a traditional science fair along with its poster presentations and attendant competition. All visiting speakers should be made aware that a SNAP math fair is quite different. Calling your math fair a SNAP math fair can help explain that it is not like a competitive science fair.

Perhaps your local government representative might be interested.

If you wish to invite a speaker, and are not sure who to invite, see our list of contacts—we might be able to suggest someone.

A gentle warning might be in order here. For many people, the words "math fair" conjure up the image of a traditional science fair along with its poster presentations and attendant competition. All visiting speakers should be made aware that a SNAP math fair is quite different. Calling your math fair a SNAP math fair can help explain that it is not like a competitive science fair.