The Pathematics™ Runway looks huge.  Why is it so big?

The main idea behind Pathematics™ is to allow children to associate numbers with a real position in space, so the Runway has to be large enough for students to move from one position to another.  The spacing between the elements is really about as tight as possible, but a Runway is still about 70 feet long and about eight feet wide.  It’s an impressive sight, and kids are drawn to the colorful space. The good news is that just about every school has an existing underutilized space that can be used for a Runway.

How is a Pathematics™ Runway installed?

Outdoor Runways are painted on concrete using a series of foam paint stamps (it takes about 40 person-hours to paint one, and it’s great fun!).  For inside we offer a colorful eye-grabbing carpeted version.  These durable, plush Runways provide a soft and safe surface for learning math, and allow you to turn a hallway or gym floor into a unique teaching environment in just minutes.

What math concepts does Pathematics™ address?

Most of the math concepts covered in elementary school curricula can be “performed” on the Pathematics™ Runway.  Following is a partial list of math concepts covered:

  • Number sense
  • Addition and subtraction
  • Multiplication and division
  • Fractions and decimals
  • Large number manipulation
  • Percentages
  • Statistics
  • Prime and composite numbers
  • Exponential notation
  • Negative numbers
  • Graphing and data analysis
  • Coordinate systems

What is the meaning of all the colors?

The color system used in Pathematics™ is the same as that used in Montessori schools all over the world.  In this system, the number one is associated with the color red, two is green, three is pink, and so on.  Often in Pathematics™ activities, students play the “roles” of numbers, wearing a green jersey to “be” number two, and stepping only on those green dots.  A “green student” can take eight steps on the green dots to work out the equation 2 x 8 = 16.

How are lessons learned out on the Runway carried back into the classroom?

Of course, we encourage teachers to explore the same math concepts on the Runway that their students are currently studying in their classroom work, and to use the same terminology.  It is also critical to back up every Pathematics™ activity with written numbers, equations, words and diagrams.  That’s why instructors usually wear an apron with a dry erase board velcroed to the front.  This way they (or the students) can back up everything that happens on the Runway with written symbols, just like they’ll see in the classroom or on a test.  The apron has roomy pockets for storage of items needed in the activities.  You can think of the apron/white board as a sort of “mobile classroom,” so you can spend your time teaching instead of scrambling around to find materials.

Do students play games on the Runway, or do they just follow instructions or observe lessons?

Activities range from fairly tame, worksheet-driven exercises to very active games that involve running, throwing and tagging. Some activities ask students to go out onto the Runway on “scavenger hunts” to find rows matching a certain pattern. Sometimes students are trying to solve a hidden code on the Runway. Still other activities can be done in the classroom with a small, tabletop version of the Runway.