It’s not a coincidence that a documentary about Anthony Bourdain comes out months before my final book, where an entire chapter is about him and the lens he gave me to see my relationship with mathematics with the same feral and romantic perspective that marked his entire career as a storyteller, author, and world renowned personality.

Soon as I started watching the trailer, I felt the overwhelming emotions coming. I could see the tsunami of it all coming. I let it wash over me. …


Think of the moment when kids understand that fingers — not just their fingers — is a way to count. Think also when they count two for legs on a chicken and also time passage in terms of days. There is a ton of abstraction that we all fall into right from the beginning. The abstraction leap from something like three fingers to the number “3” might be one of the biggest that we rarely acknowledge to the time that it deserves. …


I wanted to find an image that tried to give the best representation of mathematical habitats in schools — colorful birds, some similarity of a natural environment, etc. But, in the end, there were cages. There was a boundary. There were limits.

Most of our classrooms in terms of mathematics are nicely curated zoo cages. We call them grade levels. One of the worst things that happened in mathematics was the belief that some topics were relegated to certain grade bands. …


Back in Fall of 2019, I began writing my third — and final — book. I had a loose title/theme about this constant, steady movement towards unknown ideas about math. My gut instinct told me that there would be much to unpack in terms of a whole book, so I proceeded. The main reason I gave myself a green light to undergo the 18 months of writing was that this lifetime pursuit — the movement itself — has been a locus of wellness.

Mathematics has made me a better person, friend, and father. It has given me a colorful lens…


Numbers. Your basic operations. Some advanced operations — “power ups” as wonderfully coined by the wise and whimsical Berkeley Everett, who is K to 5 Math Facilitator at UCLA Math Projects. His background also includes being a classical and jazz pianist.

Two weeks ago, I showed a particular set of four Albert’s Insomnia cards that I dealt out a few years back. They looked innocuous, but some magic lay far up ahead to those particular cards.


The phrase falling behind — regardless of what it is — implies you are involved in a race that has been branded important by someone other than yourself. It also implies a velocity to catch-up/stay in the race.

Races are to be won and lost. Trophies given out to the winners and medals of regret, shame, and loss of self-worth to the losers. Be wary of people who utter these phrases. …


Pink Floyd’s The Wall

I have a confession to make. I am not a math person. Yes, math is a large part of my life, but it washes through me like other things I am curious/passionate about — music, art, film, literature, sports, etc. I understand the statement, especially since its aim is to provide comfort/solace to those who have been unsuccessful with math — especially those who have suffered trauma with the subject.

But, I am just a person who relishes and dabbles in many things, and enjoys all the bounty of knowledge that the universe has to offer. Mathematics is no greater…


One of the pillars of Social and Emotional Learning(SEL) is the healthy development of all the emotions of our students, and the consequent management of them in their learning.

In mathematics, SEL does not play a significant enough role in the learning — and appreciation — of mathematics. While emotions like anger/frustration compete with joy/elation on the other end, these emotions are outputs after the mathematics has been done. And, for the most part, they just wander and drift aimlessly from student to student. So yes, anger exists and joy exists. But, so do others.

What if we got in…


How many non-white people are questioning anti-racist math education? I would venture to say almost zero. There is a dangerous space of conversation, led by white people, that say we need to critically look at things, adopting the default Platonist view of mathematics — and that it should be looked at first.

In short, that Western perspective, is only one perspective, but has been the dominant one in math education from the get go. So, when discussions start happening about anti-racist math education(ARME), good intentioned math educators feel compelled to man/Eurocentricsplain that there is nothing inherently racist about the way…


Remarkable photo. A strange meeting of coffee and cream, creating a transient moment of the yin yang symbol.

I took that photo.

I took that photo 8 years ago. It was the coffee of my close friend and math mentor, Peter Harrison. Peter is also a practicing Buddhist. Four months after this picture was taken, I would quit teaching.

I had lost my balance.

In 2021, I am going to argue that mathematics, as viewed and digested by society, has lost its balance as well. One of my first articles on Medium that had some resonance was the one below.

Sunil Singh

Author of Pi of Life: The Hidden Happiness of Mathematics and Co-Author of Math Recess: Playful Learning in the Age of Disruption. Speaker. Amplify and Mathigon

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store