Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Integrated Article


Master of Arts




Gadanidis George


In this thesis, I am going to share my analysis of an aesthetic mathematical experience which happened while I designed and created a pop-up math story. My aim in analyzing this experience is to better understand it and to make a model for other educators who are seeking to design aesthetic mathematical experiences. My research question is: What factors come into play when an educator immerses herself in the process of designing an aesthetic mathematical experience? My research uses qualitative analysis with a focus on narrative inquiry. My focus is on my personal experience designing a mathematics curriculum experience for students, using the context of a popup story that I authored. To better understand my experience, it is appropriate to see it as a narrative that I lived and to analyze it using narrative inquiry. The analysis of my experience identified five factors that came into play: surprise/insight, constructing, immersion, ‘seeing as”, and audience.

Summary for Lay Audience

In my previous master program, I had one elective course related to teaching and learning. I was interested in this subject and I chose to study education as my second master program. Since I had a background in science and mathematics, I decided to work with the professor whose focus was on mathematics education. As a research assistant, I was observing a math activity in a preservice teacher class called ‘“Making 10”’ which was designed by my supervisor. What differentiates this activity from the other regular ones is the mathematical surprise and insight that students experience in this activity. I became motivated to display this surprise of ‘“Making 10”’ in the pop-up context due to the experience I had in pop-up card making. I could see a similarity between the “Making 10” activity and the pop-up structure. Unexpectedly, different mathematical surprises appeared which led me to experience more mathematical discoveries and AHA! moments. I came to believe that such experiences are unique and precious in mathematics education and we, as educators, should consider providing activities in which students experience mathematical surprise and discovery. Therefore, my supervisor and I chose to investigate the process of creating the pop-up mathematical experience/surprise as my thesis research to identify the factors which helped me in this process. The aim of this thesis is to pave the way to some extend for other educators who intend to design aesthetic mathematical experiences for students.