Playing with math at Geometry Point in Lafayette

Published: May 26, 2016
Cutting the ribbon at the formal dedication ceremony of Geometry Point

After five years and the hard work of nearly 200 students, faculty and community members, Geometry Point at Romero Park in Lafayette is now open. Filled with colorful geometric shapes, math equations and artful displays of arithmetic, the park was designed to make math fun.

“This project is about looking at math with new eyes,” said Kenzie Baker, a junior from Portola Valley, California, who is studying engineering physics. “Geometry Point is meant to be the one place kids can be around math without the pressure of a grade resting in whether or not they understand everything in the park.”

Beth Stade, math educator and lecturer at CU-Boulder, championed the project, alongside City of Lafayette officials and artist David Norrie.

“It was a community project, that is what I really enjoy,” said Norrie, blacksmith and artist. “A community, a group came together and created something.”

Norrie worked with students to create all the metalwork for Geometry Point. The metal sculptures at ground-level are reflected in one-dimensional displays on the awning above. Other features include a tactile multiplication table, a Fibonacci number scavenger hunt and a DaVinci-O-Matic photo maker.

“By building an integrated park exhibit that has multiple uses, we can have an impact of the community for 20 years or more as new generations discover the elements of the exhibit in the park,” said Stade.

The goal of Geometry Point is to increase public awareness of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in a playful and accessible way. Located in Romero Park, named in honor of Mike Romero, a longtime educator and former mayor of Lafayette, is fitting, said Stade.

“To bring Geometry Point to a park named for an important educator and part or the community is meaningful for everyone,” said Stade.

Geometry Point opened Wednesday, May 25, after a formal dedication ceremony, where university collaborators, including the Center for STEM Learning, the Office for Outreach and Engagement and the School of Engineering and city officials were recognized for their involvement. Funding for Geometry Point came from a National Science Foundation grant and support from a CU-Boulder Outreach award.

Photo: Geralyn Romero and Beth Stade cut the ribbon at Geometry Point on May 25, 2016.