May 12

Women in Math Day!

By: Casey Vreeken

Today, on May 12th we join the world in inspiring women everywhere to celebrate their achievements in mathematics!

This day was chosen to honor Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani, as it is her birthday. Maryam was one of the world’s leading experts in geometry and dynamic systems. She was also the only woman to have received Math’s highest honor, the Fields medal for her contributions to the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces. Maryam’s life was cut short in 2017 when she passed away from cancer. 

Looking for ways to inspire a love of math in the children you care for? Try this STEAM Activity that combines art and math and helps kids see the beauty of math! With a few supplies your child can use geometry to create art.


  • Watercolor paper
  • Small piece of cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Crayon or oil pastel
  • Watercolor paints
  • Brush


  1. Use scissors to cut the cardboard into a geometric shape like a triangle, square, etc. You can do more than one shape if desired.
  2. With a crayon or oil pastel trace the shape on the paper. 
  3. Move the shape so it overlaps the first in some way and trace again.
  4. Continue moving, overlapping and tracing the shape for as long as desired
  5. Stop and observe the shapes. Some questions you might discuss are:
    • What types of shapes do you see now? 
    • Are they all the same? 
    • Did overlapping the original shape make new and different shapes? 
    • How many sides do each of the shapes have?
  6. Use watercolor to paint each section created by overlapping the shapes. The wax of the crayon or the oil in the oil pastel acts as a barrier to keep the watercolor paint from mixing.

Looking to learn more about women in math? Try reading one of these books about a woman mathematician: 

Maryam’s Magic: The Story of Mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani

The Girl With a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague 

Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13

Emmy Noether: The Most Important Mathematician You’ve Never Heard Of

Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain

Margaret and the Moon

Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code