By Karen Angelo
From TV shows to music videos, the “Math with Matthew” program is changing the way kids learn.
The brainchild of Graduate School of Education alumnus Matthew Beyranevand, the innovative teaching program infuses popular culture into math instruction to reach the minds of today’s students.
As the K-12 Mathematics and Science coordinator for the Chelmsford Public Schools, Beyranevand produces and hosts a public access television show and creates music videos with the students to communicate math concepts.
“I decided to be a teacher in college when I became a teaching assistant,” says Beyranevand. “The excitement and energy of helping students understand had me hooked.”
“Math with Matthew” started four years ago with one-off math and science related music videos with other teachers and students.
“I started to see how bringing new ways to communicate with students into my teaching methods could combine to do great things,” he says.
Beyranevand recently completed a 16-month pilot project for a “Bill Nye the Science Guy” style show that explains the Pythagorean theorem. “Math with Matthew: The Pythagorean Project” has aired in more than 30 Massachusetts communities and has won several awards. The math music videos recently captured the attention of WBZ Channel 4 news.
He also produces and hosts “Science with Matthew” spotlighting the science and innovation fairs in Chelmsford, as well as “Eye on PARCC” which familiarizes the educational community with the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), a system of standardized assessments.
Beyranevand has used music videos to include the arts into learning.
“I felt that taking the STEM acronym and adding an A for the arts to make STEAM just made sense,” said Beyranevand, “I wanted to create engaging media that helps kids enjoy mathematics.”
His work with students and viewers doesn’t end with his television and video programs. His website, www.mathwithmatthew.com, was first launched to host his many music videos, and has developed into a multimedia resource that features articles, a math blog and podcast. It has become a useful resource for math teachers to learn unique and fun methods to help increase their students’ interest in mathematics.
Having earned his master’s in 2003 and doctorate in 2010 from the Graduate School of Education (GSE), Beyranevand gained the skills he needed to conduct mathematics education research.
“Matthew’s master’s and doctoral work at the GSE showed his ability to apply theory and research to the world of practice and to do so creatively,” said Dean of the Graduate School of Education Anita Greenwood. “His enthusiasm for making mathematics accessible and exciting for students is beyond compare.”
In addition to articles from his dissertation on investigating multiple representations of mathematical concepts, he has had articles published on the impact of popular culture on mathematics instruction.
“My time at UMass Lowell was nothing short of excellent,” he says. “The master’s program in education helped make me into a strong teacher and the doctoral program helped prepared me to take on a greater leadership role in math and science. Prof. Regina Panasuk, my mentor and dissertation chair, was instrumental in my professional development and growth.”