Small Number

Adventures of Small Number

Over the last 12 years, we have worked to create a series of short stories and animated films that teach math skills and problem-solving within cultural contexts. The main character in all stories is a boy called Small Number, who has an impressive aptitude for mathematics and a proclivity for getting into mischief. Through these stories, we show students that young people, like Small Number, encounter mathematics and require knowledge of it daily. The stories highlight how mathematics can be interesting and applicable in real life problems.


A link with the PreTeXt book that contains all Small Number stories is available here: Adventures of Small Number: A collection of short stories.

A link with the PreTeXt book that contains classroom resources based on the Small Number stories is available here: Adventures of Small Number: Classroom Resources. No project such as this can be free from errors and incompleteness. I will be grateful to everyone who points out any typos, incorrect statements, or sends any other suggestion on how to improve these resources.

Bethany L'Heureux, a Cree artist:

This is a drawing of Small Number, his sister Perfect Number, his mom, and his grandma on the beach. Small Number and Perfect Number are wearing traditional powwow regalia, inspired by Cree performer James Jones (notoriouscree on social media). They have rainbow flowers sewn onto their outfits, along with rainbow bead headbands and two feathers that match the feathers in the Math Catcher's logo. Small Number's mom and sister are playing handmade traditional drums, and grandma is clapping along to their singing.

Small Number dances around a fire, surrounded by his family. The sun has set and the moon reflects off the water below. The fire brings light into the life his performance was giving off. I've made Small Number and his sister's outfits based off the Cree style because that's from my background.


Math Catcher Outreach Program

The Math Catcher Outreach program aims to promote mathematics and scholarship in general by encouraging elementary and high school students to recognize how math is used in everyday life and how it forms the basis for many of our daily decisions and life-long choices. The storytelling, puzzles, pictures, models, and hands-on activities encourage young people to enjoy math and help dispel myths that math is boring and abstract.

In the September 2022 issue, Notices of American Mathematical Society published Veselin Jungic's article Math Catcher Outreach Program.

The article describes various Program's activities over the last several years and discusses its aims and goals. For an additional information about the background of the Math Catcher Outreach Program, please see Veselin's article Two-Eyed Seeing: Mathematics and Indigenous Traditions and Cultures, published in Maple Transactions in September 2022.

More About Small Number

  • The Birth of Small Number: Veselin Jungic, Denise Low Horn, Wilf McDougall, Mark McLean, Rena Sinclair, and Natasha Water Chief, Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery, Banff, AB, November 22, 2009 picture
  • My name is "Small Number" and I was born in Banff, Alberta
  • Premiere of Small Number 1: Dexter Anakson, Andy Gavel, and Veselin Jungic, The IRMACS Centre, SFU, September 29, 2010 picture
  • Small Number in the CMS Notes