MATHEMATICS EDUCATION FORUM

November 27, 2014

FIELDS MATHEMATICS EDUCATION FORUM
MINUTES - April 26, 2003

Present: Bob Bryan, Aaron Childs, Stewart Craven, Shirley Dalrymple, Ysbrand de Bruyn, Cyril Garner, Miroslav Lovric, Eric Muller, Mollie O'Neill, David Poole, Fred Pulfer, Iouldouz Raguinov, Tom Salisbury, Silvana Simone, Reka Szasz, Peter Taylor, Matt Valeriote, Walter Whiteley

Regrets: Gila Hanna, Bradd Hart

1. Presentation by Shirley Dalrymple and Silvana Simone on Mathematics involving double cohort
-OAC (Calculus, Algebra, Geometry) and Grade 12 (Advanced Functions and Introduction to Calculus, Geometry and Discrete Mathematics)
-Shirley showed a video of Grade 12s and OACs worked through problems and discussed what they thought about the problems and the steps they took in solving them
- -OAC students differentiated between difficult and unenjoyable more than grade 12s
- -OAC students also emphasized applicability of skills more than did the grade 12s
-Sample question given to both groups: "If a function is symmetric, is its derivative symmetric?"
- -12s have much more experience visualizing functions, whereas the OACs used their calculators more
-Questions about Categories of Mathematics: The big question about these categories is how are teachers supposed to mark each one separately?
- -Knowledge and understanding
- -Application
- -Thinking/Inquiry/Problem Solving
- -Communication

Copies of handouts circulated during the presentation:
Assessment Rubrics
January 2003 Final Exam
Parametric Activity
Parametric Equations
Using Polynomials in Design
Vector Performance Tasks
Vitamin Calculus

The following handouts compare equivalent mathematics courses on either side of the double cohort:
Comparison of OAC Finite Math and Grade 12 Mathematics of Data Management
Comparison of OAC Calculus and Grade 12 Advanced Functions and Introductory Calculus
Comparison of OAC Algebra and Geometry and Grade 12 Geometry and Discrete

Some points/themes worth mentioning:
-Student comments regarding technology generally focussed on visulaization and how this can contribute to comprehension
-It is important to distinguish between positivism and constructivism
-Between the years, the content and other fundamentals have not changed as much as the approach
-It has in the past been very difficult to give kids the chance to figure out problems themselves, and programs have often been teacher-centric; now, however, there is more of a student-centric approach emerging; before, the idea was "Just the facts," but now students are being asked, "Why is this important?"
-Similarly, social collaboration is emphasized/nurtured more in the new curriculum.
-Teachers may be moving away from 'teaching to the test', but there is still the possibility of teaching towards expectations.
-One major question to ask is whether the emphasis on thinking may somehow hurt student ability to perform more basic tasks, such as textbook problems