FIELDS INSTITUTE FOR RESEARCH IN MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES
MATHED FORUM MEETING AGENDA
Making Math Classes More Engaging
29, 2012 at 10 am- 2 pm
Institute, 222 College Street, Toronto
NOTE: Use the provided link to download
teaching materials graciously offered by Ron Lancaster who presented
at the MathEd Forum in September 2012. The link will work for a
10:00 - 10:10 am.
Reports: OAME, OMCA, OCMA, CMESG, CMS, and other.
10:10 - 10:35 a.m.
Dave Medd (Centennial College): Spicing up the Bland - Making
Standard Math Material a Little More Engaging
Abstract: Most of what I teach (community college, semester
one and two) isn't overly exciting mathematics, which leaves me
trying to make it somewhat more engaging. From common topics with
hidden subtleties (e.g. a review of exponents) to spots to slide
in videos, humour or pop culture references, I hope to start a
discussion on tips, tricks and resources to make a class/lecture
more interesting. Just because what will show up on the test may
not be entertaining, that doesn't mean its initial presentation
can't be something to look forward to. At least a little.
Biography: Diverted from a teaching path shortly after
graduation, Dave felt the pull to return about ten years later
and has been teaching at the community college level for the past
six years with forays into private high schools and tutoring.
"Have calculator, will travel", as his sister says.
As a graduate student, Mathematical Logic and Set Theory were
primary interests and he remains convinced some interesting things
from those, and other, fascinating abstractions can be effectively
wormed into even quite low-level mathematics classes.
10:35 - 11:00 am
Miroslav Lovric (McMaster University): Motivating students
in a large life sciences math classroom
Abstract: Teaching about body mass index, or about strength
of a femur, or about forensics figuring out the location of impact
from blood splatters or about the spread of pollutants in Lake
Ontario in my life sciences math class, I find myself thinking
- this stuff is so cool, how can one *not* be interested in it?
It's things we must care about: our bodies, our health, our environment,
our planet ... However, in the sea of faces in my classroom, at
any moment, I can spot a few who are texting or checking their
friends' status updates on Facebook (and not even trying to hide
it as I pass by them).
Motivation is a tricky thing. In this presentation, I plan to
talk about my attempts at stimulating students' interest in my
classroom. What tools do I have at my disposal? Internet, real-life
situations with real data, employment statistics of life sciences
graduates, medical school acceptance rates. Does it all work?
Biography: Miroslav Lovric is a professor in the Department
of Mathematics and Statistics at McMaster University. His areas
of research interest include differential geometry, modeling in
medicine and biology, mathematics education and connections between
art, mathematics and architecture. Besides publishing in his research
areas, Miroslav published textbooks on vector calculus and mathematics
for life sciences, and is presently working on a book about mosaics
11:00 - 11:25 a.m
Doug Henrich (Halton District School Board):
Practical Ethics: Developing a Social Conscience
Aristotle identified six basic qualities of human nature:
- Common Sense
QUESTION: What would a classroom look like where learners
are encouraged to display and develop the six basic qualities of
ANSWER: A kindergarten or Grade 1 class.
Young children are hard-wired to learn and behave according to
group norms. As they grow older, do they change or does our educational
system change them?
QUESTION: How much laughter is there in your classroom? If
there is laughter is it generally with someone or at someone?
QUESTION: When was the last time that you told a joke in your
classroom or told a story about something that YOU did?
All too often in a diverse classroom we see Reason and Memory as
the common element, and that is what we teach to. I will leave numbers
1 through 5 to you as all of you are experts in what you teach.
I want to share with you my thoughts on how Number 6, Ethics, can
be introduced and appreciated by learners in a diverse classroom
environment. I will draw from my experience teaching ethics to Grade
10, 11, and 12 Computer Engineering students.
Abstract: Ethics is an important aspect of all students'
lives. It is difficult to present ethics to students in a manner
that both engages them and provides practical strategies that
they can apply both inside and outside the classroom. This is
especially difficult when they may not even know what ethics is
or confuse ethics with morality. This discussion will outline
an approach that has proven successful for high school Computer
Engineering students in grades 10, 11 and 12. The complete paper
and additional support material can be found on my course website
[ http://chatt.hdsb.ca/~henrichd ] in the Ethics folder on the
Biography: Douglas Henrich has been a Mathematics, Computer
Engineering and Computer Science teacher at Iroquois Ridge High
School, Oakville, Ontario for the last nine years. He lives in
Burlington with his wife Marianne, who is a vision itinerant teacher
working with blind and low-vision students, and their cat, Archie.
Prior to becoming a teacher, Doug spent over twenty-five years
working within the police and private security sector and is a
former Peel Regional Police Officer. Doug is trained as a CPTED
Level I Practitioner (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design),
Use of Force Theory Instructor and has worked as a Security Analyst/Security
Consultant where he conducted both CPTED Reviews and facilitated
Focus Groups for a wide variety of clients. Doug has worked as
a Law and Security instructor at Conestoga College, Kitchener
and has served as the Vice-Chair on their Law & Security/Police
Foundations Advisory Panel. Doug is also a past sessional instructor
at Sheridan College, Oakville teaching Information Ethics to 4th
year students in the Bachelor of Applied Information Science program.
As well, Doug is the author of Patrol Procedures for Private Security
Professionals (Pearson, 2001). Doug has presented on ethics topics
at the Board level as well as for the Grand Valley Mathematics
Association (November, 2011) and the Ontario Association of Mathematics
Educators (OAME) in May, 2012.
11:25 - 11 :35 a.m.
Judy Mendaglio (Peel School Board): Use of blogs in math
11:35 - 12 :00 p.m.
LUNCH BREAK (Light refreshments provided)
1:00 - 2:00 p.m
Ann LeSage (University of Ontario Institute of Technology-UOIT):
Becoming Critical Consumers of Children's Literature for Teaching
Abstract: Although research highlights the benefits of integrating
children's literature for teaching mathematics; the benefits can
only be realized if the quality of the literature utilized is sufficiently
high. Unfortunately, most teacher resource books and published journal
articles focus on how to use specific children's literature to teach
mathematics rather than how to assess the quality of children's
books. To further complicate this situation, textbook publishers
often recommend books that are of questionable quality from a literacy
and/or numeracy perspective.
- In an effort to address this situation and encourage teachers
to become critical consumers of the literature used in mathematics,
I created two Reflective Checklists. One Checklist explores criteria
specific to "Early Counting" books; while the other
Checklist explores the literacy and numeracy criteria applicable
to children's picture books. During this presentation, I will:
introduce the two Reflective Checklists
- invite participants to critique and share their analyses on
the quality of a selection of children's books;
- introduce a website (http://education.uoit.ca/words2numbers/)
developed for K-8 teachers interested in sharing lessons that
integrate math and literature; and
- Solicit advice to improve the checklists and website.
Biography: Ann has had the pleasure of exploring mathematics
with pre-service elementary teachers for the past 10 years. Currently,
she teaches elementary math methods courses and a course dedicated
to improving the math content knowledge and efficacy of pre-service
elementary teachers in the Faculty of Education at the University
of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT). Through her research,
Ann aims to better understand the fundamental components that influence
the teaching and learning of elementary mathematics. Over the past
four years, Ann has focused predominately on pre-service elementary
teachers' mathematical knowledge; and the potential barriers and
supports which may cultivate this knowledge, including short-term
interventions (e.g., 9-week math content course) and the inclusion
of technology and web-based learning tools.
Ron Lancaster (University of Toronto): Engaging students
with digital content
Abstract: We can touch the lives of our students and engage
them in deep mathematical thinking by using digital content such
as photos, videos and newspaper articles as the basis of the questions
we ask and assign to our students. Ron Lancaster will provide examples
and will Field questions about how teachers can use these ideas
to engage and excite their students.
Biography: Ron taught middle and high school mathematics
for over 20 years. He is now a Senior Lecturer in mathematics education
at OISE/UT. Additionally Ron works as a mathematics consultant for
international, private & public schools, educational organizations,
and technology companies.
Ron sees mathematics everywhere and never leaves home without his
pair of math glasses and camera so that he is always ready to snap
photos of numbers, patterns, shapes, solids, curves and shadows.
Throughout his career Ron has made connections between the mathematics
curriculum and daily life in an effort to help students appreciate
and enjoy mathematics.
Ron has been a presenter at hundreds of conferences, including
the Phillips Exeter Academy Mathematics and Technology Conference;
NCTM Annual and Regional Conferences; OAME Annual Conferences; East
Asia Regional Council of Overseas Schools Conferences; and National
Conferences on Graphing Calculators in Malaysia. The topics for
his workshops address a wide range of issues such as connecting
mathematics with art, music and literature; the use of photos and
videos as a way of promoting mathematical enquiry; and the use of
handheld technology, computer software such as the Geometer's Sketchpad
and interactive whiteboards. He was a member of the grades 9-12
Writing Team for the NCTM's Principles and Standards for School
Mathematics (2000). He created two columns (Media Clips and the
Mathematical Lens) for the Mathematics Teacher published by the
NCTM. He has designed Math Trails in Singapore's Fort Canning Park
and the NUS Art Museum and for Math for America in Manhattan at
MoMA, Museum of Natural History, Ellis Island, Bronx Zoo, Madison
Square Park, NYU and Columbia University.
Ron is presently a member of the Advisory Board for the Museum of
Mathematics in New York City.
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