April 23, 2014

August 5-9, 2014
Workshop on Making Models:
Stimulating Research In Rigidity Theory And Spatial-Visual Reasoning
Held at the Fields Institute

Organizing Committee:
Stewart Craven, Ontario Science Centre and York University
Wendy Finbow-Singh, St. Mary's University
Ami Mamolo, University of Ontario Institute of Technology
Elissa Ross, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Bernd Schulze, Lancaster University
Adnan Sljoka, University of Colorado Boulder and Ryerson University


The design, development, and use of models are prominent in the work of many mathematicians as they investigate, illustrate, and communicate key ideas in the discipline. In particular, researchers in the field of discrete geometry frequently explore questions based on visual models, whether they are pictorial (e.g., a diagram or picture), physical (e.g., a tactile three dimensional object) or virtual (e.g., digital animations). Similarly, mathematics educators are asking questions based on the use, development, and purpose of models for fostering specific content knowledge as well as important mathematical practices such as spatial reasoning, generalization, and proof. The aim of this workshop is to bring together researchers in the fields of rigidity theory and mathematics education to make models, share research using or inspired by models, and reflect on pedagogical elements of model-making and model-use. The workshop is inspired by the distinguished career of Professor Walter Whiteley who has made important contributions to both discrete geometry and mathematics education, and whose passion for the use of models informs his research in both fields. Through this conference we hope to both celebrate the contributions and directions of his work, while also pushing forward to explore the new frontiers of these research disciplines.

The first part of the workshop will bring together leading experts in the field of rigidity theory to share new research and work on open problems. The second part of the workshop will focus on key issues in education research and practice that connect to the mathematical content and thinking processes inherent in rigidity theory, with specific attention to visual and spatial reasoning in and for school and post-secondary mathematics. All attendees are warmly invited to participate in both parts of the workshop.

Confirmed Speakers as of April 21
Benjamin Braun --University of Kentucky
David Henderson --Cornell University
Donna Kotsopoulos -- Wilfrid Laurier University
Nora Newcombe --Temple University
Louis Freie Theran -- Universität Berlin
Walter Whiteley --York University

Draft Schedule