MathEd Forum

January 16, 2018


Theme: Mathematics and Equity
, 2015 at 10 am-2 pm
Fields Institute, 222 College Street, Toronto


Reimagining and Reimaging Mathematics

10:00 AM - 10:15 AM Reports: OAME, OMCA, OCMA, CMESG, CMS, and other.

10:15 AM - 10:45 AM Miroslav Lovric (McMaster University)

Abstract: The agenda of this meeting is to discuss constructive attempts at answering important questions about teaching mathematics at all levels (with a focus on secondary and tertiary education). We feel that many things are broken, and need to be fixed. Today's speakers will try to identify what some of these broken things are, and suggest ways of changing and improving them. In my presentation, I will try-as an introduction to the day-to sketch a landscape in which we teach mathematics today. I will mention several ideas and projects that have emerged as attempts at dealing with the inevitable "math in the 21st century question" in the contexts of teaching math and math education. For some potential controversy, I will question our common assumptions about teaching math, both in high school and in university.

Bio: For me, being a mathematician means getting involved in many things that I love and care for. I like working on some good math problems-presently, it is modelling severity of allergic reactions to peanuts and trying to figure out what exactly is the shape of sea urchin's shell. I like teaching-for me it is a passion, it is sharing what I know about math, and showing to my students that math is not only useful, but also meaningful, beautiful and in many ways surprising. I like writing about math, since it forces me to rethink many things that I believe I know, and helps me discover new ways of thinking about them. Not to appear too weird, I must mention that I like other things: travel, long (and short) walks on the beach, coffee, reading books, and almost anything with a Muskoka Brewery label.

10:45 AM - 12:15 PM George Hart (Stony Brook University): Informal Math Education through Hands-On Constructions, Art, and 3D-Printing

Abstract: Geometric sculptures, mathematical puzzles, insightful videos, hands-on workshop activities, and the museum of mathematics in NYC are all means to demonstrate that math is a living, creative, joyful subject---i.e., that Math is Cool! Hart will present and discuss a variety of these works from his creative output, and show you some giant mathematical artworks, 3D printed mathematical models, and original workshop projects. For examples of his work, see

Workshop: Card Construction

In this workshop, everyone will build a unique mathematical construction from giant playing cards that are joined using slots. It is rather challenging to assemble, but the symmetry of the structure will be a guide for finding the appropriate connections. Participants can each take home their own model, which will be similar to the design shown at, but much larger. I have led this workshop many times in many forms all around the world and it has proven to be a fun way to get students to see that math can be creative and beautiful, while introducing some notions of 3D symmetry.

Bio: George Hart is a sculptor and applied mathematician who demonstrates how mathematics is cool and creative in ways you might not have expected. Whether he is slicing a bagel into two linked halves or leading hundreds of participants in an intricate geometric sculpture barn raising, he always finds original ways to share the beauty of mathematical thinking. An interdepartmental research professor at Stony Brook University, he holds a B.S. in Mathematics and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT. Hart is an organizer of the annual Bridges Conference on mathematics and art and the editor for sculpture for the Journal of Mathematics and the Arts. His research explores innovative ways to use computer technology in the design and fabrication of his artwork, which has been exhibited widely around the world. Hart co-founded the Museum of Mathematics in New York City and developed its initial set of hands-on exhibits. He also makes videos that show the fun and creative sides of mathematics. See for examples of his work.

12:15 PM - 1:00 PM LUNCH BREAK (Light refreshments provided)

1:00 PM-2:00 PM Peter Taylor (Queen's University): Design and construction-a new curriculum model.

Abstract: Many of us have been talking for long time about a school curriculum with better, bigger, richer problems and geometry-shape and form-has always been a big part of the discussion. Progress has been slow and there are many reasons for that but I feel that one of the reasons for my own failures in this game is that I have been working with the current (pervasive) curriculum model and this richer curriculum needs a new model (like an exotic fruit tree that needs more than a bigger pot and better soil). I will suggest that we have to start with a new set of curriculum objectives and then let the curriculum evolve organically from that. I will give a number of examples.

Bio: At heart I'm a mathematician. Of all intellectual pursuits, I have found mathematics to be the truest and the most faithful. It has beauty and chaos, but there's always a hard diamond at its core. I spend my research time either as a biologist (modeling behaviour, inclusive fitness, evolutionary stability) or as an educator (developing curriculum, both at the high school and university level). All this involves lots of beautiful (and elementary) math, so I'm pretty happy with my work. I am cross-appointed to both the Biology Department and the Faculty of Education.


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