This Week in Math Ed: May 13, 2016

Math Ed Said

May 6: "Why Math Education Doesn't Add Up" along with a radio interview with Steven Strogatz appeared on PRI's Innovation Hub. Strogatz grapples with a tough truth: In general, most everyone gets through their adult lives just fine without using much of the high school math they were required to take. And yet while we all forget the quadratic formula, without consequence, we seem to collectively struggle with essential numeracy.

Shared by: Steven Strogatz, Dan Anderson, John Golden, Dan Meyer, Malyn Mawby, Dan Anderson, Jocelyn Dagenais, MathDDSB, OCTM, Steve Phelps, Earl Samuelson, Dan Allen

May 7: If there's been a more bizarrely disappointing story this year to hit TWiME, I can't remember it. "Ivy League economist ethnically profiled, interrogated for doing math on American Airlines flight" describes xenophobia and paranoia run amok.

Shared by: Kent Haines, Egan J Chernoff, Earl Samuelson, Francis Su, Michael Welch, Allison Krasnow, Shannon Houghton, Dave Richeson, Megan Schmidt, Robin Hosemann, Sahar Khatri, Amy Hogan, solve my maths, Nick Yates, Adrian Pumphrey, Andy Zsiga, Shannon Houghton, Eddi Vulić, Spencer Bagley, Keith Devlin, David Petro, T R, Ralph Pantozzi, Robbyn Glinsmann, Linda Hoang

May 8: Is this awkward? I feel like this is awkward. (Just kidding!) Somehow I didn't discover the weekly "Ontario Math Links" posts until a month or two ago, after I started TWiME. The Ontario Math Links predates TWiME by several years, and it's really my fault for not knowing about it. I'm happy to say that my posts and their posts are more complementary than redundant. The Ontario Math Links for the week ending May 6th, for example, highlights resources shared and talked about during the annual conference of the Ontario Association for Mathematics Education, something that didn't come up on TWiME.

Shared by: David Petro, Heather Theijsmeijer, Mark Chubb, Jon Orr, Matthew Oldridge, Kyle Pearce, Jennifer Lawler, Mary Bourassa, Laura Wheeler

May 9: On Monday people were (re)tweeting a post by John Rowe called "The Best Worksheet I have ever (re)written." It uses the "reversing the question" method credited to Fawn Nguyen to take some pretty run-of-the-mill textbook problems and give them some new direction.

Shared by: Jon Orr, Mary Bourassa, Eddi Vulić, Shelley Carranza, Amy Scales, Fawn Nguyen, WMC - WI MathCouncil, TODOS

May 10: Tuesday is Global Math Department day, and people were excited for Carl Oliver's "Teaching the Mathematical Practices Through Non-Routine Problems."

Shared by: Mary Gambrel, Global Math, Carl Oliver, Sharon Vestal, Geoff Krall, Megan Schmidt, April Pforts, Kent Haines

May 11: Instead of listening so much to Andrew Hacker, Patrick Honner says "When it Comes to Math Teaching, Let's Listen to Math Teachers."

Commentary: Listening to math teachers is a big part of my job. It's probably my favorite part. I agree with Patrick, that we should be listening to math teachers. But I also want to point out that listening isn't the same as getting answers, and you won't need to listen to very many math teachers in order to find differences in opinion. But in and of itself, that is one great reason to listen — the needs, wants, and beliefs of the math teaching community are not distributed evenly. Debates about the value of the content we teach existed before Hacker's name showed up in the New York Times, and math teachers will still be debating it long after the paperbacks of Hacker's book are cleared from the bargain bin. In fact, everyone should read The Saber-Tooth Curriculum (1939) to see how, possibly, some form of the Hacker debate has been happening since the dawn of mankind. From the math teachers I've been listening to (like here and elsewhere), this particular debate plays out more or less just as you'd expect: a system designed to open opportunities to more students (by putting more on a path to calculus) might inadvertently now be too restrictive and out-of-date (by making our mathematical pathways too narrow). It's a debate worth having, and Hacker is welcome to add his voice, but listening too much to any one voice is not a very good formula for progress.

Shared by: Math for America, Dan Anderson, Kate Nowak, Elizabeth Statmore, Ilana Horn, Tim Hudson, Jennifer Lawler, Keith Devlin, David Butler, Kathy H, James Tanton, Peg Cagle, Bowen Kerins, John Allen Paulos, Jack Brown

May 12: People were still buzzing about Patrick's post from the 11th, but not far behind were tweets about "Twitter 6000," a set of resources courtesy of the ATM.

Shared by: ATM, Learning Maths, The NCETM, solve my maths, Laura T, Danny Brown, Simon Gregg, Helen Williams

Around the Math Ed Web

I mentioned Carl Oliver's Global Math talk above, and next week you should be on the lookout for "How Do They Relate? Teaching Students to Make Mathematical Connections by Global Math Department" by Tracy Zager.

Proposal deadlines:
  • NCTM Research Conference: Not yet announced
  • NCSM Annual Conference: June 1, 2016
  • AMTE Annual Conference: May 15, 2016
  • RUME Conference: There are two deadlines for the Research in Undergraduate Mathematics Education Conference: August 19, 2016 is the deadline for preliminary, theoretical, and contributed reports, and December 2, 2016, is the deadline for poster reports, and that has rolling acceptances. The next RUME conference is February 23-25, 2017, in San Diego.

Research Notes

First up is the June 2016 issue of the International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education:
From AERA Open:
The first articles of 2016 for the International Journal for Mathematics Teaching and Learning (from Plymouth University in the UK and the College of Nyiregyháza, Hungary) has these open-access items:
The first 2016 issue of the Journal of Statistics Education is now available, looking all bright and shiny on its new Taylor & Francis home. Annoyingly, the shiny new home does a lousy job at telling me where the authors are from, when it tells me at all.
A lone new article has appeared in the very specialized Technology Innovations in Statistics Education:

Math Ed in Colorado

It isn't math-specific, but you should be aware that CDE is conducting an Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) listening tour around Colorado. There's still a lot of ESSA details to work out for CDE and districts alike, so if you want to know more or have some input, these meetings are a great place to start.

PD opportunities:
Job openings:
  • NEW: Platte Canyon High School in Bailey, CO, needs a math teacher for grades 9-12. At this time, the schedule includes Algebra 1 and several honors classes, including Precalculus. Bailey is a beautiful, small mountain community about an hour southwest of Denver and PCHS enrolls about 300 students. Class sizes are in the twenties or lower. Please apply to
  • Eagle Valley HS (Eagle County) is looking for a teacher certified to teach dual enrollment courses. Applicants who have taken masters-level math courses and can be credentialed with CMC to teach dual enrollment courses will receive strong consideration. See the school website for more information and here to apply for the job.
  • Lake County School District in Leadville is looking for a 7th and 8th grade math teacher. If you are interested in joining a math department that combines Jo Boaler's work with Expeditionary Learning while living in a small town in the mountains, this job is for you. More information and an application can be found at their website.