This Week in Math Ed: July 1, 2016

Welcome to the 26th TWiME, marking the half-way point of 2016! I'm posting this a week behind my hoped-for schedule, so to catch up I'll abbreviate this TWiME to be just "Math Ed Said." The rest of the usual bits can wait for the next post.

Math Ed Said

June 24: Everyone was talking about Brexit, including math teachers. They shared the Washington Post story, "The British are frantically Googling what the E.U. is, hours after voting to leave it," highlighting some of the post-vote confusion and uncertainty.

Shared by: Robin Mathews, Markus Sgbi, Julie Reulbach, Janice Cotcher, Matt Owen, Keith Devlin

June 25: A number of stories were shared by four people each, but I'll choose @druin's: "Making Thinking Visible - Chapter 1."

Shared by: Druin, Mary Dooms, Bridget Dunbar, Pam J. Wilson

June 26: Four people shared a geometry problem on Solve My Maths involving the fraction of an octagon occupied by a center square.

Shared by: solve my maths, Jamie Duncan, Amie Albrecht, John Golden

June 27: While a number of people were already talking about Tau Day (see June 28th below), Sara VanDerWerf's post, "Secondary Number Talks (I’ll convince you with ducks)" was popular on the 27th. High school teachers are prone to complain about the lack of arithmetic fluency, and Sara suggests we re-evaluate our claims of not having enough time to build that fluency with some strategically placed number talks.

Shared by: Sara VanDerWerf, Megan Schmidt, Crystal Kirch, Norma Gordon, Kaitie O'Bryan, Debbie Hurtado

June 28: Evelyn Lamb, writing at Scientific American, gives us "49 Ways to Celebrate the Most Perfect Day of the Year." If you're not one to get excited by the number tau, maybe perfect numbers are the thing for you on June 28.

Shared by: Evelyn Lamb, Patrick Honner, Zach Cresswell, Taylor Belcher, Rebecca Gasper, Kyle Harlow, Robert Cop, michiexile

Diane Briars and Matt Larson at NCTM 2016
June 29: People can't seem to resist jumping to conclusions when it comes to international assessments and the data they produce. Recently, an OECD report about the PISA led some to speculate that curriculum should emphasize pure math over applied math. Not so fast, says NCTM president Matt Larson, who urges us to "Read Beyond the Headlines." The 200+ page OECD report mentions a number of strategies to help expand opportunities for all students to learn mathematics, including building upon coherent standards, reducing the impacts of tracking, and learning to teach heterogeneous classes of students.

Shared by: Matt Larson, NCTM, Jennifer Lawler, Bridget Dunbar, Greg George, Max Ray-Riek, Eric Milou, Kelly Stidham

June 30: "The Problem with Story Problems" by Anita Bright in Rethinking Schools is likely to challenge you with its examples of bias, privilege, normativity we typically see in math word problems. It's easy for me to read something like this and think, "Okay, yes, I agree, go really, you're taking issue with wallpaper?" I have to remind myself that this article isn't about the wallpaper or any other particular example, and I'd be foolish to be derailed by such a detail. Focus on the bigger picture: the worldly contexts in which we mathematize are part of the student experience, and context deserves our scrutiny because it reflects our assumptions and values.

Shared by: Bryan Meyer, Elizabeth Self, Kate Nowak, TODOS