Fellow Profile: George Todd

George Todd
  • G-TEAMS Cohort: 2012-13
  • Graduate Program: Mathematics
  • Teacher Partner: Daniel Schneider
  • School: Palo Verde Magnet High School
  • Grade level: 10
  • Topics: Honors Geometry, Geometry

"If people do not believe that mathematics is simple, it is only because they do not realize how complicated life is."

--John von Neumann

Research Interests

George Todd is a graduate student in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Arizona. His research interests are in number theory. Specifically, he seeks to understand the multiple-zeta function in function fields and the algebraic structures that can be placed on the image of this function.

Classroom Activities

George has been working with Daniel Schneider at Palo Verde Magnet High School. Much of the first semester of the geometry classes has been spent building vocabulary and introducing basic geometric concepts. Daniel has created his own curriculum that pulls in material from several resources.

Many of the classroom activities are built around giving the students practice with the material in class, as homework is not emphasized. While students work in groups, Daniel and George encourage helpful dialogue and ask questions in ways that will hopefully lead to students asking themselves the same questions in future problems.

Their long-term goals for the partnership include presenting the students with meaningful and approachable problems that will deepen their understanding of mathematics and that will expose them to some of the beauty that exists in mathematics.

Lessons Learned

George has learned much about the difficulties students face with basic arithmetic and how such problems are addressed at the high school level. He has also learned a lot about which mathematics is emphasized in high school and which is not. This information has caused him to think differently about how to address these problems in his own college classes.

Whereas the immediate problems facing college teachers center largely on how to teach students and little on how to manage them, the immediate problems facing high school teachers seem to center more on how to manage students. In particular, keeping high school students engaged for more than five minutes at a time is a challenge.

Overall, George believes that his G-TEAMS experience is proving to be invaluable in making him a better and more prepared college instructor.

Teaching Materials