Fellow Profile: Ryan Coatney
- G-TEAMS Cohort: 2013-14
- Graduate Program: Mathematics
- Teacher Partner: Christine Mullahy-Koenig
- School: Flowing Wells Junior High
- Grade level: 8
- Topics: Algebra I, Mathletes
"The enchanting charms of this sublime science reveal themselves in all their beauty only to those who have the courage to go deeply into it." -- C.F. Gauss
"Die ganzen Zahlen hat der liebe Gott gemacht, alles andere ist Menschenwerk." -- Leopold Kronecker
My interests are mainly in number theory with some intersecting interests in computation and cryptography. I am particularly interested in arithmetic geometry and I am currently working on better understanding the statistics of random p-adic matrices.
I am working with Christine Mullahy-Koenig at Flowing Wells Junior High and her advanced 8th grade Algebra 1-2 students. My personal goals are to inspire students to see math as both enjoyable and useful in their daily lives. Thus far I have had the opportunity to introduce students to some very basic cryptography concepts and relate these to what they are learning about linear equations and systems of linear equations.
I am also working with G-TEAMS fellow Colin Clark and his Teacher Partner, Jennifer Thompson, to prepare and present material for a weekly after school math club, called "Mathletes." We cover mathematical concepts not ordinarily presented in a standard cirriculum via activity oriented presentations. Praticipating students will have an opportunity to represent their school at a Mathleague regional competition
Working with 8th grade math students is a unique opportunity for me. Since I have worked with college algebra students for several years it is instructional to see what conceptual misunderstandings develop early, and which ones persist into higher education. For many of the students I work with at FWJH the mathematical ideas they are learning have only been shown to them a few times at most. It is great to see which ideas they adapt to readily and which ideas they find challenging.
I am also learning a lot about getting a class involved in a lesson, and keeping a pulse on what the students are learning as the lesson progresses. Christine has four sections of Algebra 1-2 and often the lessons I prepare change quickly to reflect the needs of each section. As Christine has told me more than once, "By the time you teach it 4 times you become an expert!" This ability to asses and quickly adapt my teaching will be invaluable in my career as a mathematician.