SPRING 2012

Speaker: Brie Finegold, Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in Mathematics at UA

Title: Mathematical blogs as resources for teaching

Abstract: Having covered mathematical blogs for the AMS “Math in the Media” website for the past few years, I have come to see these “blaths” as a teaching resource. I will discuss how blogs have given me some ideas for assignments, how they can be used as supplemental reading, and how to find the most interesting blogs on the internet.

See the presentation here via prezi.

January 24th 4:00pm

Gould Simpson 849

January 17th

Math 501

Speaker: Brian Beaudrie, Department of Mathematics, Northern Arizona University

Title: A two-tiered strategy for improving the mathematical readiness of middle-achieving college-bound students

Abstract: This presentation will discuss a practical research-based strategy, already implemented in one state, to help students avoid the costs in time and discouragement associated with required math remediation when entering post-secondary education.

March 6th

Math 501

SPEAKER CANCELLED -- HAVE A GOOD SPRING BREAK!

February 28th

Math 501

Speaker: Paul Blowers, Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, UA

Title: Engaging students with active learning techniques (and make your life easier!)

Abstract: Traditionally, an instructor who has prepared extensively goes into a classroom full of students and lectures to them on the prepared materials. Students transcribe the notes written on the board while some also manage to catch the nuanced verbal language used to explain the material. Students are minimally engaged with the material. Active learning techniques turn the lecture into a more intensively engaging scenario where students grapple with new content and draw connections between new material and prerequisite information and skills. The number and quality of questions is greatly elevated, as is student participation in their own learning. The discussion will cover several active learning techniques, how to overcome the students’ desire to remain passive, and how to manage pitfalls. Even better, active learning techniques make lecture preparation much easier as long as the command of the material is strong.

February 21st

Math 501

Speaker: Dan Madden, Department of Mathematics, UA

Title: A history of multiplication from the beginning

Abstract: To liven up class, instructors can tell historical stories about mathematics. People have been multiplying numbers since before they were writing, but the question is how? In this talk I will outline various methods mankind has used over the centuries. How did they multiply with Roman numerals? Did you know astronomers once used trigonometry to multiply? What is a slide rule? How can you arrange the multiplication tables into a wonderful aid for long multiplication? How did technology cause us to return to multiplication methods that were used 4000 years ago? In the end it’s all just arithmetic!

February 14th

Math 501

Speaker: Grethe Hystad and Debra Wood, Instructors in Mathematics at UA

Title: Precalculus supplemental instruction seminar: Math 196L

Abstract: In this talk we will describe the course, Precalculus Supplemental Instruction Seminar, math 196L, which was first offered in the fall of 2011. This course is an inquiry based course with the goal of increasing the retention and success rate of incoming freshmen engineers enrolled in Precalculus. We will describe the structure, types of problems, and the model of the course, followed by some statistics that compares the results for math 196L students to engineering students taking precalculus in the fall of 2010.

February 7th

Math 501

Speaker: Sarah Hoffman, Instructor in Mathematics at UA

Title: A new way to teach online

Abstract: We have all heard rumors of online classes allowing departments to reduce costs and campuses to reduce congestion, but what if it could go further than that? What if there was a way to teach online that increased student engagement and participation, all while allowing the instructor to tailor the material to each individual student's particular needs? We will discuss a new model that is being attempted and the positive results that are coming out.

January 31st

Math 501

Speaker: Kristen Beck, Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in Mathematics at UA

Title: Incorporating abstraction

Abstract: Taught correctly, abstract mathematical concepts not only open students' eyes to the depth of mathematics, but also give students an appreciation for concepts that are often taken for granted (i.e. associativity and commutativity properties). In this talk, we will discuss ways to subtly incorporate more abstraction into just about any classroom.

March 20th

Math 501

Speaker: Esther Widiasih, Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in Mathematics at UA

Title: Teaching Math 250 "Calculus/Differential Equations": What to do with overachieving students with some calculus background

Abstract: In this talk, I will outline the challenges in and my approach to teaching the Math 250A/B course this academic year. Students who scored 4 or 5 in AP Calculus AB may enroll in Math 250A/B sequence. In addition to this highly motivated and presumably prepared group of students, many other students with previous calculus background (high school or college) also enroll. Students' calculus background is not always a good predictor for success in college level calculus classes, nor it is a good predictor for their likelihood for taking more math classes. Furthermore, students' prior calculus background may present challenges to their willingness to learn alternative views of the material.

March 27th

Math 501

Speaker: Mathew Felton, Department of Mathematics, UA

Title: Accounting for context in pre-service teachers’ conceptions of proof

Abstract: In this talk I share the results of my first independent mathematics educational research as a master’s student. I will focus on the results of the study as well as lessons learned and changes I would make to the study in retrospect. In this study I considered pre-service teachers’ conceptions of proof first when defining proof absent any specific student work and second when evaluating whether specific instances of student work were adequate examples of proof. I consider shifts in the aspects of proof the pre-service teaches focused on across these contexts.

April 3rd

Math 501

Speaker: Nathan Carlson, Department of Mathematics, California Lutheran University

Title: A Tale of Two Circles

Abstract: Roughly speaking, a "math circle" is a form of education enrichment that brings pre-college students in direct contact with professional mathematicians. While math circles for students have been around in the US for several decades, math circles for secondary-level teachers are a relatively recent phenomenon that has been gaining traction. These circles typically used hands-on, exploratory methods that actively engage teachers on a topic relating to the curriculum. After some background, the talk will focus on comparing the formation of two teachers' circles: the Tucson Teachers' Circle at the University of Arizona and the Thousand Oaks Teachers' Circle at California Lutheran University. Each Circle has had its own particular set of advantages and challenges in its formation, stemming from differences in availability of resources and funding, the types of existing partnerships each institution has with local school districts, the size of the surrounding metropolitan area, among other things. We will also give an account of some topics explored in these circles, with example problems and activities. Middle and high school teachers welcome!

April 10th 4:00pm

Math 501

Speaker: Erin Turner and Marcy Wood, College of Education, UA

Title: Beyond bridging: building better connections between elementary mathematics methods and field placement classrooms

Abstract: Elementary mathematics methods courses typically have an assignment in which preservice teachers interview children using mathematical tasks. This assignment helps the preservice teachers both learn about children’s mathematical thinking and practice pedagogical moves that can support and extend children’s mathematics. This assignment attempts to work on long-standing tensions in teacher preparation: the complex student-centered pedagogies advocated in methods can be challenging for preservice teachers to implement in the contexts of some field placement classrooms. The preservice teachers are typically left on their own to construct and travel the bridge between these two contexts. Our presentation describes our attempts to use the interview task to facilitate connections between the methods course and the elementary classroom. We explore one particular facet of our work: working simultaneously with mentor teachers (from the field placement classrooms) and preservice teachers on the interview task. We expected the mentor teachers to enrich preservice teachers’ understandings of interviewed students by supplying information about children’s background and classroom contexts. However, the classroom teachers also extended the possibilities for learning of preservice teachers and teacher educators by 1) describing how they would use information about the interviews to change their own teaching and 2) opening the possibility for conversation about deficit discourses about students. Our presentation will describe our current theories and lessons learned about going beyond bridging in order to better connect methods and field placement classrooms.

April 17th

Math 501

Speaker: Cody Patterson, Director, Center for Recruitment and Retention of Mathematics Teachers, UA

Title: The Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice: opportunities and challenges

Abstract: The recently-adopted Common Core State Standards in Mathematics contain eight Standards for Mathematical Practice that describe habits of mind that help students succeed in mathematics. These Standards for Mathematical Practice, like the content standards, are subject to assessment; this creates both interesting opportunities and pressing challenges for the field of mathematics education. In this talk, I'll attempt to provide at least partial answers to the following questions:

* What are the Standards for Mathematical Practice?

* What do mathematical practices look like in student work?

* What can teachers do to help students develop the mathematical habits of mind they need?

* What can mathematicians and mathematics educators do to help?

April 24th

Math 501

Speaker: Victor Piercey, Mathematics Ph.D. Candidate at UA

Title: Service learning in mathematics

Abstract: Service learning is a teaching method that has become quite popular in the education community in recent years. After introducing service learning, this talk will describe a service learning project involving mathematics at an elementary school and ideas for future mathematical service learning projects at the high school and college level.

May 1st

Math 501

Speaker: Guadalupe Lozano, Ahmad Hakeem, Michael Jardini, Laura Nakolan, Tim Rayes, Nathan Santana, and Nick Valverde, Department of Mathematics, UA

Title: Peer-collaborative Problem-Solving in Vector Calculus: a panel discussion with current students and facilitators

Abstract: Models of instruction where undergraduates solve problems on the board while working collaboratively with their peers are becoming increasingly popular. Implementing such models during regular classroom hours is, however, difficult: it requires extra time and also agility to successfully leverage freshly generated student work towards accomplishing a lesson's goals.

--What are options for implementing peer-collaborative problem-solving outside the classroom?

--What value do undergraduates find in this type of instruction? What weaknesses/frustrations do they perceive/experience?

--How can we build undergraduate capacity for implementing such models?

In this talk, we discuss a current UA Math model for supplemental instruction: the Vector Calculus Student Workshop. Two undergraduate facilitators, and several Math 223 workshop participants will share views, experiences and answer questions.