The Variable – Volume 5, Issue 2

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Volume 5, Issue 2 of The Variable, periodical of the Saskatchewan Mathematics Teachers’ Society, has just been released! From Kindergarten to Grade 12, there is something for everyone.

In this issue, Jeff Irvine shares his favourite lesson: “Introduction to Logarithms” (p. 4); in “Family Math: Winning Them Over,” Cindy Kroon shares ideas for engaging families in math play and practice (p. 24); and Nicole Wessman-Enzinger shares pedagogical moves to help students make sense of integer numbers in the context of temperature problems (p. 16). You will also find our regular features, including Shawn Godin‘s “Alternate Angles,” which takes an in-depth look at intriguing problems and their solutions (p. 11); “Intersections,” which will bring you up to date on upcoming professional development opportunities (p. 32); and “Tangents,” which highlights extracurricular opportunities for K-12 students interested in mathematics (p. 36).

Last but not least, this issue features the latest installment of “Math Ed Matters by MatthewMaddux,” a column by Egan Chernoff telling “slightly bent, untold, true stories of mathematics teaching and learning.” In this issue, Chernoff describes and proposes revisions for the names of a number of mathematical “diseases,” making his case for “reducing inflammation” (p. 41).

To access this month’s issue, head to http://smts.ca/the-variable/, where you will find this and all issues of The Variable free to read and download. And if you enjoy The Variable, remember share it with your colleagues and invite them to join the conversation!

New MATH 101 course teaches mathematics for real life

Dr. Derek Postnikoff (PhD)

Dr. Derek Postnikoff (PhD) is the lead instructor of MATH 101.

Dr. Derek Postnikoff (PhD) wants to change the minds of people who hate math.

MATH 101: Quantitative Reasoning, a new course for students in the University of Saskatchewan (USask) College of Arts and Science, was designed to be like no math class you’ve ever taken.

“The course is about building strength and confidence. It shows how math can be rewarding and valuable in a personal way,” said Postnikoff, a faculty member in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics and lead instructor of MATH 101.

As part of the renewed curriculum launching in fall 2020, all new students pursuing degrees in the College of Arts and Science will need to meet a quantitative reasoning requirement by completing at least one course focused on numbers, statistics or data.

Arts and Science students can choose from many courses to fulfill the requirement, but MATH 101 was designed specifically for students in humanities and fine arts programs: especially those who have had bad experiences with traditional math instruction…

Continue reading at https://artsandscience.usask.ca/news/articles/5341/New_MATH_101_course_teaches_mathematics_for_real_life 

 

The Variable – Volume 5, Issue 1

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Volume 5, Issue 1 of The Variable, periodical of the Saskatchewan Mathematics Teachers’ Society, has just been released! From Kindergarten to Grade 12, there is something for everyone.

In this issue, Jared Hamilton shares “What is Thy Bidding?,” a lesson that engages students in designing a business model for a landscaping company (p. 4); Beth Baldwin explores the impact of group work on student efficacy beliefs (p. 24); Susan Milner shares two intriguing puzzles, Streamers and Kakurasu, to help develop students’ reasoning abilities in intermediate through secondary classrooms (p. 30); and Casey Hawthorne and Bridget K. Druken describe structural reasoning, its significance as a mathematical practice, and ways of supporting students in developing this practice (p. 16). You will also find our regular features, including Shawn Godin‘s “Alternate Angles,” which takes an in-depth look at intriguing problems and their solutions (p. 12); “Intersections,” which will bring you up to date on upcoming professional development opportunities (p. 40); and “Tangents,” which highlights extracurricular opportunities for K-12 students interested in mathematics (p. 43).

Last but not least, this issue features the latest installment of “Math Ed Matters by MatthewMaddux,” a column by Egan Chernoff telling “slightly bent, untold, true stories of mathematics teaching and learning.” In this issue, Chernoff describes how conversations about the teaching and learning of mathematics have changed, as well new challenges for teachers in the “new math class zeitgeist.” (p. 46).

To access this month’s issue, head to http://smts.ca/the-variable/, where you will find this and all issues of The Variable free to read and download. And if you enjoy The Variable, remember share it with your colleagues and invite them to join the conversation!

Extreme Math Camp 2019

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Extreme Math Camp runs from Wednesday, July 3 to Friday, July 5 from 9 am to 3:15 pm at Walter Murray Collegiate Institute in Saskatoon for students who have finished grades 7 to 10 and are interested in having their mathematical horizons expanded with enriching and stimulating presentations and problem-solving sessions led by a variety of mathematics professors and teachers.  The cost is only $60 per student.  Contact Janet Christ (ChristJ@spsd.sk.ca) or Cam Milner (MilnerC@spsd.sk.ca) for more information.https://thestarphoenix.com/news/local-news/kids-get-a-taste-of-new-problems-at-extreme-math-camp

The Variable: News and updates

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This editorial originally appeared in Volume 4, Issue 1 of The Variable. 

It has been a busy time around the editorial table at The Variable. First and foremost, we would like to extend a huge thank you and congratulations to everyone who played a part in the development of The Variable up to this date. It is the contributors, distributors, readers, and critical friends that made us what we are today and gained us recognition as recipients of the 2019 NCTM Affiliate Publication Award. As nice as awards are, we are just as excited about the stories of teachers reading, implementing, and tinkering with the ideas contained in these pages.

Now entering our fourth year of publication, we continue to refine our medium to best reflect and support the voices of Saskatchewan teachers. This process has not been a simple one due to the overwhelming diversity of Saskatchewan classrooms, and the strength of a periodical such as this relies on the willingness of contributors to provide a lens into these varied contexts.

With this in mind, we have made some changes designed to make your reading as practical as possible in your professional lives as mathematics teachers, consultants, coaches, and enthusiasts. First, The Variable is introducing a new column entitled “My Favourite Lesson.” It is designed for teachers to share lessons and tell stories directly from their classrooms. These stories represent the cornerstone of what we want to do: connecting teachers and amplifying their ideas. We are also moving to a semi-annual publication schedule focused on publishing issues at critical times in the professional calendar. Recognizing (and living within) the ebb and flow of classroom teaching, we hope that publication dates in late August and late January maximize your ability to interact with the ideas. We look forward to your feedback and your contributions.

In this edition, we are struck by a tension often overlooked in the teaching of mathematics. Jules Bonin-Ducharme and David Earl re-introduce us to very practical pieces of classroom teaching: conversation and practice. It is here that math teachers (including ourselves) often live—in the day-to-day “battles” of building mathematical understanding. Contrast that with the synopsis Dr. Egan Chernoff provides of the political “war” of mathematics teaching. Here we see our work as a larger piece of a political milieu, one that has a substantial influence. What we are left with is this: Until now, it seems the de facto mantra of the classroom teacher is to focus on winning “battles” and trust that the “war” will take care of itself. However, if the teaching of mathematics sways in rhythm with political tides, this may not be a luxury that teachers are afforded much longer.

Ilona & Nat
Editors

P.S. The President’s Message that you know and love is not gone, but now running on a variable schedule. In the meantime, you can follow President Michelle Naidu’s thoughts on math, education, and more on Twitter at @park_star.

What’s your favourite lesson?

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The Variable exists to amplify the work of Saskatchewan teachers and to facilitate the exchange of ideas in our community of educators. We invite you to share a favorite lesson that you have created or adapted for your students and that other teachers might adapt for their own classroom. In addition to the lesson or task description, we suggest including the following:

  • Curriculum connections
  • Description of the lesson or task
  • Anticipated student action (strategies, misconceptions, examples of student work, etc.)
  • Wrap-up, next steps

To submit a lesson or if you have questions, please contact us at thevariable@smts.ca. We look forward to hearing from you!

Ilona & Nat,
Editors

Intersections (December edition): Upcoming professional development opportunities

In this monthly column, you’ll find information about upcoming math education-related workshops, conferences, and other events. Some events fill up fast, so don’t delay signing up!

For more information about a particular event or to register, follow the link provided below the description. If you know about an event that should be on our list, please contact us at ilona@smts.ca.

Jump to:
Within Saskatchewan
Beyond Saskatchewan

Online workshops

Within Saskatchewan

Workshops

Technology in Mathematics Foundations and Pre-Calculus
March 7, 2019
Regina, SK

Presented by the Saskatchewan Professional Development Unit

Technology is a tool that allows students to understand senior mathematics in a deeper way. This workshop is designed to have math foundations and pre-calculus teachers experience a variety of technology tools that allow students to represent and visualize mathematics concepts. Tools highlighted are useful for students to explore, learn, communicate, collaborate and practice, in order to enhance their understanding of mathematics in secondary mathematics.

More information at https://www.stf.sk.ca/professional-resources/events-calendar/technology-mathematics-foundations-and-pre-calculus Continue reading