Reflections: Can I do more than totem poles in math?

Reflections is a monthly column for teachers, by teachers on topics of interest to mathematics educators: lesson plans, book/resource reviews, reflections on classroom experiences, and more. If you are interested in sharing your own ideas with mathematics educators in the province (and beyond), consider contributing to this column! Contact us at thevariable (at) smts (dot) ca.

Can I do more than totem poles in math?
Sharon Harvey

“A totem pole casts a shadow that is 15 m long. The angle of depression of the sun is 43°. How tall is the totem pole?” Or perhaps this one: “The following beading pattern has a ratio of black to red beads of 4:7. If there are 35 black beads, how many red beads are there?” FNIM content – check.

This was me. This is me. This has been me for 8 years. Is it better than nothing? Maybe. Is it good enough? Definitely not.

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Intersections (April edition): Upcoming professional development opportunities

In this monthly column, you’ll find a list of upcoming math (education)-related workshops, conferences, and other events that will take place in Saskatchewan and beyond. 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 know about an event that should be on our list, please leave a comment below.

Within Saskatchewan 


IT Summit
May 2nd – 3rd, Saskatoon, SK
Presented by the SPDU

This two-day event will explore exemplary practices for teaching and learning with technology to support the actualization of Saskatchewan curricula. It promotes professional dialogue that fosters effective teaching and learning with technology, and is designed to share best practices in network infrastructures and centralized technologies that support student learning through technology use in schools and school divisions. See

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Problems to Ponder (April edition)

Welcome to this month’s edition of Problems to Ponder! Pose them in your classroom as a challenge, or try them out yourself. Have an interesting student (or teacher) solution? Send it to for publication in a future issue of The Variable, our monthly periodical.

Grade 7-8 Problem: Painted cube
Math Challenge 2016

April 1A cube is made up of 27 smaller cubes. Suppose that all of the faces of the larger cube are painted red, and then it is taken apart.  How many of the small cubes would have no faces painted red?  One face painted red?  Two faces painted red?  Three faces painted red?


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Reflections on Math Challenge 2016

MC2016 1

Goodbye MC2016… looking forward to MC2017!

On Saturday, March 12, over 70 Grade 7-10 students from schools around the province arrived bright and early to the University of Saskatchewan to participate in this year’s installment of the Saskatchewan Math Challenge, a provincial math challenge co-sponsored by the Saskatchewan Math Teachers’ Society and the University of Saskatchewan. This year, the Math Challenge was also assisted by generous support from the University of Saskatchewan Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

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Math Challenge 2016: Something old, something new

It’s that time of year again!

The Saskatchewan Math Challenge, a provincial math competition co-sponsored by the Saskatchewan Math Teachers’ Society and the University of Saskatchewan, will be held this year on March 12th, 2016 in the Arts Building of the University of Saskatchewan. Students from grades 7 to 10 will compete as teams of 3 to 5 in solving problems in one of two levels: Grade 7-8 and 9-10. We are anticipating another high-energy day filled with interesting mathematics!

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Extreme Math Camp 2014

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There is a new math camp starting in Saskatoon:

Extreme Math Camp 2014 will be held on Thursday and Friday, June 26 and June 27 at Walter Murray Collegiate in Saskatoon. The camp is designed to mathematically challenge able students in grades 7 to 10 who have an interest in mathematical problem solving. We will have presenters from the University of Waterloo, University of Saskatchewan and elsewhere leading four sessions each day with students split into a junior group (typically grades 7 and 8) and a senior group (typically grades 9 and 10).

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New Executive for 2014-2016

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Congratulations to our newly elected Executive!

President: Kathleen Sumners
Vice president: Michelle Naidu
Treasurer: Ryan Rau
Secretary: Jacquie Johnson


  • Nathan Banting
  • Terry Johanson
  • Christina Schmidt
  • Sandi Neufeld
  • Claire McTavish
  • Allison McQueen

U of S Student Representative: Matthew Schmidt
U of R Student Representative: open


  • Jen Brokofsky
  • Kaylyn Wallin
  • Roxanne Mah

Past president/U of R Rep: Gale Russell
Journal and U of S Rep: Egan Chernoff

STF Liason: Mark Eggleston