Spotlight on the Profession: Patrick Maidorn

In this monthly column, we speak with a notable member of the mathematics education community about their work and their perspectives on the teaching and learning of mathematics. This month, we had the pleasure of speaking with Patrick Maidorn.


Patrick Maidorn has been a mathematics and statistics instructor at the University of Regina for the past twenty-one years. Apart from teaching undergraduate classes, Patrick has also been involved in the development of several mathematical outreach programs for students in Grades 1-12, including the University of Regina Math Camp and Math Circles, as well as the Canadian Math Kangaroo Contest.

 Patrick grew up in Luxembourg, where he attended the European School. He holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Guelph, a Masters of Mathematics from the University of Waterloo, and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Western Ontario. Realizing that each move took him further west on the map, he made one more westward leap to settle in Regina. He hopes to eventually get used to the cold winters of Saskatchewan. After two decades, he is still waiting.


First things first, thank you for taking the time to have this conversation!

You have been recognized for your hard work in mathematics education and outreach, including by the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (PIMS), who awarded you the PIMS Education Prize in 2016. What kinds of mathematics camps, competitions, or other outreach activities are you involved in today?  Continue reading

Problems to Ponder (February edition)

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Welcome to this month’s edition of Problems to Ponder! Have an interesting solution? Send it to thevariable@smts.ca for publication in a future issue of The Variable!

Primary Tasks (Kindergarten-Intermediate)

Which One Doesn’t Belong? [1]

Display the image below and ask the class: “Which one doesn’t belong?”

This task encourages students to use descriptive language in their reasoning and to consider multiple possible answers. See wodb.ca for more details and more images.

Continue reading

Intersections (February 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

Multi-Graded Mathematics
February 9, 2018
Moose Jaw, SK

Presented by the Saskatchewan Professional Development Unit

How do you address all of the needs within your combined grades mathematics classroom? By looking at themes across curricula, teachers can plan for diverse needs and address outcomes at two grade levels without having separate lesson plans. Curricular through lines and planning templates will be shared that are helpful for identifying how concepts grow over the grades, so that you can build a learning continuum within your instruction.

See www.stf.sk.ca/professional-resources/events-calendar/multi-graded-mathematics

Continue reading

Spotlight on the Profession: Malke Rosenfeld

In this monthly column, we speak with a notable member of the mathematics education community about their work and their perspectives on the teaching and learning of mathematics. This month, we had the pleasure of speaking with Malke Rosenfeld.


Malke Rosenfeld is a percussive dance teaching artist, math explorer, math artist, TEDx presenter, author, and editor. Her interdisciplinary inquiry focuses on the intersection between percussive dance and mathematics and how to build meaningful learning experiences at this crossroads. Malke’s interests also include embodied cognition in mathematics learning, task and activity design in a moving math classroom, elementary math education, and writing as a professional development tool. Her teaching and artistic endeavors focus on explorations of the relationship between number, rhythm, constraint, and shape in a variety of modalities. Malke delights in creating rich environments in which children and adults can explore, make, play, and talk math based on their own questions and inclinations.


First things first, thank you for taking the time for this conversation!

For the past decade or so, you have been exploring the relationship between mathematics learning and dance, which has included developing and facilitating a program called Math in Your Feet and, most recently, publishing a book entitled Math on the Move (2016, Heinemann). In most people’s eyes, mathematics and dance are an unlikely pair. So I would like to start by asking: How can the two disciplines inform and complement each other?

Both math and dance are highly creative and expressive human endeavors. Not all of math is danceable and not all dance is mathematical, but there are some really nice overlaps between the two. In particular, the moving body is best positioned to explore and express the verbs of math, literally embodying the mathematical practices. There are also certain math ideas that can literally be put into action. In the early stages of writing my book, I did an experiment with dancers in three dance forms different from mine (hip hop, modern, and belly dance!) to see how/if certain action-oriented math ideas might resonate with the dancers. I also wondered if these ideas could function as choreographic prompts for what is called “movement invention,” and it turned out I was onto something! Continue reading

Problems to Ponder (December edition)

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Welcome to this month’s edition of Problems to Ponder! Have an interesting solution? Send it to thevariable@smts.ca for publication in a future issue of The Variable!

Primary Tasks (Kindergarten-Intermediate)

Colour-Coding Brownies [1]

Sam has brought a pan of brownies to a birthday party that has been cut into 24 equal pieces. He wants to share them equally among himself and his 5 friends at the party. Partition the pan of brownies and use colour coding to show how the brownies can be shared fairly. (Here is an example:

Here is another way in which Sam could share the brownies. Are there others?

Adaptations and extensions: What if there were 8 (or 12, or 9) kids at the party? What if the brownies had been divided into 30 (or 12, or 15) pieces? Continue reading

Intersections (November 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

Using Tasks in High School Mathematics
November 20, Saskatoon, SK
Presented by the Saskatchewan Professional Development Unit

Using tasks in a high school mathematics classroom can provide rich opportunities for differentiated learning and authentic assessment.  How do we choose tasks that meet both curricular outcomes and student needs? Tasks allow students to enter mathematics where they are at and extend their learning. In this workshop we will look at a variety of resources for finding good high school tasks. We will also reflect and discuss what planning and teaching moves can assist in maximizing student learning through mathematics tasks.

See https://www.stf.sk.ca/professional-resources/professional-growth/events-calendar/using-tasks-high-school-mathematics-0 Continue reading

The Variable – Volume 2, Issue 6

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Volume 2, Issue 6 (November/December 2017) 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 month’s issue, Suzanne Harper and Dana Cox share a strategy for incorporating problem solving into mathematics courses while, at the same time, managing the risks associated with creative mathematical work; Jennifer Brokofsky tackles the question “How can I help my child succeed in mathematics?”; and Shawn Godin shares some radical problems in his new regular column, “Alternate Angles.” You will also find our regular features, including “Spotlight on the Profession” (this month’s interview features Susan Milner, who shares her perspective on the value of play in the mathematics classroom); “Intersections,” which will bring you up to date on upcoming professional development opportunities; and “Problems to Ponder,” where you will find a range of rich problems for use in your K-12 classroom.

Last but not least, this month’s 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 shares “The Inside Joke on Math Lessons,” which draws an unlikely (at least, at first glance) parallel between stand-up comedy and the teaching and learning of mathematics.

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.

We hope you find this publication relevant and valuable for your teaching or personal interest – and if so, that you share it with your colleagues and invite them to join the conversation! If you have feedback, questions, or would like to contribute, we would love to hear from you – contact us at thevariable@smts.ca.

Spotlight on the Profession: Susan Milner

In this monthly column, we speak with a notable member of the mathematics education community about their work and their perspectives on the teaching and learning of mathematics. This month, we had the pleasure of speaking with Susan Milner.


Susan Milner taught post-secondary mathematics in British Columbia for 29 years.  For 11 years she organised UFV’s secondary math contest, where her favourite part was coming up with post-contest activities for the participants.  In 2009 she started Math Mania evenings for local youngsters, parents and teachers. This was so much fun that she devoted her sabbatical year to adapting math/logic puzzles and taking them into K-12 classrooms. Now retired and living in Nelson, BC, she is still busy travelling to classrooms and giving professional development workshops. In 2014 she was awarded the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (PIMS) Education Prize.


First things first, thank you for taking the time for this interview!

Thank you so much for inviting me to participate—I love talking shop!

One of your passions in life has been to enhance public awareness and appreciation of mathematics—a passion that has led you to develop and become involved in a wide variety of outreach activities, including workshops, classroom visits, and public events, for which you received the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (PIMS) Education Prize in 2014. As Alejandro Adem, a former PIMS Director, remarked, “Susan Milner is an outstanding educator, who has worked tirelessly to share the joy of mathematics with countless students and teachers in BC” (PIMS, 2014). 

What drew you to study, and then to teach, mathematics in your younger years? What fuels your outreach work today?  Continue reading