## Spotlight on the Profession: Dan Meyer

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 Dan Meyer.

Dan Meyer taught high school math to students who didn’t like high school math. He has advocated for better math instruction on CNN, Good Morning America, Everyday With Rachel Ray, and TED.com. He earned his doctorate from Stanford University in math education and is the Chief Academic Officer at Desmos where he explores the future of math, technology, and learning. He has worked with teachers internationally and in all fifty United States. He was named one of Tech & Learning’s 30 Leaders of the Future. He lives in Oakland, CA.

First things first, thank you for taking some time out of your busy schedule for this conversation!

As Chief Academic Officer at Desmos, you spend a great deal of time considering the affordances of digital technology for the teaching and learning of mathematics, and designing tools that tap into these affordances.

The phrase ‘online learning tools’ evokes a diversity of conceptions and misconceptions; I wonder if you could address some of the latter. First, you have written that “the online medium is fundamentally connective and yet students often report feelings of social isolation” (Meyer, 2015a, p. iv). However, you have also argued that well-designed online tools can promote dialogue and collaboration, rather than isolation and individualization. How so? Continue reading

## Problems to Ponder (March edition)

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!

Snap It! [1]

In this activity, students make different combinations for a given number.

Materials
10 or more snap cubes per student

Each student makes a train of connecting cubes of a specified number. On the signal “Snap!”, the students break their trains into two parts and hold one hand behind their back.

In partners, or in a circle, students show one another their remaining cubes. The other students work out the number of cubes hiding behind their back.

## Intersections (March 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!

Workshops

Technology in Mathematics Foundations and Pre-Calculus
May 7, 2018

Presented by the Saskatchewan Professional Development Unit

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.

## The Variable – Volume 3, Issue 2

Volume 3, Issue 2 (March/April 2018) of The Variable, periodical of the Saskatchewan Mathematics Teachers’ Society, has just been released! From Kindergarten to Grade 12, there is something for everyone.

## 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)

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!

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.

## 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!

Workshops

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.

## The Variable – Volume 3, Issue 1

Volume 3, Issue 1 (January/February 2018) of The Variable, periodical of the Saskatchewan Mathematics Teachers’ Society, has just been released! From Kindergarten to Grade 12, there is something for everyone.

## 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)

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!