Math On A Stick, Part II: Stepping Stones, Parent Talk, Teacher Lessons Learned & Mathematical Depth

Part I here.

After the phenomenal time I spent last weekend at Math on a Stick, I signed up for 2 more slots this week – making a total of 4 for this year. Here are some more stories about why it’s so great and then some teacher musings.

The Stepping Stones

math on a stick stepping stones.jpg

Math on a Stick is blessed to have Max Ray-Riek and Annie Fetter as volunteers, and while I have sadly missed working with Annie this year, I have gotten to spend a fair amount of time there with Max. He is extraordinarily awesome.

 

‘Twas Wednesday evening when Max came over to tell me he’d just had a great experience at the stepping stones with a mom and daughter. I hope he’ll write up his version of events, because I came in only halfway through. Anyhow, he told me this girl was so excited about them that he’d exhausted the problems he usually uses (count by 2s; 23 minus 24, etc.). They even counted PRIME NUMBERS on the stepping stones. They also did it in an awesome way. They figured out which stones they would not step on if they were skip counting, and stepped on those! (Mom did a lot of carrying her daughter between stepping stones that were too far apart.) Awesome!

Continue reading “Math On A Stick, Part II: Stepping Stones, Parent Talk, Teacher Lessons Learned & Mathematical Depth”

A Question on Language and the Mathematicians project

I often feel very odd speaking about this project in the negative:

The project is about not white male mathematicians.

Part of me enjoys the bluntness of calling out the issue as starkly as that, and part of me likes honoring that “not white dudes” is how the student who sparked the whole thing put it.

That said, I can also acknowledge that if I want this project to be open and inviting to as many people as possible that perhaps putting it in a positive sense…

The project consists of mathematicians with an oppressed identity.

…might put less people off. 

(Note: I’m stealing that language from Jonathan Osters. He put together a beautiful write up for his students which you can see here.)

I would appreciate any thoughts you have on this. My goal has never been to prevent my students from learning about white-male mathematicians. It’s just that they will learn about white-male mathematicians if they happen to learn about any mathematicians at all. They will likely not learn about any others unless we make the conscious decision to include them.

Please add any thoughts you have in the comments. Thanks!

The Dream – Help me out here, #MTBoS

I’ve had my first day back. I’ve met with new colleagues at a new school. We’ve started making plans. I’m full of hope and belief in the new year, but I can already see the mountain of work ready to bury me in its immediacy and distract me from my goals.

Thus, I’m stating my goals here so you can all hold me to them. If you have ideas or thoughts about them, I would love to hear what you have to say. Continue reading “The Dream – Help me out here, #MTBoS”

The Mathematicians Project: Mathematicians Are Not Just White Dudes

UPDATE: The Mathematician List is now an awesome table. Check it out and thank John Stevens and Jedidiah Butler. I’ll continue to update and improve it. 

Here is the presentation from NCTM Regionals in Chicago

What is the Mathematicians Project?

The Short Version:

  • We as math teachers tend to only talk about white male mathematicians.
  • Most of my students don’t look like that, and thus, they have few mathematical role models they can identify with.
  • Take 10-15 minutes a week to research (read Wikipedia, that’s all you need) a not-old-dead-white-dude mathematician, and then take 5 minutes in class to tell your students about them.  Include a picture. It’s worth it, I swear.

Continue reading “The Mathematicians Project: Mathematicians Are Not Just White Dudes”