For locations, click here;
All locations are subject to change
Minicourses are open only to persons who register for the
Joint Meetings and pay the Joint Meetings registration fee
in addition to the appropriate minicourse fee. The MAA reserves
the right to cancel any minicourse that is undersubscribed.
Participants in minicourses #1-4 are required to come with
a laptop computer equipped with appropriate software.
Instructions to download any data files needed for those courses
will be provided by the organizers. The enrollment limit for
each course is limited to 50 participants; the cost is $60.
The registration/housing form can be
on each number to go to that minicourse number and description.
- Minicourse #1: Discrete models in biology
and simulations, organized by Saber N. Elaydi,
Trinity University; Huseyin Kocak, University
of Miami; and David Ribble, Trinity University.
Part 1: Monday, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.; Part 2: Wednesday,
9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. This minicourse will present and analyze
discrete models from population biology. Participants will
use the software PHASER to simulate model behavior. There
will be four modules. Each module will be discussed for 30
minutes followed by 30 minutes of computer experimentation.
Each participant will be expected to bring a laptop computer
equipped with Windows 2000/XP/Vista, Mac OS X (10.4.5 or later,
with Java 5 or greater installed) or Linux. The participants
will be provided electronic copies of the notes, simulations,
and the software PHASER. Basic knowledge of calculus and linear
algebra will be helpful.
Minicourse #2: Using
GeoGebra to create activities and applets for visualization
and exploration, organized by Michael K. May,
Saint Louis University. Part 1: Monday, 2:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.;
Part 2: Wednesday, 2:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. GeoGebra is an easy
to use, free, open-source, cross-platform program that allows
the user to visualize and experiment with both algebraic and
geometric representations of mathematical concepts. Constructions
can optionally be saved as applets that can be used in any
java enabled browser. Sample applets can be found at www.slu.edu/classes/maymk/GeoGebra/.
The minicourse assumes only novice computer skills and covers
an introduction to GeoGebra up through deploying applets in
web pages. We will work through creating several activities
to illustrate features of the program and to get participants
to create their own activities. Participants will need a computer
loaded with GeoGebra, SeaMonkey, and a collection of examples
created by the presenter. Links for downloading the needed
software will be sent to participants who register in advance.
Participants will be able to do a fast install on site if
Minicourse #3: Educating
about the state of the planet and sustainability while enhancing
calculus, organized by Thomas J. Pfaff,
Ithaca College. Part 1: Tuesday, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.; Part
2: Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Society faces major challenges
in climate change and energy security. This minicourse will
illustrate how the use of data (climate, energy, etc.) and
Excel can provide richer context and relevance (a sustainability
theme) for calculus. When students use Excel to fit curves
to real data, fundamentally important questions about sustainability
become calculus questions about those curves. Overall the
goal is to provide the necessary background information, ideas,
and tools to successfully incorporate sustainability themes
(or other areas of interest) into a calculus course, without
having to change the typical content covered in calculus.
Participants will need a laptop equipped with Microsoft Excel.
Minicourse #4: An
introduction to the mathematics of modern cryptography,
organized by Jeffrey Ehme and Colm
A. Mulcahy, Spelman College. Part 1: Tuesday, 10:30
a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; Part 2: Thursday, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. The
mathematics of modern cryptography is for anyone with an interest
in mathematics today, especially if that person also registers
for classes (or submits grades) online, or pays bills or shops
on the Internet. Since that includes most of our students
and most of us, it is a perfect subject for adding to the
standard undergraduate curriculum, either in a regular or
special topics course, or as a subject for directed research.
There can be no better way of illustrating the application
to everyday life of abstract mathematics and clever modern
ideas. This minicourse will focus on the basics, assuming
only a rudimentary knowledge of number theory and abstract
algebra (e.g., Fermat's Little Theorem and the concept
of an abelian group), and cover topics ranging from 1970s
breakthroughs such as Diffie Hellman key exchange and the
RSA cryptography, to the more recent methods of ElGamal, Elliptic
Curves, and Groebner Bases. Participants are expected to bring
laptops equipped with Maple, Adobe Acrobat Reader, and a CD
Minicourse #5: Developing
department self-studies, organized by Donna L.
Beers, Simmons College, and Richard
A. Gillman, Valparaiso University. Part 1:
Tuesday, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.; Part 2: Thursday, 3:30 p.m. to 5:30
p.m. Self-study is a critical component of departmental program
review. It is retrospective, engaging department members and
other interested parties (e.g., other departments and the
administration) in examining all aspects of departmental programs.
It is also forward looking, anticipating new areas for growth
and contribution. Self-study entails discussion of issues
confronting a department; as such, it is both a process of
reflection and a report. This minicourse enables participants
to determine how a self-study, which is an administrative
mandate, can be a positive opportunity for departmental renewal.
Minicourse #6: Teaching
with clickers and classroom voting, organized by Derek
Bruff, Vanderbilt University; and Kelly Cline,
Mark Parker, and Holly Zullo,
Carroll College. Part 1: Monday, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.; Part
2: Wednesday, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Classroom response systems,
or "clickers", are instructional technologies that enable
teachers to rapidly collect and analyze students' responses
to multiple-choice questions. In this minicourse participants
will learn how to use clickers to transform the way they use
class time--promoting active participation, engagement, and
discussion among students; assessing student learning in real-time
during class; and adapting lessons to respond to the particular
learning needs of one's students. This minicourse will also
feature a question-writing "workshop" and a mock clicker class
as ways to explore the kinds of questions and activities that
make the most of teaching with clickers.
Minicourse #7: A
game theory path to quantitative literacy, organized
by David L. Housman, Goshen College, and
Richard A. Gillman, Valparaiso University.
Part 1: Monday, 2:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.; Part 2: Wednesday, 2:15
p.m. to 4:15 p.m. Game theory, defined in the broadest sense,
can be used to model many real world scenarios of decision
making in situations involving conflict and cooperation. Further,
mastering the basic concepts and tools of game theory require
only an understanding of basic algebra, probability, and formal
reasoning. These two features of game theory make it an ideal
path to developing habits of quantitative literacy among our
students. This audience participation minicourse develops
some of the material used by the presenters in their general
education courses on game theory and encourages participants
to develop their own, similar, courses.
Minicourse #8: Taking
symbols seriously: Teaching form and function in college algebra,
organized by Deborah Hughes
Hallett, University of Arizona and Harvard
University; Patti Frazer
Lock, St. Lawrence University; William
G. McCallum, University of Arizona; and Patricia
D. Shure, University of Michigan. Part 1: Tuesday,
8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.; Part 2: Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
College algebra courses often emphasize the idea of a function
from multiple viewpoints. In this minicourse we will focus
on the symbolic aspect, discussing what it means for students
to acquire symbolic literacy. We will highlight the algebraic
concepts that are essential for procedural fluency and for
success in college. Common misconceptions about functions,
expressions, equations, and equivalence will give us a window
into student thinking. The workshop will give participants
the opportunity to construct questions that probe student
understanding and to develop examples that demonstrate the
importance of college algebra for later coursework in the
physical and social sciences.
Minicourse #9: Beyond
formulas and algorithms: Teaching a conceptual/thematics single
variable calculus course, organized by Shahriar
Shahriari, Pomona College. Part 1: Tuesday, 10:30
a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; Part 2: Thursday, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Many
students enter college having seen the main ideas of calculus
and knowing how to do routine calculus problems but without
a firm grasp of the concepts underlying calculus. In this
hands-on course, the participants will be introduced to and
have a chance to explore an honors calculus II class where
the theme is approximations and one of the test cases is approximating
the number of primes up to x. In this alternative calculus
class the students take an active role in formulating questions
and in developing the material. A thematic/conceptual approach
using open-ended problems that incorporates some unusual mathematics
(in this case, analytic number theory) allows us to take advantage
of the students' prior experience with calculus to get a deeper
understanding of the subject.
Minicourse #10: The
ubiquitous Catalan numbers and their applications, organized
by Thomas Koshy, Framingham State College.
Part 1: Tuesday, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.; Part 2: Thursday, 3:30
p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Catalan numbers are both fascinating and ubiquitous.
They pop up in quite unexpected places, such as triangulations
of convex polygons, correctly parenthesized expressions, rooted
trees, binary trees, full binary trees, trivalent binary trees,
lattice walks, Bertrand's ballot problem, abstract algebra,
linear algebra, chess, and the World Series, to name a few.
Beginning with a brief history of Catalan numbers, this minicourse
presents numerous examples from different areas. We will develop
a number of combinatorial formulas for computing them, investigate
their parity and their primality-link to Mersenne numbers,
and present the various ways they can be extracted from Pascal's
triangle and several Pascal-like triangles. As a bonus we
will investigate tribinomial coefficients and extract Catalan
numbers from them.
Minicourse #11: Planning
and teaching mathematics capstone courses for preservice,
secondary school teachers, organized by Edward
F. Aboufadel, Grand Valley State University; Richard
Hill, Bruce Sagan, Sharon
Senk, and Natasha Speer, Michigan
State University; and Rebecca Walker, Grand
Valley State University. Part 1: Monday, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.;
Part 2: Wednesday, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Many mathematics departments
now offer "capstone" courses for majors. This minicourse will
explore the rationales for offering such courses specifically
designed for preservice secondary school teachers, the different
ways such courses have been designed, and the challenges instructors
faced in planning and teaching such courses. In addition,
materials developed by the instructors (as part of a NSF-funded
project about these courses) will be shared and discussed.
The presenters are teams of mathematicians and mathematics
educators from two different institutions who collaborated
to create and implement these courses and have many years
of experience with this course.
Minicourse #12: SNAP
Math Fairs in elementary education, organized by Andrew
C. to F. Liu, University of Alberta, and Tanya
Thompson, ThinkFun, Inc. Part 1: Monday, 2:15 p.m. to 4:15
p.m.; Part 2: Wednesday, 2:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. The focus of
this minicourse is to examine what should be taught at a one-semester
mathematics course in the faculty of science for students
in elementary education, and how to teach this material. We
will distribute a complete set of classroom notes, discuss
the philosophy behind its construction, and offer techniques
for its delivery. We will also distribute an extensive list
of problems suitable for the course or for a special component
of our course called the SNAP Math Fair. Participants will
have opportunities to work on these problems, and solutions
to some will be presented.
Minicourse #13: Directing
undergraduate research, organized by Aparna W.
Higgins, University of Dayton. Part 1: Tuesday, 9:00
a.m. to 11:00 a.m.; Part 2: Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. This
course will cover many aspects of facilitating research by
undergraduates, such as getting students involved in research,
finding appropriate problems, deciding how much help to provide,
and presenting and publishing the results. Similarities and
differences between research conducted during summer programs
and research that can be conducted during the academic year
will be discussed. Although the examples used will be primarily
in the area of discrete mathematics, the strategies discussed
can be applied to any area of mathematics.
Minicourse #14: Teaching
a course in the history of mathematics, organized by
V. Frederick Rickey, U.S. Military Academy,
and Victor J. Katz, University of the District
of Columbia. Part 1: Tuesday, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.; Part 2:
Thursday, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Many schools are introducing
courses in the history of mathematics and asking faculty who
may never have taken such a course to teach them. This minicourse
will assist those teaching history by introducing participants
to numerous resources, discussing differing approaches and
sample syllabi, providing suggestions for student projects
and assessments, and giving those teaching such courses for
the first time the confidence to master the subject themselves
and to present the material to their students.