JMM 2018

MAA Workshops

The following workshops are part of the scientific program of the meeting. Anyone who registers for the meeting may choose to attend them.

Creating Interdisciplinary Activities for Mathematical Sciences Classrooms, presenters are Eugene Fiorini and Linda McGuire, Muhlenberg College; Wednesday, 9:35– 10:55 am. Mathematics and science education research indicates that to actively engage students, instructors should encourage cooperative learning, present and discuss real-life applications, suggest open-ended questions, and provide higher-order thinking tasks [Verma & Dickerson, Technology and Engineering Teacher, 2011]. In a world with challenges that are complex, dynamic, riddled with uncertainty, and potentially massive in scale, the mathematical and computer sciences have a central role to play by providing tools for analyzing and interpreting massive data sets, models and simulations of complex systems, and designs for future systems that are more efficient and secure. Workshop participants will begin development of one-day modules at the undergraduate level that can then be implemented in their courses. The modules will either focus on topics participants brought with them or topics provided by workshop organizers from such areas related to sustainability, cyber-security, and forensics. The workshop, intended for the novice writer, will include small group writing sessions allowing participant teams to develop common modules.

Get to Know the National Science Foundation, organized by Ron Buckmire, Sandra Richardson and Lee Zia, Division of Undergraduate Education, National Science Foundation; Thursday, 9:00–10:20 am. Presenters will describe the general NSF grant proposal process and consider particular details relevant to programs in the Division of Undergraduate Education. This workshop is geared towards those who have not submitted a proposal to NSF and are unfamiliar with the organization. If you believe you have an idea, project or program worthy of federal support that will positively impact undergraduate education in mathematics you should attend this session. This workshop will provide information on the specific components of a NSF proposal, demonstrate the NSF peer review process, provide access to previously funded proposals and explicate the NSF merit review criteria by which proposals are evaluated. This is intended to be an interactive hands-on session where participants can have their individual questions answered and leave with more information about NSF than they had when they entered.

Hungarian Approach to Teaching Proof-Writing: Pósa’s Discovery-Based Pedagogy, organized by Péter Juhász, MTA Rényi Institute and Budapest Semesters in Mathematics Education, Réka Szász, Budapest Semesters in Mathematics Education and Ryota Matsuura, St. Olaf College and Budapest Semesters in Mathematics Education; Thursday, 10:35–11:55 am. Lajos Pósa, a co-author of Erdos, is a Hungarian mathematician and educator. Pósa developed a method of teaching mathematics centered on the idea that students should learn to think like mathematicians. Pósa’s pedagogy uses the task thread, or a series of tasks that build on each other and gradually guide students toward understanding. By engaging with these task threads, students discover mathematical concepts through their own work. While Pósa’s method was initially intended for gifted students, it has also been successfully implemented in more general school settings. The workshop will begin with a brief introduction on Pósa and his work. Then participants will experience Pósa’s method by working on several task threads (intended to introduce secondary students to proof-writing), followed by discussions of the tasks. We will share our experiences of using Pósa’s method in Hungarian high school classrooms. Lastly, we will describe Budapest Semesters in Mathematics Education, a study abroad program (in Budapest) in which American students learn about the Hungarian approach to mathematics education, including Pósa’s method. The workshop is intended for students and faculty members interested in the learning and teaching of secondary mathematics.

Using Problem Solving and Discussions in Mathematics Courses for Prospective Elementary Teachers, organized by Ziv Feldman, Boston University, Ryota Matsuura, St Olaf College, Suzanne Chapin, Boston University, Lynsey Gibbons, Boston University and Laura Kyser Callis, Boston University; Thursday, 1:00–2:20 pm. National reports and policy recommendations highlight the importance of deepening pre-service elementary teachers’ (PSTs’) mathematical understanding and focusing on mathematical knowledge for teaching. This workshop is intended for those who teach mathematics content courses for future elementary teachers. Participants will learn about instructional materials created by the Elementary Mathematics Project (EMP) and funded by NSF. In this curriculum, PSTs engage in recurring cycles of collaborative problem solving, group discussions, and presentations that support the development of mathematical practices such as generalization and justification. Units on whole number concepts/operations and geometry will be explored. Examples of how the curriculum connects mathematical concepts, helps PSTs understand why procedures work, uses mathematical structure and illustrates children’s thinking to support learning will be provided. Attendees will examine and solve problems from the curriculum and link content to the Common Core State Standards. They will discuss how to implement the EMP materials using class discussions and presentations. Videos of how instructors enacted the tasks with PSTs will be shared. Opportunities for faculty members to field test materials will be discussed.

Writing Pedagogical and Expository Papers, organized by Janet Beery, University of Redlands, Matt Boelkins, Grand Valley State University, Susan Jane Colley, Oberlin College, Joanna Ellis-Monaghan, St Michael’s College, Brian Hopkins, St. Peter’s University, Michael Jones, Mathematical Reviews, Gizem Karaali, Pomona College, Marjorie Senechal, Smith College and Brigitte Servatius, Worcester Polytechnic Institute; Thursday, 2:35–3:55 pm. This hands-on workshop will be an opportunity for prospective authors to learn directly from journal editors what they look for in papers on mathematical pedagogy and/or expository mathematics for a broad audience. It will be conducted by members of the editorial boards of several journals whose focus includes mathematical pedagogy and general audience exposition: the College Mathematics Journal, Convergence, the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, Math Intelligencer, Mathematics Magazine, The American Mathematical Monthly, The Pi Mu Epsilon Journal and PRIMUS (Problems Resources and Issues in Mathematics Undergraduate Studies). Workshop participants are encouraged to bring to the workshop ideas, titles, abstracts, or rough outlines of prospective papers concerned with some aspect of mathematics pedagogy or with expository mathematics for a broad audience. After brief overview presentations, there will be breakout groups where editors will briefly share some primary features of representative papers published in their various journals, and where authors may discuss the specifics of their work in progress. Attendees without specific papers in mind who want to learn more about publishing pedagogical or expository papers are also welcome.

Championing Master’s Programs in Mathematics: A Forum for Advocacy, Networking, and Innovation, organized by Michael O’Sullivan, San Diego State University, Nigel Pitt, University of Maine and Virgil Pierce, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley; Thursday, 2:15–4:15 pm. This workshop will give leaders of master’s programs an opportunity to share challenges and successes and begin to plan for greater innovation and more robust advocacy for these programs. There is considerable attention given to undergraduate education and to doctoral programs in mathematics, but it seems to the organizers that the challenges facing departments that offer master’s degrees are not adequately addressed. Yet, master’s programs can be a great source of innovation. We will have a series of round-table discussions with reports backs in two phases. Phase 1 is oriented to assessment of the current status of programs in the country and will address the major challenges that master’s programs face as well as successful innovations and ways to address these challenges. It will close by identifying pathways for strengthening master’s programs, and set an agenda for the second phase, which will focus on advocacy. How can national mathematics societies and funding agencies provide more support for master’s programs? How can we increase and strengthen ties between mathematics departments and business, industry and government? What sort of networking and cooperation among the master’s degree institutions should we foster?