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

Problems to Ponder (October 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!

Primary Tasks (Kindergarten-Intermediate)

Building Skyscrapers of Different Heights [1]

Stack 10 blocks (or linking cubes) to make any number of towers. The heights of the towers must all be different. Can you find all of the solutions?

Adaptations and extensions: Stack 6 blocks to make towers of different heights. Stack 15 blocks to make towers of different heights. Find all of the solutions. Continue reading

Intersections (September 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 5

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Volume 2, Issue 5 (September/October 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 of The Variable. In his article “Mining Math Contests for Good Problems,” Shawn Godin shares a variety of sources of great problems for your classroom, demonstrating how they can be modified to suit your students’ needs; Caroline Junkins challenges the view that mathematical ability is determined at birth, arguing that an incremental theory of ability can lead to success in both teaching and learning; and Lee Walk and Marshall Lassak describe their effort to make homework matter to their students.

You will also find our regular features, including “Spotlight on the Profession” (this month’s interview features Lisa Lunney Borden, a mathematics education researcher committed to decolonizing mathematics education through culturally-based practices and experiences); “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 third 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 discusses “abhorrent mathematical algorithms,” or mathematical abhorithms, and explains what, exactly, he has against bow ties.

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 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: Dr. Lisa Lunney Borden

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 Dr. Lisa Lunney Borden,  who we look forward to welcoming this fall as a SUM Conference 2017 keynote presenter.


Lisa Lunney Borden is an Associate Professor of mathematics education at St. Francis Xavier University in Canada with a particular focus on Equity in Mathematics. Having taught 7-12 mathematics in a Mi’kmaw community, she credits her students and the community for helping her to think differently about mathematics teaching and learning. She is committed to research that focuses on decolonizing mathematics education through culturally based practices and experiences that are rooted in Aboriginal languages and knowledge systems. Lisa is equally committed to mathematics outreach through programs such as Show Me Your Math that was developed with David Wagner, Newell Johnson, and a team of teachers from Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey schools. This program invites Indigenous youth to find the mathematical reasoning inherent in their own community context. Lisa is a sought after speaker on Indigenous mathematics education, working with mathematics educators across Canada as well as internationally.


First things first: Thank you for taking the time for this interview!

Your research, coming on the heels of 10 years of teaching mathematics in a Mi’kmaw school in We’koqma’q, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, focuses on culturally responsive mathematics curriculum and pedagogy. You have paid particular attention to the role that language plays in the teaching and learning of mathematics, and in particular, to ways in which shifting the language in our classrooms can support Aboriginal students in learning mathematics (e.g., Lunney Borden, 2011, 2013). For example, in Lunney Borden (2011), you describe the strategy of ‘verbifying’ mathematics—in other words, shifting your way of explaining concepts to be more consistent with the verb-based linguistic structures of Mi’kmaq—as a way of supporting Mi’kmaw students in mathematics learning.

How might teachers of Aboriginal students in other parts of the country (e.g., Saskatchewan), or more generally of students whose home language is not English, apply this work to their own local contexts? Continue reading

Problems to Ponder (July edition)

BCAMTlogo

British Columbia Association of Mathematics Teachers

Welcome to the July edition of Problems to Ponder! This month’s problems have been curated by Michael Pruner, president of the British Columbia Association of Mathematics Teachers (BCAMT). The tasks are released on a weekly basis through the BCAMT listserv, and are also shared via Twitter (@BCAMT) and on the BCAMT website. This post features only a subset of the problems shared by Michael last month – head to the BCAMT website for the full set!

Have an interesting solution? Send it to thevariable@smts.ca for publication in a future issue of The Variable, our monthly periodical.

I am calling these problems ‘competency tasks’ because they seem to fit quite nicely with the curricular competencies in the British Columbia revised curriculum. They are non-content based, so that all students should be able to get started and investigate by drawing pictures, making guesses, or asking questions. When possible, extensions are provided so that you can keep your students in flow during the activity. Although they may not fit under a specific topic for your course, the richness of the mathematics comes out when students explain their thinking or show creativity in their solution strategies. Continue reading

Intersections (July 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 Middle Years Mathematics
August 16, Saskatoon, SK
Presented by the Saskatchewan Professional Development Unit

Using tasks in a middle years 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 middle years 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-middle-years-mathematics-0

Continue reading