Reflections: Foundations 20 Introduction Tasks – Linear Inequalities and Statistical Reasoning

Reflections is a monthly column for teachers, by teachers on topics of interest to mathematics educators: reflections on classroom experiences, professional development opportunities, resource reviews, and more. If you are interested in sharing your own ideas with mathematics educators in the province (and beyond), consider contributing to this column! Contact us at thevariable@smts.ca.


Foundations 20 Introduction Tasks – Linear Inequalities and Statistical Reasoning
Sharon Harvey

I’ve taught Foundations of Mathematics 20 a few times, and each time I have found myself struggling with the disconnect between topics. At times, it feels as though the course is a dumping ground for concepts students should know, but that didn’t really fit anywhere else. And I notice that students struggle to remember concepts from the beginning of the course (that we do not use again after the unit) when it comes time to prepare for the final exam.

So I decided to look for opening tasks for units that would help introduce the main topic, perhaps shake up a little prior knowledge, and create memorable experiences that I could relate to when reviewing for the final exam.  Collaborating with Amanda Culver and Andrea Klassen, we came up with activities that we felt would work well. Today, I’m going to share two of my favorites with you. Continue reading

Spotlight on the Profession: Dr. Alayne Armstrong

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. Alayne Armstrong.


Alayne Armstrong joined the Faculty of Education of the University of Regina in July 2016 as an Assistant Professor in Mathematics Education. She completed her PhD in 2013 in the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy at the University of British Columbia (UBC), where she was a SSHRC Doctoral Scholar. Her Masters and Bachelor of Education degrees were also obtained from UBC, and she has additional degrees from the University of Manitoba and Queen’s University. Prior to joining the University of Regina, Alayne was a classroom teacher in the Coquitlam School District in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, and she also taught undergraduate education courses in math methods and inquiry at UBC. She is currently getting to know Regina and enjoying the friendly people, the pelicans and muskrats, and the big blue sky.


First things first, thank you for taking the time for this conversation!

As you had spent 19 years teaching in the K-12 public school system prior to joining the faculty at the University of Regina in the summer of 2016, your research undoubtedly draws from a wealth of experience in the classroom. Whose work influenced you during your time as a teacher? Then, which gap in the research, or which classroom experiences, urged you to transition into the domain of educational research? Continue reading

Challenges, Contests, Camps: Extracurricular Opportunities for K-12 Students

This column highlights local and national extracurricular opportunities for K-12 students interested in mathematics, including collaborative, individual, online, and in-person challenges, contests, and camps. For dates, registration procedures and applications, and other information about the contests listed, please head to the contest websites, included below the descriptions. If we have missed an event that should be on our list, please contact us at thevariable@smts.ca.

If you are looking for contests available in other provinces, head to the Canadian Mathematical Society website (cms.math.ca/Competitions/othercanadian). The CMS also maintains a list of resources for students who are looking to build their problem-solving skills and succeed in competitions: see cms.math.ca/Competitions/problemsolving.

The following events are hosted locally:

University of Regina Regional Math Camp
March 11, 2017

The Math Camp is a full day event for students in Grades 1 through 12 who are interested in exploring the infinite frontier of mathematics beyond the school curriculum. Participants are guided by professors and students through a fun and enriching day. In a variety of grade appropriate sessions, students will explore mathematical topics in hands-on activities, games, puzzles, and more.

See https://www.uregina.ca/science/mathstat/community-outreach/mathcamp/

Extreme Math Challenge
March 18, 2017

The Extreme Math Challenge is a math competition for students in Grades 7 to 10 consisting of three rounds: individual, team, and team relay. The event will challenge students mathematically and encourage them to work together to solve math problems. Oh, and there will be prizes, too!

The contest will be held at Centennial Collegiate in Saskatoon. Register teams of 3-5 students by Tuesday, March 14 at 6 pm; pay $5 per student on the day of the competition to cover the cost of the pizza lunch. Contact MilnerC@spsd.sk.ca for more details.

Canadian Math Kangaroo Contest
March 26, 2017

The purpose of this competition is to introduce youngsters from Grade 1 to Grade 12 to math challenges in a fun and enjoyable way, thus inspiring their further interest and advancement in mathematics. The competition is held yearly in more than 40 Canadian cities. Students may choose to participate in English or in French.

Students in Saskatoon may write the contest at Walter Murray Collegiate; students in Regina may write the contest at the University of Regina. Contact Janet Christ at christj@spsd.sk.ca (Saskatoon) or Patrick Maidorn at patrick.maidorn@uregina.ca (Regina).

See https://kangaroo.math.ca/index.php?lang=en

Continue reading

Problems to Ponder (February edition)

BCAMTlogo

British Columbia Association of Mathematics Teachers

Welcome to the February 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 (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!

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
February 8, 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 Continue reading

New Year, New Schedule

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Happy New Year!

Do you have any New Year’s resolutions? Maybe you would like to incorporate number talks on a regular basis in your classroom, learn how to use the activity builder in Desmos, or even simply remember to take some time for yourself during the school year. If you’re looking for some ideas, Saskatoon math teacher Amanda Culver shares her own resolutions in our latest post, “2017 Teaching Resolutions.

We—that is, the Saskatchewan Mathematics Teachers’ Society and The Variable team—have a resolution, too: to bring you great, relevant content all year round. To ensure that we can continue to do so, we have decided to change our schedule from a monthly to a bi-monthly release. So from now on, you can look forward to a new issue of The Variable every two months, starting with the current issue: January/February, which will be followed by March/April, May/June, July/August, September/October, and November/December. As always, all issues of The Variable will continue to be free to access and download on our website at smts.ca/the-variable/.

Whether you teach in Kindergarten or Grade 12, we hope that you continue find this periodical relevant and valuable for your teaching. If you have any questions or comments about what you read, don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing us at thevariable@smts.ca—we would love to hear your feedback. And if you would like to share your perspectives and experiences with a wider audience—for example, in the form of a lesson, essay, or story—please consider contributing to The Variable (for more information, click here). A New Year’s resolution, perhaps…?

We look forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, happy reading!

 

The Variable – Volume 2, Issue 1

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How might you encourage students to attend to precision in their work? What do your students understand by “cancelling” when reducing rational expressions? How might you incorporate basic coding in your math classroom – and why? Explore this and many other questions in the latest issue of The Variable, whether you teach Kindergarten or Grade 12. Head to http://smts.ca/the-variable/, where you will find this month’s and all previous issues free to access and to download.

As always, 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!

Reflections: 2017 Teaching Resolutions

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Reflections is a monthly column for teachers, by teachers on topics of interest to mathematics educators: reflections on classroom experiences, professional development opportunities, resource reviews, and more. If you are interested in sharing your own ideas with mathematics educators in the province (and beyond), consider contributing to this column! Contact us at thevariable@smts.ca.


2017 Teaching Resolutions
Amanda Culver

A new year means a new start. A time to reflect on the previous year and a time to set goals for the year ahead.

A new year means a new start. A time to reflect on the previous year and a time to set goals for the year ahead. In two weeks, I get to teach math again! As a French Immersion teacher, I love teaching my French courses, but I also miss working with math. In particular, knowing that this will be my second time teaching the Foundations of Mathematics 20 course, I am excited to come at the course from a different angle, after doing a lot of reflection at the end of last year (puns intended). And so, in the spirit of the season, I have developed a list of resolutions to guide me this year. The resolutions (or goals) that follow mostly apply to this course, but also extend to my extra-curricular mathematical involvements. Continue reading

Spotlight on the Profession: Jennifer Brokofsky

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 Jennifer Brokofsky.


Jennifer Brokofsky is the K-12 Coordinator of Mathematics for Saskatoon Public Schools.  She is passionate about mathematics education, and believes in empowering students and teachers to feel ownership of, and become deeply engaged in their own learning. Her Masters work in Educational Technology and Design strongly influences her practice and her belief in the importance of technology as a tool to enhance and extend learning opportunities for all.


Thank you for taking the time to have this conversation! To start off, could you tell our readers a bit about the work that you do as Coordinator of Mathematics for the Saskatoon Public School Division?

As the Coordinator of Mathematics, my job is to support and advocate for mathematics within Saskatoon Public Schools. My work provides me with opportunities to be a researcher, learner, leader, designer, and collaborator. Some days, I facilitate professional learning opportunities for teachers or work in classrooms with students. Other days, I collaborate with school-based administrators and teachers on strategic plans for mathematics. Every day, I work closely with a fantastic Staff Development Team who have a wealth of expertise to share around mathematics, literacy, technology, First Nations and Métis education, English language learners, student supports, and leadership. I love that every day provides me with an opportunity to learn and to serve the many mathematicians within Saskatoon Public Schools. Continue reading

Problems to Ponder (January edition)

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BCAMTlogo

British Columbia Association of Mathematics Teachers

Welcome to the November 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