Problems to Ponder (July edition)

Welcome to this month’s edition of Problems to Ponder! Pose them in your classroom as a challenge or try them out yourself. Have an interesting solution? Send it to thevariable@smts.ca for publication in a future issue of The Variable, our monthly periodical.

The sixth cent

Coin tossYou toss a fair coin 6 times, and I toss a fair coin 5 times. What is the probability that you get more heads than I do?

Adapted from Barbeau, E. J., Klamkin, M. S., & Moser, W. O. J. (1995). Five hundred mathematical challenges. USA: The Mathematical Association of America.

 

Dueling dice

DiceConsider the following four dice, which have the following numbers on their faces:

  • Red : 0, 1, 7, 8, 8, 9
  • Blue: 5, 5, 6, 6, 7, 7
  • Green: 1, 2, 3, 9, 10, 11
  • Black: 3, 4, 4, 5, 11, 12

The dice are used to play the following game for two people. Player 1 chooses a die, then Player 2 chooses a die. Then, each player rolls their die. The player with the highest number showing gets a point. The first player to get 7 points wins the game. If you are Player 1, which die should you choose? If you are Player 2, which die should you choose?

Adapted from Duelling dice. (n.d.). Retrieved from Mathematics Centre website: http://mathematicscentre.com/taskcentre/046dueld.htm

Two too many dice

3 in 1 die
Suppose you have a clear, sealed cube containing three smaller, indistinguishable six-sided dice. How can you use this three-in-one die to simulate a single, six-sided die? (Bonus: How can you use the three-in-one die to simulate two six-sided dice?)

Adapted from Parker, M. [standupmaths]. (2016, April 12). The three indistinguishable dice puzzle. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/xHh0ui5mi_E

The Variable – Volume 1, Issue 3

The Variable 1(3) Cover

Volume 1, Issue 3 of The Variable has just been released – just in time to make it on to your summer reading list! In this issue, you will find brand new content from teachers, students, and researchers in Saskatchewan and beyond, as well as all of our blog posts from the past month (just in case you missed them). 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!

Spotlight on the Profession: Dr. Gale Russell

In this monthly column, we speak with a notable member of the Western Canadian 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. Gale Russell of the University of Regina.


Gale Russell is a Saskatchewanian through and through.  She was born and grew up in Saskatoon, and after completing a B.Sc. (Honours) in Mathematics and a B.Ed. (Great Distinction) at the University of Saskatchewan, she began teaching in the community of Raymore.  There, she taught all of the secondary level mathematics courses as well as some Arts Education classes. Gale was also a representative to the local teachers’ association, ran a successful drama club, held regular meetings of a calculus club, and was an on call “jewelry coach,” while also continuing to pursue her other passion – playing the bagpipe. During her time in Raymore, Gale also became involved in being a pilot teacher of the then-renewed high school mathematics curricula (the former Math 10, 20, A30, B30 C30), and was later regularly seconded by the Ministry of Education to be an implementation leader around the province for those curricula.  After six years in Raymore, Gale moved to Rosetown, where she taught secondary mathematics while continuing her other activities at the school level and for the Ministry, and playing in a pipe band. 

After two years and one month in Rosetown, Gale was made the first full-time permanent Educational Consultant for K-12 Mathematics at the Ministry of Education in Regina.  In this role, Gale was actively involved in facilitating professional development throughout the province, in reviewing resources, in curriculum framework renewal with the Western and Northern Canadian Protocol (WNCP), and in writing the most recent mathematics curricula. Also during this time, Gale obtained her M.Ed. from the University of Regina, focusing her research on teachers’ and students’ conceptions about zero.  After 11 years and 11 months at the Ministry, Gale left to pursue her PhD in Education at the University of Saskatchewan, focusing her research on the kinds of knowledge and ways of knowing valued within mathematics and the teaching and learning of mathematics. Only one day ago, Gale successfully defended her dissertation on this topic, thereby completing all of the requirements for her PhD. For the past two years (and continuing onward), Gale has been working in the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina as an Assistant Professor of Secondary Mathematics Education. She continues to play her bagpipes and has two small dogs, Euclid and Chevy.


First of all, thank you for taking the time to have this conversation during this busy time of the year! Could you talk a little bit about the courses are you currently (or have just finished) teaching at the University of Regina? Continue reading

Reflections: Summer “PD” – For Kids!

Reflections is a monthly column for teachers, by teachers on topics of interest to mathematics educators: lesson plans, book/resource reviews, reflections on classroom experiences, 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.


Summer “PD” – For Kids!
Sharon Harvey

Each month, the SMTS publishes a list of upcoming PD for teachers. For this month’s blog post, I thought I’d copy that—with a twist.

Summer is almost upon us, and most of us have our own summer professional development lined up (watch for my reflection from Twitter Math Camp later this summer).  Summer PD is amazing! I know it’s supposed to be our time “off,” but with the hustle and bustle of the school year, great PD can be difficult to attend for many reasons. The number one advantage for me is that summer PD doesn’t take me out of my classroom!

With this idea in mind, I thought I would put together a list of some summer “PD” options for your students (or your own kids). Continue reading

Intersections (June edition): Upcoming professional development opportunities

In this monthly column, you’ll find information about upcoming math (education)-related workshops, conferences, and other events that will take place in Saskatchewan and beyond. If travel is not an option at this time or if you prefer learning from the comfort of your own home, see the Online workshops and Continuous learning online sections below. 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 know about an event that should be on our list, please leave a comment below or contact ilona (at) smts (dot) ca.

Within Saskatchewan 

Conferences

cropped-SMTS_Logo_RGB_noname.png

SUM Conference
November 4th – 5th, Saskatoon, SK
Presented by the SMTS

Our own annual conference! Join us for two days packed with learning opportunities, featuring keynotes Max Ray-Riek and Grace Kelemanik and featured presenter Peg Cagle. This conference is for math educators teaching in K-12, and registration includes lunch on Friday and a two-year SMTS membership. Click here for more information, and keep checking our website in the coming months for registration details.

Continue reading

The Variable – Volume 1, Issue 2

Volume 1, Issue 2 of The Variable has just been released! This issue features both brand new content, as well as content from our website that you may have missed during this busy month. Head to http://smts.ca/the-variable/, where you will be able to access and download this month’s and all previous issues for free.

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!

Problems to Ponder (June edition)

Welcome to this month’s edition of Problems to Ponder! Pose them in your classroom as a challenge, or try them out yourself. Have an interesting student (or teacher) solution? Send it to thevariable@smts.ca for publication in a future issue of The Variable, our monthly periodical.

Why was 6 afraid of 7?
Math Challenge 2016
Put the numbers 1 to 8 in the boxes below so that no consecutive numbers are next to each other (for example, 7 can’t be directly above, below, or beside 6 or 8). Note that consecutive numbers can be diagonal from each other.

2016 June - 6 afraid of 7

Continue reading

Spotlight on the Profession: Diana Sproat

In this monthly column, we speak with a notable member of the Western Canadian mathematics education community about their past, present, and future work, and about their perspectives on the teaching and learning of mathematics. This month, we had the pleasure of speaking with Diana Sproat, Mathematics Consulant of Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools.


2016 May - Diana Sproat 2Diana Sproat has been employed by Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools for the past 22 years as a teacher, Teacher on Assignment, and most currently as the Mathematics Consultant. She completed her Masters of Education at the University of Saskatchewan with a focus in the area of mathematics and as a member of the Math Cohort. Diana was honored to receive the Saskatchewan Mathematics Teachers’ Society Math Service Award in 2014.

First of all, thank you for taking the time to have this conversation in the full swing of the school year! Could you tell our readers a bit about the work that you do as the Mathematics Consultant for the Greater Saskatoon Catholic School Division? Continue reading

Reflections: 10 things I learned at #NCTMannual

Reflections is a monthly column for teachers, by teachers on topics of interest to mathematics educators: lesson plans, book/resource reviews, reflections on classroom experiences, 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 (at) smts (dot) ca.


10 things I learned at #NCTMannual
Amanda Culver

Last month, I was lucky enough to be able to spend a few days in San Francisco for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Annual Meeting and Exposition. This was my first experience at an NCTM Conference, and it won’t be my last! My days were full of sessions and I overbooked myself, because there were multiple sessions I wanted to go to that were scheduled at the same time. However, all of the sessions that I ended up attending were awesome (well, with the exception of one, which I walked out of because there weren’t enough materials for all participants; no big deal – I went teacher crazy at Target!). The amount of swag at the conference was ridiculous – my suitcase was bursting with all of the notepads, bags, pencils, pens, ribbons, pins, and t-shirts that I picked up. So many t-shirts!

2016 May - swag bag

Teachers love free merch!

Of course, the swag isn’t the only take-away from a conference like this. Continue reading

Intersections (May edition): Upcoming professional development opportunities

In this monthly column, you’ll find information about upcoming math (education)-related workshops, conferences, and other events that will take place in Saskatchewan and beyond. If travel is not an option at this time or if you prefer learning from the comfort of your own home, see the Online workshops and Continuous learning online sections below. 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 know about an event that should be on our list, please leave a comment below or contact ilona (at) smts (dot) ca.

Within Saskatchewan 

Conferences

cropped-SMTS_Logo_RGB_noname.png

SUM Conference
November 4th – 5th, Saskatoon, SK
Presented by the SMTS

 
Our own annual conference! Join us for two days packed with learning opportunities, featuring keynotes Max Ray-Riek and Grace Kelemanik and featured presenter Peg Cagle. This conference is for math educators teaching in K-12, and registration includes lunch on Friday and a two-year SMTS membership. Click here for more information, and keep checking our website in the coming months for registration details.

Continue reading