Welcome fall (or spring, depending on your hemisphere)!

Welcome fall (or spring, depending on your hemisphere)!

Edited By Brian Bushart @bstockus

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Today at Global Math

Today at 9pm Eastern / 6pm Pacific, Bob Janes guides us in a session about math and music. There are many strong connections between mathematics and music that can be adapted to fit classrooms from middle school through secondary education. In this talk, we will focus on three key aspects. First, we will look at sound as a sine wave and discuss how complex sounds are created through function addition. Next, we will discuss how various musical scales possess both rational and irrational qualities. Finally, we will explore how composers can use translations to create variations on a theme. Throughout the talk, we will link all of these topics back to Common Core Standards and do a little bit of math along the way. If you teach within a music, arts, or physics themed environment; want a new angle to approach concepts; need an independent study for a particular student; or just like music and math then this is for you!

Click here to join the conference.

Last week (Tuesday, September 22, 9 PM EDT), Matt Coaty presented the session Open House/Back To School Night.

Check out the recording here.

So Long, September

Colour Me Mathy

Maybe because it’s fall, which is such a colourful time of year, this week I purchased a grown-up colouring book, (that’s right, with a u). I am completely taken up with the calming effect of colouring, and as a bonus, there’s also a lot of math in it! As a result, here’s where Twitter led me this week, to mathy things that are also colourful. First, thanks to Tim Harford’s (@TimHarford) tweet, I found out that Alex Bellos has actually made a math-themed colouring book. Cool. Then thanks to Steve Phelps’ (@giohio) tweet, I saw this post by Stephen Von Worley about dancing factors, which includes this Factor Conga link. Just beautiful, and a mind-blowing way to communicate what prime numbers are. Finally, I read Fawn Nguyen’s (@fawnpnguyen – like you didn’t already know!) post about giving feedback using different coloured highlighter pens – oh man am I ever going to try that. More colouring yay!

written by Audrey McLaren (@a_mcsquared)

Conceptual Understanding in Mathematics


I’m starting to feel that conceptual understanding in mathematics is becoming more like differentiation. You know how people talk about differentiation but never really do it?  Or how when asked about differentiation, they have great ideas with very limited follow through?  With the implementation of the Common Core standards, one would expect teachers to make the shift to developing students’ understanding of the concepts. One big hindrance I’ve seen is teachers’ own lack of conceptual understanding. It’s definitely one thing I’m facing as I work to support teachers at school. Seeing @ED_realist recent post gives me a clearer picture of my level of conceptual understanding.  This post showed me at what level of mathematics my conceptual understanding stops.  The conversations his Algebra 2 students had, I could have easily shied away from because I don’t know the whys behind the mathematics.  Linked within his post is Grant Wiggins’ post about conceptual understanding.  Wiggins’ perspective gives insight to the importance of conceptual understanding at the primary level.  Provided with a solid definition, examples and a test, any teacher could assess their knowledge of why.  If you find yourself lacking as I did, take action.  There are many resources out there which can help teachers build their own understanding.  Some of my favorites are Van de Walle, Nzmaths and Georgia Frameworks.

written by Jenise Sexton (@MrsJeniseSexton)

Meatball Surgery


Joe Schwartz posted a typically thoughtful reflection on a recent lesson that he improved through the power of Meatball Surgery. It’s a great example of taking a boring math lesson and improving it through a series of common pedagogical moves such as delaying the question and building student understanding.

But Joe ends the reflection on a relatively pessimistic note. He compares the dry, tedious curriculum with the dynamic classroom he just experienced and steps back to think about how much effort was required to turn that single math lesson into a powerful experience for his students. And that is a lesson that will be taught one time, to one group of elementary students, each year. Elementary teachers have such a burden placed upon them. They never get to try the same lesson twice. If they want to iterate and improve their lessons, they have to wait until the next school year. How can they find the time to meaningfully alter every one of their math lessons to suit their students? And shouldn’t the curriculum itself be a better representation of best practices, so that the teacher doesn’t have to reinvent their lessons each day? Hop into the comments on Joe’s post to debate and discuss.

written by Kent Haines (@MrAKHaines)

If you want more math resources be sure to check out Global Math’s Project Page

Global Math Department Needs Your Help!

The Global Math Department is looking for individuals who are interested in planning the Tuesday night webinars hosted on Big Marker. GMD bookers contact potential speakers regarding speaking opportunities, and provide them with details on planning sessions. If you are interested in being more involved with the Global Math Department, contact Heather at heather.m.kohn@gmail.com or Dylan at dkane47@gmail.com.

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