You Can So Relate To This Week’s Global Math Department

You Can So Relate To This Week's Global Math Department

Edited By Brian Bushart @bstockus

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Online Professional Development Sessions

How Do They Relate? Teaching Students to Make Mathematical Connections
Presented by Tracy Zager (@TracyZager)

Many students see math content as a series of discrete topics, rather than a landscape of interconnected concepts. Through analysis of classroom examples and student work, participants will: 1) explore relational thinking–an important habit of mind of mathematicians; 2) learn specific teaching strategies to encourage students to seek and scrutinize connections among ideas; and 3) learn how to capitalize on a special class of students’ mistakes–when students overgeneralize, they are attempting connections that don’t hold mathematically. We will engage with rich math problems as we explore how to teach students to make–and break–mathematical connections.

To join the meeting when it starts at 9pm Eastern (or RSVP if it’s before 9pm), click here.

Last week at Global Math, Carl Oliver sparked our thinking with non-routine problems.

Check out the recording here.

And now for more good stuff…



This week, an important and fascinating chat happened on twitter, and I only happened upon it late. From the snippets of #MTBoS reactions, I could tell this was a hot talk, which is why I spent some time afterward looking for posts about it. A conversation between James Tanton and Andrew Hacker was live-tweeted using the hashtag #MoMathEdTalk, on the topic of the future of math education. The talk was happening at an event called Course Corrections, sponsored by the Museum of Math. Hacker was arguing that too much math is taught in high schools, most of which damages students’ chances of graduating, and isn’t needed anyway. Tanton’s thesis was that we need to continue teaching math, but with joy. There will be a video of the talk released soon, apparently, but in the meantime, check out the #momathedtalk stream (which I didn’t even know was a thing), and here are two reaction posts from Wendy Menard and  Patrick Honner.

Written by Audrey McLaren (@a_mcsquared)

Diamonds Are Forever

Tracy Zager wrote a delightful post this week about helping kids develop mathematical vocabulary. She takes us through a delightful lesson where she lets a group of first graders debate and dispute the meaning of such terms as “diamond’ and “straight,” both of which are used somewhat differently within math classes and in the rest of the world.

Which of these shapes are diamonds? We played around with the word and I learned a lot about their thinking. Mario looked unsettled and said, “Now I’m not so sure what a diamond is.” He turned to me and asked, “What’s a diamond? Which one is right?”

I said, “I don’t know. It’s up to you.”

The kids gasped.

If I excerpt anymore, I’ll just excerpt the whole thing. Just go read it.

Written by Kent Haines (@KentHaines)

Rethinking Systems Teaching


I’m wrapping up a two week teaching experience with students who struggled all year in math class with a teacher who struggled more than they. My expectation was for students to have engaging practice opportunities prior to taking the Unit 9 Systems of Equations common assessment. With the opportunity of teaching one course of Introduction to Algebra/Coordinate Algebra next year, I’m thinking of ways to increase student understanding of solving systems.

Using a context to introduce the concept will prove helpful. Systems and Oreos presents a context using Oreos. Yes, Oreos! An instant hook! Oreos and comics possibly as incorporated in this post. Organizing the information once derived will help students in different ways. Beautiful Math discussed beautiful ways to make this happen within your classroom. Check out the way she used post-it notes to show the substitution strategy algebraically. Manipulatives will aid in students visualizing the quantities within the problems/equations. See if you can make sense of these visual representations.

And round it out with some practice through the use of technology.

Written by Jenise Sexton (@MrsJeniseSexton)

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