2013 CMS Summer Meeting

Dalhousie University, June 4 - 7, 2013


Education Session: Mathematical Outreach

Organizers: John McLoughlin, Andrew Hare, Danielle Cox, and Ryan Jones

Proposals are invited to contribute to all three sessions. Direct these to John McLoughlin johngm@unb.ca

Date: Thursday June 6, 2013

8:30am - 10:00 Mathematics Camps

What happens at CMS Math Camps?

Panelists: Kseniya Garaschuk (University of Victoria), Daryl Tingley (UNB), Roman Smirnov (Dalhousie)

Moderator: Shannon Fitzpatrick (UPEI), John Grant McLoughlin (UNB)

The CMS mathematics camps have been going on for many years in locations across Canada. The forms they take vary with different target audiences, times of year, and other nuances giving them local flavour. The idea of this session is to facilitate a discussion of the diversity with a dual intent of learning more about what others do while offering insights and ideas from interested others. Your participation in the session is welcomed; the role of the panel is to initiate a discussion that will be open to input from you.

14:00 - 15:00 Outreach in the Schools

Math on the Move

Kathleen Nolan and Harley Weston (University of Regina)

This portion of the Education Session will feature two presentations, along with time for discussion. The presentations are outlined below.

Math on the Move is an initiative at the University of Regina to deliver inquiry-based mathematics activities at the grade 9/10 levels to schools outside the major urban centres. Designed and delivered by university mathematics education students, the activities are closely tied to Saskatchewan curriculum outcomes and model strategies for teaching and learning through inquiry. This year, we have increased the number of schools visited, focusing in particular on schools with a large Aboriginal student population. Plans are underway to make the activities available to others who may be interested in organizing a similar outreach educational initiative in their own communities.

In this session, the two Faculty members initiating the project (one from the Faculty of Education and one from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Regina) will provide the audience with example activities and outline their future plans for Math on the Move.

Mathematical Outreach in New Brunswick Elementary and Middle Schools: Activities, Observations, and Implications

Ryan Jones and John McLoughlin (UNB)

Mathematical outreach in three broad forms has taken place with 50+ classes in New Brunswick elementary and middle schools. The presenters will offer examples of these including ongoing collaboration over the course of a school year with a particular grade 3-4 class (about 20-25 visits); half or full day math events in various schools; and visits to select classes based upon our initiative or invitations.

The intention is to go beyond the descriptions to stimulate discussion building upon some observations and implications. Among these are: the subtleties of being in classes of teachers with varying levels of mathematical confidence; impact on student learning and volunteer/student relationships through ongoing commitments to a class; liaison and modeling teaching with education students in school settings; the place of recreational mathematics; and unanticipated benefits through teacher connections extending to professional development including that of the volunteer (student) teachers.

These outreach activities have been made possible through the generous support of the Atlantic Association for Research in the Mathematical Sciences (AARMS), along with in-kind contributions from UNB.

Note: A day of outreach with local students is being held (in collaboration with Math Circles) on June 5th at the Chase Building. CMS participants are welcome to drop by. This event with local students is organized by Danielle Cox (Dal). Look for the poster and link on the meeting site.

16:15 - 17:45 Popularization in Mathematics

The final portion of the Education Session features three presentations intended to frame an opening for discussion. Ideally other participants will bring forth their own examples of mathematically connecting with the community at large.

The Beauty of Mathematics: A Public Lecture Series

John McLoughlin (UNB)

Popularizing mathematics involves presenting mathematics in different forms and places other than those typically associated with formal academic settings. Personal experience suggests that public libraries offer one such place.

A central library location in Fredericton served as the venue for a public lecture series on Wednesday evenings in March 2011. The talks were offered by John Grant McLoughlin, Ben Newling, David Wagner, and Maureen Tingley in an effort to connect mathematical interests of UNB faculty with a broader community.

The diverse audiences of 25 to 40 people each week suggested an interest in the ideas and reinforced the value of bringing the discussion of mathematics into a public realm. The lecture series built upon earlier recreational mathematical events geared to ages 5 to 99 on Saturday afternoons, an idea that was also shared in a rural library setting.

Developing the Numeracy of Nurses: A Collaborative Effort

Kelda Smith (Halifax Grammar School)

Numeracy and dosage calculations are fundamental skills required to provide safe, competent, professional nursing practice. Nursing literature reinforces the ongoing concerns and challenges faced by nursing faculty members in the development of these skills. An initiative bringing together nursing and education faculty and students within the UNB community sought to address such concerns and challenges of nursing students.

The value of the cross-collaborative initiative is discussed including the unanticipated enrichment for the prospective mathematics teachers, insights into the eagerness and angst of nursing students, pedagogical growth, and faculty contributions and learning extending beyond the participants themselves. The presentation builds upon work in the project that has involved several faculty members at UNB including Karen Ursel, Catherine Aquino-Russell, and Cathy Barter, all in Nursing at the Moncton campus, along with John Grant McLoughlin and Debbie Bastien of Fredericton), and many students.

“The Enjoyment of Mathematics”: a classic text in the popularization of mathematics

Andrew Hare (Saint Mary’s University)

“Mathematics, because of its language and notation and its odd-looking special symbols, is closed off from the surrounding world as by a high wall. What goes on behind that wall is, for the most part, a secret to the layman.” These are the opening words to that enduring classic of mathematical exposition, “The Enjoyment of Mathematics: Selections from Mathematics for the Amateur”, by Hans Rademacher and Otto Toeplitz. In this talk I examine the choices Rademacher and Toeplitz made in the writing of their text to see what we can learn about a successful effort in popularizing mathematics. What topics did they select? What pictures and figures and diagrams, and why? What metacomments do they make and what is their purpose? What proofs do they choose to do, which do they sketch and which do they do completely? Some brief comparisons with modern popularizations will be made.


Centre de recherches mathématiques AARMS: Atlantic Association for Research in the Mathematical Sciences Fields Institute Institut des sciences mathématiques Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences

© Canadian Mathematical Society : http://www.cms.math.ca/