Title of Project: Combinatorics Institutes for Secondary Teachers

Year of Competition: 2002

Grant amount: $5000

Project Duration: Single Year

Type of Report: Annual

Period Covered: January 2003 to August 2003

Description of Activity:
The activity has included workshops with preservice and inservice teachers in three of the Atlantic centres to date: Fredericton (January), Halifax (April) and St. John's (August). In addition, an event will be held in Charlottetown in October. The activities have extended into collaboration that is fostering communication within the mathematical community in Atlantic Canada.

Assessment of Effectiveness:
The events have been favourably received with an interest in extending the model to other regions. The one year funding was allocated to support the outreach in Atlantic Canada. One role of the proposal was to bridge the university and high school mathematical communities. This bridging has taken place on a number of levels. anoter was to offer professional development in the form of pedagogy and mathematical content with respect to combinatorics and problem solving.

Dalhousie, University of New Brunswick, and Memorial University of Newfoundland have hosted events. Representation from the faculty (Richard Nowakowski, Karl Dilcher, Peter Fillmore, and Pat Keast) at Dalhousie was particularly impressive. Others from Acadia and the host universities have attended the workshops. Various undergraduate and graduate students have also participated in different ways. One such teacher, Michael Butler of Saint John, has completed an independent study (summer 2003) in Combinatorics with John Grant McLoughlin and Richard Hoshino through the M.Ed. program at UNB. The participants include about 90 teachers including many who are out on internships or in their initial teaching placements at schools throughout NB and NL. The majority of participants in Halifax were from math departments throughout the region including some for places such as Fall River or Wolfville. Informally the shape of the workshop was integrated into another presentation by Richard Hoshino at a provincial teacher's conference in Antigonish. It should also be mentioned that a "pilot" of the workshop had been held in Sackville for teachers mainly from the Moncton area at APICS prior to the awarding of this grant. Hence, the workshop has become part of the experience of a significant number of teachers in high schools throughout the three (soon to be four) Atlantic provinces.

The collaborative work between John Grant McLoughlin and Richard Hoshino has extended into the preparation of a book for the CMS ATOM series. A draft of this book has been reviewed by peers and the next draft will be submitted to the ATOM editorial board by the end of October, for spring publication. The collaborative work has also made it possible for Richard Hoshino to offer a guest lecture at UNB and John Grant McLoughlin to present a seminar at Dalhousie. The model was also discussed at the CMS forum in Montreal and the CMESG meemeeting in Wolfville.

The full picture continues to emerge as Richard and John have received the moral support of the math departments at Dalhousie and UNB for pursuing the proposal further (see below). It is reasonable to expect that either deaprtment would offer some institutional support plus some expertise to offer an extended institute.

Feedback from participating teachers, students and faculty has been positive. A separate email will be sent along with some of the comments form participants. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.

Future Plans (if any):
Richard Hoshino and John Grant McLoughlin are presently preparing a proposal for the 2003 competition. The idea was initially conceived of as a two year model with the first year playing out much as it had been intended and the second year featuring an institute of a few days to be held at one site, likely UNB. Hence, the support of the math department has been sought and obtained. A new Vice-President Academic has been appointed here and the plan is to request UNB to offer $1000 toward such an institute.

Further writing and collaboration in the form of professional development will take place. Ideally it would be possible to offer a few more workshops in places other than capital cities. The support of the respective Departments (Ministries) of Education would figure into this proposal.

To date, $3680.23 of the funds have been spent. The expenses have covered the costs associated with travel, accommodation, and meals (including food for the participants) at the workshops. In addition, material costs of approximately $200 have been included. The remaining $1319.77 is to spent in two pieces: the event in Charlottetown to be held in October and a collaborative meeting of Richard Hoshino and John Grant McLoughlin (in Halifax or Fredericton) that will combine preparation of an article and some form of outreach in a school setting or a professional development context. Tentatively, the plan is to incorporate some form of seminar within the mathematics and/or education community at the university.

Contact Name: John Grant McLoughlin

Further documents: Sample comments received from participants

[September 4, 2003]