25 March, 2011
Volume 16 No. 12
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In This Issue

Win an iPad at the Math Forum's NCSM Booth

Math Forum Course: Financial Education in the Math Classroom

Radiation Dose Chart


Online PD


Orientation Sessions

Math and Tech Workshops


Problem Based Learning Courses

Graduate Credit:
Mathematics Teaching and Learning Certificate

Master's Degree


Win an iPad at the Math Forum's NCSM Booth


Visit the Math Forum at Booth 512 in the Sponsor Partners Display Area of the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics annual conference in Indianapolis. Fill out a survey to help us provide you and your teachers better professional development and services — and for a chance to win an iPad.

Special for NCSM attendees: Enter our raffle for Math Forum Prize Packs. Talk to us about an opportunity to apply for free Problems of the Week Memberships with a minimum number of paid registrations in our online professional development course designed to help teachers make the most of the membership.

PoW taking place: math problem-solving moment of the week

"A neat thing about Skitch's method is his 'guess' is the same as Jack's variable 'p,' so you can see some ways that the guess and check method includes the same calculations as the algebra method. But here are some other suggestions, from other students...."
- Max and Suzanne, commenting on the Pre-Algebra PoW's Latest Solution

Math Forum Course: Financial Education in the Math Classroom


Drawing on Math Forum resources and expertise, participants in this course will engage with problem solving, software, and technology tools as they explore financial education content and teaching strategies.

This course, organized into three 2-week modules on the BlackBoard course platform, runs April 7 - May 19. Assignments will be given with deadlines, but participation will be asynchronous.

Register now:


This program is made possible by a generous grant from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation.

Now taking place: math education conversation of the hour

"This is the way homework goes every week -- I have to work to undo the formulaic thinking she's been taught, help her to understand why she'd doing what she's doing, and then we have to 'package' it very carefully to be sure the teacher does not penalize her for any creativity or off the page thinking. I just keep showing her why she's doing things, and we're very clear on when she's jumping through hoops for the grade vs. doing something the way it makes sense to her. I try to keep her motivated to use her reasoning...."
- Julie, posted to the math-learn discussion

Radiation Dose Chart


By representing sieverts with colored unit squares, this series of nested charts shows the ionizing radiation

  • from eating one banana
  • from spending one day in Japan 50km northwest of Fukushima after the earthquake and tsunami
  • from a year of living in a stone, concrete, or brick building
  • considered the lowest one-year dose clearly linked to increased cancer risk
  • from spending an hour on the grounds at the Chernobyl plant in 2010
  • from taking an airplane flight from New York to Los Angeles
  • considered the maximum external dose from the Three Mile Island accident
  • established by the Environmental Protection Agency as a limit for emergency workers in lifesaving operations
  • considered fatal
  • ... and more

Sources include the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology; the Idaho National Laboratory; the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the MIT Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering.

Randall Munroe, who worked on robots at NASA's Langley Research Center before creating the webcomic xkcd, made this chart with help from Ellen McManis, a Senior Reactor Operator at the Reed Research Reactor. Munroe blogged that McManis

"... has been spending the last few days answering questions about radiation dosage virtually nonstop (I've actually seen her interrupt them with 'brb, reactor')."

McManis' own graphical introduction to everyday doses, US regulatory limits, extreme doses, and the inverse square law provides further context to the events still unfolding at the Fukushima nuclear power plant:


For a Japanese language translation of Munroe's chart, see



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