29 July, 2011
Volume 16 No. 30
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In This Issue

Circular Irrigation

Towards New Teaching in Mathematics

Flip Flop Fly Ball Infographics


Online PD


Orientation Sessions

Math and Tech Workshops


Problem Based Learning Courses

Graduate Credit:
Mathematics Teaching and Learning Certificate

Master's Degree


Circular Irrigation


This lesson study, a collaborative professional development process, yielded three increasingly richer versions of the same lesson, as well as a lesson "hook" and reflections from the teachers who planned and implemented the lesson together.

Circular irrigation is a farming technique for watering crops by rotating equipment around a pivot. All versions of the lesson share the common learning objective of students using the area of known shapes to find the area of unknown composite shapes. The third version of the lesson further challenges students to use prior knowledge to compare strategies and relationships among various solution methods presented by their peers to find efficient ways to solve the problem.

The circular irrigation lesson study was developed as part of the Park City Mathematics Institute, the 2011 edition of which recently concluded:


Now taking place: math education conversation of the hour

"I got to hang out with a bunch of 6th and 7th graders in a relatively under-served neighborhood here in Philly the last few weekends. I blogged about them here.... I showed them a picture of a big mug and a little mug. Only the little mug had a price. They all wanted to know, 'how much does the big mug cost?' and I asked them what a fair way to set the price would be. They had a really wide range of ideas...."
- Max, posted to the blog of Financial Education in the Math Classroom

Towards New Teaching in Mathematics


Spurred by the outcome of the first Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), Germany launched a nation-wide "model programme for increasing efficiency in mathematics and science education." Between 1998 and 2007, more than 1,800 schools took part, making it the largest such development project that the republic has ever carried out.

Known by its abbreviation in German, the SINUS project this year began publishing translations of its lesson outlines, textbook samples, pedagogy, word problem prompts, GEONExT activities, and other middle and high school teaching materials. Freely download monthly issues of "Towards New Teaching in Mathematics," such as

  • Dynamic Geometry with Polygon Pantographs
  • Round and Angular: A Theme with Variations
  • The Quadratic Equation: This is a Topic to Be Taught in an Inquiry-Based Way After All
  • Experiencing Mathematics
  • Teaching Mathematics: Opening up Individual Paths to Learning

Now taking place: math education conversation of the hour

"I teach in a NYC public school, and a year or so ago they gave me four preps. When I demurred, they told me...."
- Evelyne, posted to the secondary (grades 9-12) discussion group of the Association of Math Teachers of New York State

Flip Flop Fly Ball Infographics


Craig Robinson explains his illustrated statistical musings as the sum of a "love of baseball plus a love of visual representations.... what I'd have been doing when I was 12 years old had the Internet and Photoshop been available to me in the 1980s. And had I grown up in the States."

The British-born artist, whose work appeared in The New York Times earlier this month, brings both curiosity and passion to bear on his data-driven depictions of America's pastime. Often irreverent, sometimes whimsical — and occasionally ribald — Robinson's colorful diagrams and other statistical graphics have included

  • 716,083 pitches, which shows, as one continuous line, the distance covered by an entire season's worth of pitches
  • Team Names, an etymological Venn diagram
  • Biggest Payroll, which correlates on-field success and team salary totals
  • Celebrating at Home, an infographic that counts how often teams have clinched the World Series in front of their own fans
  • Born in the U.S.A., which charts the birthplace of every major leaguer from 1871 to 2009
  • Retired Numbers, a histogram of every jersey number retired in Major League Baseball (MLB)
  • Stolen Bases, which answers the tongue-in-cheek question, "If bases were really stolen, how much money would MLB teams be losing?"

Robinson's book, subtitled "An Infographic Baseball Adventure," recently hit bookstores:



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