23 March, 2012
Volume 17 No. 12
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In This Issue

Focus on Student Practice

The 101questions Blog

The Mathematical Education of Teachers II


Online PD

Orientation Sessions

Problem Based Learning Courses

Graduate Credit:
Mathematics Teaching and Learning Certificate

Master's Degree


Focus on Student Practice


The Forum's Director of Professional Development has written a journal article based on her visits to a fifth grade classroom in Philadelphia.

"Focus on Student Practice" discusses how students worked on a Problem of the Week (PoW) that developed what the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) calls the Mathematical Practice of "making sense of problems and persevering in solving them." The free four page-long download intersperses teaching tips throughout its four sections:

  • What does it mean to have our students "make sense of problems...?"
  • How does it look?
  • How does it sound?
  • What does "... persevere in solving them" mean?

The article, which appears in the current issue of the CMC ComMuniCator, concludes with related links at the Forum for freely downloading the PoW packet and other accompanying resources.

To watch video clips of Suzanne's visits, check out her blog:


This article for the journal of the California Mathematics Council joins several others written by Forum staff about implementing problem solving and writing:


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

"Not all of the correct submissions that we received used the exact same strategy I did. What I liked about the solution by Damien S. from West Mercer Elementary was the way he explained why the height of the crossing stays the same even when the distance between the poles isn't 25 meters. Annemarie C. from Rosemont School of the Holy Child thought about the problem in a totally different way. I love it when that happens!"
- Max, commenting on the Algebra PoW's Latest Solution

The 101questions Blog


This blog aims "to perplex students, to put them in a position to wonder a question so intensely they'll commit to the hard work of getting an answer, whether that's through modeling, experimenting, reading, taking notes, or listening to an explanation."

Look at an image or video with a high "perplexity" score, then submit the first question that comes to your mind — in fewer than 140 characters — or upload your own mathematical prompts.

With 101questions, launched this month, former high school math teacher and current Ph.D. candidate Dan Meyer seeks to improve on the experience of the #anyqs hashtag on Twitter:


Now taking place: math education conversation of the hour

"This is helpful. And interesting! So does a more nuanced explanation go like this? There are some mathematical and historical reasons to believe that when n > 30, a sample mean is becoming approximately normal. However, we still like to graph our data, when possible, as an indication of how skewed the population might be. And the practice of switching from t to z at 30 (or 40) is an artifact of a lack of inadequate technology. Now that we can easily compute t for any sample size, there is no need act as if something magically changes at 30. Is that more complete?"
- Jared, posted to the ap-stat discussion group

The Mathematical Education of Teachers II


The Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences (CBMS) welcomes your comments and suggestions on the draft of The Mathematical Education of Teachers II (MET2).

The preface of this draft states that MET2 "continues two themes that may have looked revolutionary to readers of the first MET report:

  • there is intellectual substance in school mathematics
  • the mathematical knowledge needed for teaching is different from that of other professions

"Moreover, like the first MET report, this report does not endorse two ideas that are all too common in the United States:

  • teachers learn all the mathematics that they need to know during their preparation programs, before they begin teaching
  • K-12 education provides future elementary teachers with the knowledge that they need for teaching mathematics to elementary students"

Download the 36 page-long MET2 draft here:


Then comment on the six chapters at this survey:


Much has changed in the decade since the publication of the original MET, including the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Initiative, the attention given by the mathematics profession to the mathematical education of teachers, and the engagement of mathematicians in the work of federally-funded Math Science Partnerships (MSPs).


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