13 January, 2012
Volume 17 No. 2
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In This Issue

IAS/PCMI Applications Due for Summer 2012

Winter Fermi Math League

Real-World Math with Vernier


Online PD


Orientation Sessions

Math and Tech Workshops


Problem Based Learning Courses

Graduate Credit:
Mathematics Teaching and Learning Certificate

Master's Degree


IAS/PCMI Applications Due for Summer 2012


Reminder: apply by Tuesday, January 31st, to attend the 2012 Summer Session of IAS/PCMI, the Park City Mathematics Institute (PCMI) of the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS). This three- week residential program takes place in Park City, Utah, from July 1 - July 21, 2012.

Teachers receive full support and a stipend during the Summer Session. In addition, 6 quarter-credits of 400-level mathematics are available from the University of Washington.

To learn more about the Secondary School Teachers Program (SSTP), visit


The Math Forum hosts information on PCMI's K-12 programs here, including SSTP working sites dating back to 2001:


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

"Now, as I metacognitate, I realize that I could've done better on one thing: answering the actual question. What I think would help me improve on this would be reading the question a couple of times, so I would clearly understand it and solve the actual question, instead of making up my own question (unconsciously) and solving that one."
- Sarah, reflecting on the FunPoW's Latest Solution

Winter Fermi Math League


Do you like to measure, estimate, and play around with technology? Then join the Fermi Off-the-Wall Math League!

This Internet-based math competition welcomes students in grades 1-9 from around the world who seek enrichment, small group work, and creative, technology-rich experiences.

A Fermi question is posed with limited information given. For example,

  • How many water balloons would it take to fill grandma's bathtub?
  • How many cockroaches will fill the trunk of a VW Beetle?
  • How much fabric would it take to make a camo-suit for Moby Dick?
  • How many eggs would fit in the Trojan Horse's body?

Fermi questions require that students ask many more questions; emphasize process rather than "the" answer; demand communication and writing; and utilize estimation, rounding numbers and guesses.

Earlier this week, registration opened for the six-week Winter '12 season, which starts Tuesday, January 31st.

Now taking place: math education conversation of the hour

"This interesting formula allows one to calculate digits of pi essentially starting at any place. It seems to have been around for over ten years now, and was discovered by a sort of combination of human and computer algorithm (the PSLQ algorithm). If the humans involved in the effort were not dreaming of Hindu goddesses, perhaps the alogorithm was."
- Joe, posted to the math-teach discussion

Real-World Math with Vernier


Vernier recently published a spiralbound book of 32 activities that explore real-world mathematical applications of concepts from algebra through calculus.

Browse Real-World Math's table of contents by activity or by products such as motion detectors, light sensors, and pH sensors; then download objectives, standards correlations, and previews of the activities.


This newsletter is provided as a service of The Math Forum, an online educational community for mathematics hosted by Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA.

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