1 June, 2012
Volume 17 No. 22
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In This Issue

Summer Problems of the Week

Summer Fermi Math League

Statistics Workshops for K-12 Teachers


Online PD

Orientation Sessions

Problem Based Learning Courses

Graduate Credit:
Mathematics Teaching and Learning Certificate

Master's Degree


Summer Problems of the Week


Every two weeks from June through August, the Math Forum will continue to post challenging, non-routine problems and accept solutions to them. Although we will have only a few volunteers doing mentoring — and our responses will otherwise be scaled back as we get ready for a new series of problems at the end of August — we encourage all Problem of the Week members to continue using the PoWs throughout the summer.

Over the course of the recently concluded 2011-2012 academic year, we posted a total of 100 Current Problems of the Week, each with its own supporting resources — a great starting point for designing your own summer projects. For those with Full PoW memberships, or access through your schools or districts, help yourselves to the Library Problems. For starters, we've highlighted a seasonal selection in these pages before:


Want to get in on the fun, but don't have an account yet? Register a trial:


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

"This problem was a difficult one to explain and show your work on. One key was drawing a good picture to help you understand how all of the lengths and widths were related to one another. Cynthia, Richard, and Matthew shared this picture, which helped me understand the meaning of the different expressions they used in solving the problem ..."
- Max, commenting on the Algebra PoW's Latest Solution

Summer 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.

The four-week Summer '12 season starts Tuesday, July 12th.

Now taking place: math education conversation of the hour

"The thing that bothers me about systems like this is that it seems to give legitimacy to the totally arbitrary scale that says '90% is an A.' We all know that 90 means 'bottom of the A range' and 70 means 'bottom of the C range.' But why? What is so magical about those cutoffs? They are completely arbitrary. I would much rather look at the quality of work on the test and make grade decisions based on that."
- Corey, posted to the ap-stat discussion group

Statistics Workshops for K-12 Teachers


The American Statistical Association (ASA) offers two workshops in conjunction with the 2012 Joint Statistical Meetings, July 28 - August 2, San Diego, California.

The Meeting Within a Meeting (MWM) Statistics Workshop for middle and high school mathematics teachers seeks to enhance understanding and teaching of statistics within the mathematics curriculum through conceptual understanding, active learning, real-world data applications, and appropriate technology.


The Beyond AP Statistics (BAPS) Workshop, for experienced Advanced Placement statistics teachers, consists of a day of enrichment material just beyond the basic AP syllabus.


For free K-12 statistics education resources from the ASA, download this one-page PDF:



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