7 December, 2012
Volume 17 No. 49
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In This Issue


8 Math Talks to Blow Your Mind

Math Matters, the Contest

Math Girls 2: Erratum, and Update


Online PD

Orientation Sessions

Problem Based Learning Courses

Graduate Credit:
Mathematics Teaching and Learning Certificate

Master's Degree




To "open up the professional development usually locked up at these kinds of conferences," math teachers at last weekend's regional conference and exposition of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), held in Chicago, and at the annual conference of the California Mathematics Council - Northern Section (CMC-North) gathered together virtually at the new MathRecap site to blog about

  • Amy Ellis: Laying a Foundation for Learning to Prove
  • Farrand, West, and Stetson: Problem Solving as PD for the CCSS
  • Michael Shaughnessy: Reasoning and Sense-Making: Keys to Student Engagement
  • Karen Arth: Mathematical Modeling
  • Karen Arth: Making Functions in Algebra Active and Interesting
  • Lisa Nussdorfer: Using the iPad in the Mathematics Classroom
  • Kyndall Brown: Access, Equity, and the Standards for Mathematical Practice

The Forum's own Suzanne Alejandre co-presented twice at CMC-North. See outlines for the last three conferences where our very busy Director of Professional Development has presented in the past month, download her PowerPoints or PDFs, learn about grant opportunities, and access rich problems, scenarios, and other resources from her blog:


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

"Notice how Matthew wrote out his calculations in words before he put the numbers in. That really helped me tell if his calculations made sense."
- Max, commenting on the Pre-Algebra PoW's latest solution

8 Math Talks to Blow Your Mind


TED, the nonprofit "devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading," recently selected videos of eight talks that "breathe life and logic into everyday problems." The clips range in runtime from four minutes to eighteen:

  • Ron Eglash: The fractals at the heart of African designs
  • Dennis Wildfogel: How big is infinity?
  • Arthur Benjamin does "Mathemagic"
  • Scott Rickard: The beautiful math behind the ugliest music
  • Margaret Wertheim: The beautiful math of coral
  • Benoît Mandelbrot: Fractals and the art of roughness
  • Michael Mitchell: A clever way to estimate enormous numbers
  • Geoffrey West: The surprising math of cities and corporations

Since 1984, TED has brought together people from the three worlds of technology, entertainment, and design. For over a hundred more TED Talks on math, start here:


Now taking place: math education conversation of the day

"When I received an invitation to be part of the Ignite! presentations at CMC-North 2012, I was both honored and terrified! I had seen my Math Forum colleagues prepare and present at NCTM 2011 - Indianapolis and NCSM 2012 - Philadelphia. I wanted to be like them and give an Ignite! talk but I didn't want to feel the pressure ... so ... I kept it a secret. It really happened, though...."
- Suzanne, posted to her blog

Math Matters, the Contest


Math Matters flyers reveal the mathematics behind everyday life and the technologies we encounter. Appropriate for elementary, middle, and high school students, the series continues to grow since we first featured it in these pages three years ago. As part of this applied mathematics awareness campaign, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) has also translated six of these free one-page PDF flyers into Spanish.

SIAM recently announced a contest seeking ideas for new Math Matters. To win one of the three cash prizes that total $500, submit one page of text before the deadline of next Friday, 14 December, following these guidelines:


Not yet a member of SIAM? Apply now for an annual membership, which begins at $25 for full-time students enrolled in any college or university:


Now taking place: math education conversation of the day

"The development of the 3-rule you show is pretty good. Of course, another aspect is to see that this can be extended indefinitely for any number of digits. I like it, thanks. My son isn't quite there yet, but soon."
- Robert, posted to the math-teach discussion

Math Girls 2: Erratum, and Update


Last week's feature on Math Girls 2 contained a misstatement.

MG2:FLT is a novel, and is the sequel to Math Girls. The Kickstarter campaign was for the manga (comics) version of the original Math Girls novel.

Bento Books are doing final editing of the Math Girls comic, which they expect to publish early next year.

Marion Cohen, who teaches math and writing at Arcadia University, recently reviewed Math Girls 2 for the Mathematical Association of America:



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