5 September, 2014
Volume 19 No. 36
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In This Issue

Fraction Foundations MOOC-Ed

MATHCOUNTS Math Video Challenge

The Feynman Lectures on Physics


Online PD

Orientation Sessions

Problem Based Learning Courses

Graduate Credit:
Mathematics Teaching and Learning Certificate

Master's Degree


Fraction Foundations MOOC-Ed


Are you helping students learn fractions? Then help yourself to the latest Massive Open Online Course for Educators (MOOC-Ed) from the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University's College of Education.

"Fraction Foundations" introduces activities about fair-sharing, measurement, and the number line that you can use to teach fractions concepts and skills. Goals of this free, self-directed course include

  • developing a deeper understanding of the fractions content standards, and relevant practice standards, that apply in your school
  • investigating common student misconceptions about fractions and why fractions are hard for children (and adults) to understand
  • analyzing students' thinking about fractions to inform instruction
  • addressing students' learning differences when teaching fraction concepts and skills

This MOOC-Ed is organized around the recommendations of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) practice guide entitled "Developing Effective Fractions Instruction for Kindergarten through 8th Grade":


It follows on two previous Friday Institute courses: "Division and Multiplication of Whole Numbers: Bridging to Fraction Understanding" and "The Equipartitioning Learning Trajectory: A K-5 Foundation for Rational Number Reasoning." The team from North Carolina State University, last featured here in March, offers these MOOC-Eds at no cost, thanks to funding support provided by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, with additional support provided by the Oak Foundation.

Registration will remain open until the end of the second week of the course, which begins Monday, 22 September and closes Tuesday, 16 December.

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

"Knowing I was very close to my possible answer, I added 1 pound to Fifi and sub-tracked 1 pound to Sparky. I was very confused at this moment because I had tried Fifi's weight as 9 pounds, 10 pounds, and 11 pounds, and I was very close. At this point, I realized that the dogs can weigh a certain number of pounds and a half. This helped me on my sixth and final step.... My strategy shown on the picture below helped me organize my estimations."
- Jazmin, highlighted in the Algebra PoW's Latest Solution

MATHCOUNTS Math Video Challenge


MATHCOUNTS has issued its annual invitation to teams of U.S. sixth, seventh, or eighth graders: make a five minute-long video that teaches the solution to — and demonstrates the real-world application of — one of the 300 problems from the 2014-2015 MATHCOUNTS School Handbook.

Difficulty ratings and alignments to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) appear in the handbook's last three pages. Freely download the 41-page PDF here:


For Frequently Asked Questions and a link to the official rules, visit


Now taking place: math education conversation of the day

"Yes, only Module 1 has student materials; Mod 2 has teacher materials, and Mod 3 is in 'Draft' form.... The Story of Functions is very helpful for getting a feel for the topics. Shameful that they are so behind schedule. Even so, I'm looking forward to a good year. Good luck to everyone this year — we'll get through it!"
- Ronald, posted to the secondary (grades 9-12) discussion group of the Association of Math Teachers of New York State

The Feynman Lectures on Physics


One of the most popular physics books ever written went online last week — and it features LaTeX equations rendered by MathJax JavaScript, as well as scalable vector graphic (SVG) figures.

Originally published some fifty years ago, The Feynman Lectures on Physics capture the talks given by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman at the California Institute of Technology. When Discover magazine selected it as one of the 25 greatest science books of all time, the periodical noted that Feynman's "characteristic humor and peerless explanations elevate these classroom lessons to enduring classics."

In The Feynman Lectures on Physics New Millennium Edition, Caltech and The Feynman Lectures Website have updated and posted a free-to-read online edition of the three volumes, which cover

  • mechanics, radiation and heat
  • electromagnetism and matter
  • quantum mechanics

Go ahead and zoom in on any of the text, figures, or equations of the New Millennium Edition; thanks to HTML5, the resolution will not degrade.

For errata, physics and math exercises, original course notes used by Feynman's undergraduate students, and stories of the book's impact on readers' lives, visit The Feynman Lectures Website:



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