27 February, 2015
Volume 20 No. 9
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In This Issue

Teaching Statistics Through Data Investigations

What Is Textbook School Mathematics?

The Inappropriately Secret Life of Awesome College Math Teaching


Online PD

Orientation Sessions

Problem Based Learning Courses

Graduate Credit:
Mathematics Teaching and Learning Certificate

Master's Degree


Teaching Statistics Through Data Investigations


Want to help your students explore data to make evidence-based claims?

And cultivate their habits of mind when working with statistics?

Take the Teaching Statistics Through Data Investigations Massive Open Online Courses for Educators (MOOC-Ed)!

For anyone interested in strengthening their approaches to teaching statistics through data investigations, this free MOOC-Ed includes the statistical concepts often introduced to middle school through early college learners.

This professional development course is made possible by the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University's College of Education, which originally appeared in these pages two summers ago, upon the debut of its first MOOC-Ed. Teaching Statistics Through Data Investigations receives funding support provided by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; open education resources from the American Statistical Association (ASA); and software contributed by TuvaLabs.

Starting Monday, 9 March, the course recently opened for registration:


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

"This situation was good because it helped me to see the grouping. I wonder if I would've been able to solve the problem correctly if I would've used three variables? Let p represent...."
- Jessica, highlighted in the Algebra PoW's Latest Solution

What Is Textbook School Mathematics?


Last Friday, a Berkeley University Professor Emeritus posted the first of a two-part blog on textbook school mathematics and the preparation of mathematics teachers.

Hung-Hsi Wu has written dozens of articles on curriculum and professional development with respect to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), as well as to school mathematics education more generally. He freely offers these pieces — such as the original 2015 paper that these blog posts now summarize — from his home page:


Wu's next post to the "On Teaching and Learning Mathematics" blog of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) comes out Sunday, 1 March. Recent posts by other mathematicians to this blog on math pedagogy have discussed students' confusions with proportional reasoning, their difficulties with learning slope, and their relationships to the subject:


Now taking place: math education conversation of the day

"This is a great example where the both the teacher's voice and the students' voices are strengthened at the same time. Furthermore, I love how...."
- Andrew, posted to Suzanne's blog

The Inappropriately Secret Life of Awesome College Math Teaching


On Monday, an Associate Professor at Macalester College began writing "The Inappropriately Secret Life of Awesome College Math Teaching."

Chad Topaz, winner of teaching awards while on the faculty in Minnesota as well as at UCLA and Duke University, has just today written a new installment, on humility. Future chapters include

  • Learning Styles (are not a thing)
  • Ability vs. Mindset
  • Successful Learning Environments
  • Continuous Improvement

His underlying premise is that teaching and learning are a science. Topaz further notes, "I am married to an educational psychologist. This has been immensely useful for my teaching, and I highly recommend that you yourself marry an educational psychologist at the earliest opportunity."

Continuing his introductory chapter with similar humor, Topaz observes that, "for many of us, when we do things that work for our students, we don't understand why they are working. Good teaching need not be mysterious. There is plenty of evidence about what works...." Bolstered by links to choice publications from the National Research Council (NRC), he closes with an opinion about a foundation of successful teaching — and it is a bracing one.

When not teaching, Topaz conducts research into nonlinear dynamics, pattern formation, and mathematical biology. Last summer, he won a research grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support his work on the mathematics and biology of swarms.

He views "The Inappropriately Secret Life of Awesome College Math Teaching" as "a work-in-progress (possibly forever)," and so welcomes reader feedback through the commenting function.


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