1 March, 2013
Volume 18 No. 9
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In This Issue


Yo: A Math Teacher's Blog

Report of the 2012 National Survey of Science and Mathematics Education


Online PD

Orientation Sessions

Problem Based Learning Courses

Graduate Credit:
Mathematics Teaching and Learning Certificate

Master's Degree


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Want to put your students in a mathematical pickle?

MathPickle's free videos, which pose rich math gems to engage the spectrum of student ability, include

  • Fibonacci Mutant Bunnies
  • Amoeba Squares
  • Kajitsu
  • Ballast Puzzles
  • Area and Perimeter of Animals
  • Locker Room Prank
  • ... and dozens more

Select a grade band for PDF solutions, presentations in PowerPoint and Keynote formats, and other supporting materials.

MathPickle advocates the establishment of a set of thirteen $1,000,000 unsolved problems — one for each grade K-12 — with the prize money to be split between the person who solves the problem and their most inspirational K-12 teacher. The final selection of these thirteen problems, and a discussion of the merits of the million dollar prize money, will take place in Banff (Canada) this November:


Believing that "we learn best through hard fun," creator Gordon Hamilton serves as resident mathematician at a Calgary school. A board game designer and founding member of the Game Artisans of Canada, Hamilton holds a PhD in Mathematical Biology.

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

"As the student solutions below show, there was some variation both in the expressions and in how you made the comparison. Finally, while we don't generally feature solutions that did not use algebra, I'm including Andrew's here because it's kind of neat...."
- Riz, commenting on the Algebra PoW's Latest Solution

Yo: A Math Teacher's Blog


Nico Rowinsky, who has taught middle school math for more than a decade, began blogging this past school year. Posts on his blog, subtitled "In search of some initial value and going from there," include

  • Teaching an Old Word Problem New Tricks: PART II
  • What happens when you've never even heard of a square root
  • Let the toothpicks fall where they may
  • The Abstraction of a Histogram
  • Proportional Representations and Other Boring Words
  • What Makes a Great Math Teacher?

Last week, Rowinsky released his first novel-length piece of fiction, entitled Sally Strange: And How She Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Grade 7 Math. It opens with this sentence: "If I was given the choice between going to math class or going to the orthodontist for a tightening, I'd probably choose the orthodontist."

Check last Thursday's blog post to read a foreword, written by the professor emerita who founded the Mathematics Education Centre of the University of New Brunswick — and to score a discount code:


Now taking place: math education conversation of the day

"That may be true, but there is also truth in the converse: passionate mathematicians, those with strong platonic/aesthetic inclinations, often have a hard time in current academia. For one thing, there are no 'generalists' anymore. There is no place for such a concept today."
- dan.ms.chaos, posted to the sci.math discussion

Report of the 2012 National Survey of Science and Mathematics Education


A report came out last week about a survey that garnered the participation of 7,752 science and mathematics teachers in schools across the United States.

The Report of the 2012 National Survey of Science and Mathematics Education (NSSME) — the fifth in a series dating back to 1977 — provides up-to-date information and identifies trends in the areas of teacher background and experience, curriculum and instruction, and the availability and use of instructional resources.

Data tables include

  • Prevalence of Block Scheduling
  • Factors Seen as Inhibiting Effective Instruction in the Randomly Selected Mathematics Class, by Grade Range
  • Mathematics Classes in Which Teachers Report Using Various Activities at Least Once a Week, by Grade Range
  • Amount of Homework Assigned in Classes per Week, by Subject and Grade Range

Characterizing the percentage of schools offering school-based programs to enhance interest and achievement in math as "strikingly low," this NSSME also finds that

  • at a time when only 62% of the K-12 student enrollment is White and non-Hispanic, roughly 90% of mathematics teachers characterize themselves that way
  • mathematics teachers tend to feel less well prepared for finding out what students thought or already knew about the key ideas to be addressed in a unit, and anticipating what students might find difficult in it
  • 43% of elementary mathematics classes use the Internet weekly, compared to just 26% of middle school mathematics classes and 11% of high school mathematics classes
  • the two factors seen as most serious problems for mathematics instruction are low student interest in the subject and low student reading abilities

Freely download NSSME — supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through a grant to Horizon Research, Inc. (HRI) — one chapter at a time; or in one fell swoop, as a 3.7M document.


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