17 January, 2014
Volume 19 No. 3
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In This Issue

Habits of Mind

Grants for New Math Teachers' Circles

Winter Fermi Math League


Online PD

Orientation Sessions

Problem Based Learning Courses

Graduate Credit:
Mathematics Teaching and Learning Certificate

Master's Degree


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Habits of Mind


A new blog dedicated to mathematical habits of mind debuted Wednesday — and it promises to feature provocative posts that explore ways of thinking about the practice and application of mathematics today.

The second post to the Mathematical Practice Institute (MPI) blog "Habits of Mind" comes from Al Cuoco, Distinguished Scholar at Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC). A 25-year veteran of public school teaching and co-director of the development of the course for secondary teachers in the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) program at the Park City Mathematics Institute (PCMI), Cuoco discusses current controversies surrounding the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) here:


This blog's focus continues a theme that Cuoco and others at EDC set forth in a white paper entitled "Habits of Mind: An Organizing Principle for Mathematics Curriculum." Before elaborating on geometric habits of mind and the algebraic ways of thinking that complement them, it envisions students as

  • pattern sniffers
  • experimenters
  • describers
  • tinkerers
  • inventors
  • visualizers
  • conjecturers
  • guessers


In addition to this white paper and other resources, MPI offers events and services such as webinars, curriculum support, professional development, and technical assistance:


Want to share your own thinking about mathematical habits of mind? MPI accepts blog post ideas through this form:


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

"Once I figured out a strategy, the problem was a lot easier. People should consider not doing it, as my first way took a long time. There is actually another way to do this! It is actually pretty simple...."
- Pete, highlighted in the Pre-Algebra's Latest Solution

Grants for New Math Teachers' Circles


Thanks to a generous donation from Math for America (MfA), the American Institute of Mathematics (AIM) recently announced seed grants of up to $2,000 for new Math Teachers' Circles (MTCs).

MTCs put middle school math teachers in regular contact with mathematicians to work collaboratively on mathematical problem solving in the context of rich problems. Nearly three dozen states already have an MTC, and eight cities plan to roll out new circles soon. For a calendar of sessions run by these member circles, as well as AIM's schedule of "How to Run a Math Teachers' Circle" workshops, visit


AIM encourages creative use of their seed grant funding, with preference going to applications received by Friday, 31 January, that articulate a plan to hold a workshop for teachers this summer.

Now taking place: math education conversation of the day

"If you could pick 5 of the people you follow who have really made you 'math smile,' who would they be?"
- Jason, tweeted to @maxmathforum

Winter Fermi Math League


Do your students like to measure, estimate, and play around with technology? Then introduce them to 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.

Register now; the six-week Winter '14 season begins Tuesday, January 28th.


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