Previous Additions to the Forum
July - September 2009


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September

Problems of the Week Calendar (18 September 2009)
We have reformatted the page of PoW support documents to serve as a calendar, so you can see when problems are active and when free mentoring opportunities are available.
 
Free Mentoring Opportunity (18 September 2009)
A mentor group will be providing feedback to submitters in upcoming problems opening on these dates:
Updated PD Schedule (18 September 2009)
We have rescheduled one of our online professional development courses. Differentiated Math Instruction: Using Rich Problems to Reach All Learners will now be offered October 1 to November 11. Participants will explore strategies for using problem solving to build skills and concepts for struggling student and to provide challenge for those who soar. Participants should expect to spend 3-5 hrs per week on the course.

Who: Teachers of grades 3-8 with classroom accounts.

Participation requires Problem of the Week membership at the Class level or higher. Non-members or Individual Teacher members may purchase the necessary access at a discounted rate.

Registration deadline: Sept 25, 5 pm Eastern

Alliance for Minority Participation Workshop (17 September 2009)
Max Ray and Mai Sidawi gave a whole day workshop for first-year Drexel students as part of this program to involve under-represented populations in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines. The workshop focused on math enrichment activities in problem solving and critical thinking to introduce them to that facet of Drexel culture.
 
Mentors 4 STEM Workshop (17 September 2009)
Max Ray and Suzanne Alejandre helped train mentors during a Mentors 4 STEM workshop at Temple University, Center City. Temple University's Experience Corps and the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) are collaborating on a project that will bring together retired professionals and high school science and math teachers at two Philadelphia charter high schools, the Arise Academy and the Multicultural Academy, to design experiential activities and instructional projects.
 
CAEL Grant (September 2009)
This fall, the Math Forum is working with retired professionals at two Philadelphia charter high schools, the Arise Academy and the Multicultural Academy, through a Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) Mentor Development grant. Our aims are to increase student responsibility for their learning and help teachers facilitate that process, as well as to give the mentors a repertoire of activities and tools to work effectively with students.
 
INCLUDE Workshops in Lindenwold, NJ (September 2009)
Educational Programs Leader Annie Fetter is working with teachers at Lindenwold Middle School in conjunction with an Implementing New Curricular Learning with Universally Designed Experiences (INCLUDE) grant. The Math Forum is joining the group in the grant's last year as its higher-ed partner.
 
Lindy Scholars Program (September 2009)
Max Ray, Mai Sidawi, and Ellen Clay are working this year with the Lindy Scholars program at Drexel. They facilitated a workshop on 17 September to train Drexel students as tutors for 6th grade students in our neighborhood schools in West Philadelphia, known as Lindy Scholars. The Forum staff worked with the tutors, who also act as mentors to the Scholars, on problem-solving strategies they can use throughout their school curriculum. The tutor/mentors, also known as Lindy Advisors, will work with their Lindy Scholars at twice-weekly meetings throughout the year, advancing to more sophisticated problem-solving strategies over the course of the Scholars' years in middle school.
 
Free Mentoring Opportunity (11 September 2009)
Mentors will provide feedback to Geometry PoW submitters for the problem posted on September 21.
 
Math Forum Professional Development Courses (11 September 2009)
Make effective use of your Problems of the Week subscription, or improve your classes' mathematical thinking and communication skills while you earn CEUs. New courses start soon:

September 17:

  • PoW Class Membership: Resources & Strategies for Effective Implementation *
  • Differentiated Math Instruction: Using Rich Problems to Reach All Learners *
  • Problem Solving Strategies

September 24:

  • The Math Forum's Problem Solving Process
  • Teaching Math with the Problems of the Week *
  • Problem Solving in Geometry and Measurement, Course 1
  • Resources & Strategies for Effective Math in Context (MiC) Implementation, Course 1 [6th or 7th or 8th grade focus]

September 30:

  • Moving Students from Arithmetic to Algebra...one step at a time

* Participation requires a PoW Membership at the Class level or higher.

Math Forum Professional Development Courses (4 September 2009)
We have a new round of professional development courses starting September 17. The first two courses below are designed to help Problem of the Week members make the most of their PoW memberships.
  • PoW Class Membership: Resources & Strategies for Effective Implementation
  • Differentiated Math Instruction: Using Rich Problems to Reach All Learners
  • Problem Solving Strategies
 
University of Michigan Workshop (1-2 September 2009)
Max Ray and Annie Fetter traveled to Ypsilanti, Michigan, to work with a team of high school teachers and University of Michigan Engineering graduate students who work in the high school classrooms as "Teaching Fellows". The TFs provide in-class support and bi-weekly presentations on the role of mathematics in science and engineering. The focus of the two-day workshop was to look at ways in which the mathematics classrooms might become more student-centered and problem-solving oriented.
 

August

New Features in the Problems of the Week (28 August 2009)
The Activity Series provides a framework and classroom activities to develop problem solving strategies and mathematical communication. This coherent sequence runs in parallel with the Current Problems of the Week, but can be used with other non-routine problems of your choosing.

This year we've added an option to print the scenario without the question to solve. This supports our popular "Noticing and Wondering" approach, described in the first "Understanding the Problem" activities and in our article (PDF format):

http://mathforum.org/pow/teacher/PoWsGettingStarted.pdf

We've also added a student worksheet to help organize their work.

West Oak Lane Workshops (20-21 August 2009)
Claire Mead and Annie Fetter worked with teachers at the West Oak Lane Charter School on problem solving and creating more student-centered math classrooms. The workshops also covered how to use the Problems of the Week School Membership.
 
Tredyffrin Easttown School District Workshops (18 and 20 August 2009)
Suzanne Alejandre and Mai Sidawi led workshops for Tredyffrin Easttown School District on the 18th and 20th of August, exploring how Math Forum resources can support nine week core extension courses, and exploring how Math Forum resources can support mathematics courses.
 
Make It Real Learning (14 August 2009)
The Math Forum is pleased to announce a relationship with a new sponsor, Make It Real Learning. Make It Real Learning creates engaging math activities based on real world data. Whether learning about fractions from a chocolate chip cookie recipe or learning about linear functions from a cell phone plan, the activities teach math while answering the question, "When am I ever going to use this?"

Make It Real Learning publishes a free educational newsletter and offers a free 10-activity sampler of some its most popular math activities. Discounted pricing on the 110-activity Activity Library, Volume 1, and the newly released States by the Numbers series are offered to school districts and colleges for volume purchases.

In the months ahead, the Math Forum and Make It Real Learning plan to work together in creating customized educational materials for learners in workforce development programs and professional/technical training programs. By providing learners with the math they need at the time they need it, the Math Forum hopes to help workers increase the on-the-job skills that will allow them to advance in their jobs.

Camden County Workshops (10-14 August 2009)
Max Ray, Annie Fetter, and Mai Sidawi worked with teachers in conjunction with an Implementing New Curricular Learning with Universally Designed Experiences (INCLUDE) grant at the Woodlynne School. We focused on problem solving, technology, and thinking about how both of those things can help differentiate instruction.
 
New PoWs are Here! (4 August 2009)
Our new software is live! Take a look using your current login and password, or sign up for a trial account if you're not yet a member. The PDF Teacher's Guide has been updated to reflect the new site. And for class-level members, we have an introductory video. For a thorough introduction to your subscription, consider signing up for our professional development online course, PoW Class Membership: Resources & Strategies for Effective Implementation. The next session is August 20 through September 30, and you can learn more or sign up here.
 

July

Policy Briefs from PCMI's International Seminar (31 July 2009)
The Park City Mathematics Institute hosts a yearly international seminar on Mathematics Education Around the World. Resources now include more papers and reflections on, among other topics: reasoning and proof, problem solving, preparing teachers, bridging policy and practice: a focus on teacher preparation. More information on the seminar is available here.
 
Math Images (31 July 2009)
Math Images is ready for its official launch. The Math Images Project aims to introduce the public to mathematics through beautiful and intriguing images found throughout the fields of math. The images feature resources around the mathematics of the images, including discussions, applets, and other related features. The Math Images Project is a wiki collaboration between Swarthmore College, the Math Forum at Drexel University, and the National Science Digital Library.
 
Online Course: PoW Class Membership (27 July 2009)
After completing this six-week course, you as a current subscriber of the Problems of the Week (PoWs) will be familiar with all of the features and resources associated with your PoW membership access. You will be able to make an informed decision about how to start implementing PoWs with your students, and you'll have an idea of further steps to try when you are ready. The next session of this course runs from August 20 through September 30. Registration closes at 5 pm EDT on Friday, August 14, 2009.
 
The Problems of the Week are Getting a Makeover! (24 July 2009)
The Math Forum @ Drexel is looking forward to the launch of our new Problems of the Week software. Our technical staff has developed a system which will be more user-friendly and offer much-improved performance in terms of speed and reliability. In order to complete the transition and testing of the new system, our Problems of the Week service will not be available from Friday, July 31 through Tuesday, August 4. There will be no access to any part of any of the PoW services during that period: current problems, Library, Write Math, student registration, teacher offices, etc. will all be closed.
 
PCMI: Our Backpack Data: Making Conclusions from Graphs (17 July, 2009)
William Thill's small-group activity with whole-class discussion and optional use of Fathom™ software involves graphing data from a survey of guessed vs. actual weight of backpacks.
 
PCMI: Let 'Em Roll™ Simulation (17 July, 2009)
In this activity by Matthew Carpenter, students calculate experimental and theoretical probabilities in a dice game in which both mutually exclusive and dependent events occur.
 
PCMI: Parabolic Path to a Best Best-Fit Line (17 July, 2009)
In this activity by Jeff Reinhardt and Joe Simons, students experiment with the underlying quadratic relationship between slope and residuals to find the least squares regression line in this activity.
 
PCMI: The Geometry of Piles of Salt (10 July, 2009)
This classroom activity was developed by Troy Jones as part of the Park City Mathematics Institute. View other PCMI Resources for Teachers.
 
National Academy Foundation Annual Institute for Staff Development (8-10 July, 2009)
Stephen Weimar presented "Problem Solving, Mathematical Communication, and Formative Assessment for Differentiated Instruction" at this conference in Phoenix, Arizona.
 
Montgomery County (MD) Public Schools Workshop (8 July, 2009)
Annie Fetter, Steve Risberg, and Stephen Weimar presented a workshop on Problem Solving, Assessing Student Thinking, and the Integration of Technology in the Math Classroom.
 
New Online PD Courses (3 July 2009)
We have posted our fall and winter schedules of online professional development courses. We also recently added these new courses to our offerings:

Differentiated Math Instruction: Using Rich Problems to Reach All Learners

September 17 - October 28, 2009
February 11 - March 24, 2010
Rich problems invite a variety of solution strategies. They provide an effective vehicle for accommodating a range of levels and learning styles, and for addressing the NCTM Process Standards as well! We will share strategies for using problem solving to build skills and concepts for struggling students and to provide challenge for those who soar.

Problem Solving in Geometry and Measurement, Course 1

September 17 - October 28, 2009
January 21 - March 3, 2010
This course will provide teachers an opportunity to deepen their understanding of topics and student learning in geometry and measurement and the problem solving process. Teachers will discuss their own solutions to problems about perimeter, area, volume, and properties of triangles. Exploration will include the use of interactive applets and dynamic geometry software. Teachers will analyze student work to discover strengths and weaknesses in order to make more effective instructional decisions.

Problem Solving in Geometry and Measurement, Course 2

November 5 - December 16, 2009
March 11 - April 21, 2010
This course is similar to Course 1, but will involve problems about symmetry in the plane, circles, and similarity. Note that Course I is not a prerequisite for Course II, but it's recommended that teachers take Course I before Course II if at all possible.

Drexel Learning Center Supplemental Support Section (22 June-31 July 2009)
Suzanne Alejandre, Mai Sidawi, Max Ray, and Stephen Weimar conducted a supplemental program for the Drexel Learning Center for the second year in a row. The goal of this program was to help entering Drexel students develop their mathematical problem solving and communication skills in preparation for academic year programs and to build their capacity as independent learners. Forum staff trained and supported peer tutors who mentored Dragon Summer Program students using the Math Forum Problems of the Week program.
 

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