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Archive of posts filed under the Resources category.

MfA Workshop — Mathematics and Scratch

Tonight I’ll be running a workshop at the Math for America offices in New York City on Mathematics and Scratch.

I’ve been working to incorporate more computing into my mathematics courses, and Scratch, the free, web-based, block-based programming language developed by the MIT Media Lab, has become an invaluable part of my approach to teaching basic mathematical computing and simulation.

In my workshop participants will engage in elementary mathematical explorations in Scratch that span the mathematics curriculum, from Algebra and Geometry to Calculus and Statistics.  We’ll solve some mathematics problems using computer science and some computer science problems using mathematics!  And I hope that teachers will leave with some ideas about how to get their own students making math in Scratch.

After the workshop, I’ll be posting links and resources here.

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2016 — Year in Review

The new year is off to a busy start, and I already feel a bit behind!  But I’m glad that as 2017 starts to unfold, I found some time to reflect on my professional experiences from 2016.


I did quite a bit of traveling and speaking this year.  In Kansas City, I gave an invited address at the KC Math Tech Expo titled “Using Mathematics to Create”.  I presented at the inaugural SIAM Conference on Applied Mathematics Education, the 2016 Scratch@MIT conference, and the Teaching Contemporary Mathematics conference at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics.

In October, I was honored to introduce Henry Segerman’s Math Encounter at the Museum of Mathematics.  I also participated in a panel on Computer Science Education in New York City, and ran a workshop on Desmos at the Math for America offices earlier in the year.

There’s already a lot on the schedule for 2017, but those with speaking inquiries can find out more here.


I was very proud to have my essay, “I Love Teaching Math, Maybe You Will Too” published in the November, 2016 issue of Math Horizons magazine.  The piece appeared both in print and at the Aftermath editorial website here.

This past year saw another round of media appearances from Andrew Hacker, and the accompanying round of responses from mathematicians and educators.  My contribution was “When it Comes to Math Teaching, Let’s Listen to Math Teachers” for Math for America’s Teacher Voices blog.  I was thrilled with the positive response it received from teachers.

I also continued my work with the New York Times Learning Network, publishing a mathematics lesson tied to the American Statistical Association’s 2016 Election Prediction Contest.


As always, I invited my students to create with mathematics and write about their mathematical experiences this past year.  I also continued to integrate mathematics and computer science in my classrooms, something I’ll be doing more of this coming year.  You can find out more about my approach to mathematics and teaching here.

And without a doubt, a highlight of 2016 for me was a surprise visit from New York State Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul to our high school graduation ceremony to present me with the Empire State Excellence in Teaching Award.  It was quite a surprise, and quite an honor!

I’m glad to have a productive 2016 behind me, and I’m looking forward to the new challenges and opportunities 2017 will bring.

Math Horizons Editorial

math-horizons-november-2016-coverI am proud to have contributed an editorial to the November issue of Math Horizons magazine, a publication of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA).

In my essay, “I Love Teaching Math, Maybe You Will Too“, I attempt to convey the excitement, challenge, and fulfillment of being a math teacher.  Those who study math have many career options, and while math teacher is not necessarily a glamorous job, it can be a great one.  And one that I think deserves more consideration.

The essay appears in the Aftermath section of the magazine, and is available both in print and on the MAA’s blog.  You can read my essay here, and see the full November issue of Math Horizons here.

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Teaching with the ASA’s Election Prediction Contest

My latest piece for the NYT Learning Network gets students using statistics and data analysis to create entries for the American Statistical Association‘s Election Prediction contest.

The ASA’s contest invites students to predict the winner of each state in the upcoming Presidential election, as well as the vote-share for each major party candidate.  My piece offers students some basic strategies to consider when making their predictions.

A straightforward strategy for predicting the winner of each state would be to use the latest aggregate polling data from a reputable source. The New York Times offers a state-by-state probabilities chart that provides a projected outcome for each state as determined by each of several media outlets, including The Times itself as well as FiveThirtyEight and Daily Kos, among others.

Students could choose one of the outlets to use as the basis for their predictions, but to satisfy the written requirement of the contest they should be prepared to provide some justification for their choice. For example, they could research each outlet’s methodology and explain why they found one more compelling than another (perhaps more polls are used from each state, or the predictions have been more stable over time).

In addition to introducing students to several basic prediction strategies, there are plenty of links to online resources where students can explore visualizations of voting trends and research historical voting data.  The lesson is freely available here.

The ASA’s contest ends October 24th, so get predicting!

Henry Segerman at MoMath

segerman-math-encounterMathematician, artist, and 3D-printing virtuoso Henry Segerman will be speaking at the Museum of Mathematics on October 5th, 2016.

Henry is currently a professor at Oklahoma State University, where he researches geometry, topology, and mathematical visualization.  His mathematical 3D printing is truly amazing:  to start, you can check out his triple gears, stereographic projections, and Hilbert curves.  And he has recently published a book, Visualizing Mathematics with 3D Printing, that includes companion 3D prints that readers can download for free and print themselves!  He is also involved in fascinating work in spherical video (see this spherical droste video for an example) and virtual reality, and has been featured in several Numberphile videos.

Henry will be giving a talk as part of MoMath’s Math Encounters series.  His talk is titled “3D Shadows: Casting Light on the Fourth Dimension”, and is sure to make for a fascinating evening.  I am proud and excited to be introducing Henry, whom I’ve known for many years, and whose work inspires me both as a mathematician and as a teacher.

You can find out more about the event and register here.

UPDATE:  The museum has made Henry’s full talk is available here.