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Ceilings of Curvature

On a visit to the Lowline, I noticed an interesting application of mathematics above us.

The ceiling is a tiling of hexagons and equilateral triangles.  But unlike a typical tiling of a flat bathroom floor, this tiling seems to create a curved surface!  Here’s a closer look:

The underlying pattern is hexagonal, but when a hexagon is replaced with six small, hinged equilateral triangles, the surface gains the potential to curve.

It’s interesting to follow the “straight” line paths as they curve over the surface.  And since this tiling is suspended from above, it’s interesting to think about what the surface would look like if it were lying on the ground.  How “flat” would it be?  Or a better question might be “How far from flat is it?”

Science Everywhere Innovation Challenge

Donors Choose, with support from the Simons Foundation and the Overdeck Family Foundation, has launched the Science Everywhere Innovation Challenge.

Teachers are invited to design innovative, hands-on math and science projects that will engage and excite students outside of school, and then submit those projects through  Eligible projects will receive matching funds from the Simons and Overdeck Foundations, and the top five entries will win an additional $5,000 in classroom funding.

Winners will be determined by a panel of judges led by astronaut and author Leland Melvin.  I am proud to be one of the teachers on the panel, and I’m excited to see the cool projects submitted by classroom teachers from around the country!

You can read about the Science Everywhere Innovation Challenge here and find all the participation details at the Donors Choose website here.

02/17/2017 — Happy Permutation Day!

Today we celebrate a Permutation Day! I call days like today permutation days because the digits of the day and the month can be rearranged to form the year.

We can also consider today a Transposition Day, as we need only a single transposition (an exchange of two numbers) to turn the year into the day and date.

Celebrate Permutation Day by mixing things up! Try doing things in a different order today. Just remember, for some operations, order definitely matters!

PAEMST Applicant Webinar

On Wednesday, February 15th, I’ll be participating in a webinar hosted by the National Science Foundation for teachers who are applying for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

The purpose of the webinar is to help interested teachers navigate the application process, which involves a lot of planning, recording, reflecting, and writing.  As a PAEMST awardee, I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences applying for, and receiving, the award.

If you are applying for the PAEMST, or considering it, you can register for the free webinar by clicking here and searching for “Applicant Webinar”.  I will be participating in the webinar on 2/15 at 2:00 pm, but NSF is running webinars throughout the nomination period, so there are many dates and times to choose from.

And if you know a deserving teacher, it’s not too late to nominate them for the Presidential Award!  You have until April 1st, 2017.

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NCTM Annual 2017

Image result for 2017 nctm annual meetingI’m excited to be heading to San Antonio in April for the 2017 NCTM Annual Meeting!

NCTM’s annual meeting brings together thousands of educators from across the country to discuss mathematics, pedagogy, technology, and more.  It’s been many years since I attended an NCTM conference, so I’m looking forward to seeing what has changed in how the organization approaches math teaching, math teachers, and professional development.

I’ll be presenting Making Math in Scratch, a 60-minute session about my work integrating computer programming into math class using Scratch, the free, web-based, block-based programming environment designed by the MIT Media Lab.  The talk is scheduled for Thursday, 4/6/17, at 9:30 am, so if you’re planning on attending the NCTM Annual, please pencil me in!  And if you like, I’d be happy to give you a pre-conference homework assignment.

Conferences like this are great opportunities for professional growth, but the logistics are often complicated for classroom teachers.  I’m fortunate to have received support from Math for America and the Empire State Excellence in Teaching Award, which makes attending NCTM’s Annual Meeting in San Antonio possible.