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01/27/2017 — Happy Permutation Day!

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

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

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.

Speaking

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.

Writing

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.

Teaching

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.

12/06/2016 — Happy Permutation Day!

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

12062016

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

Math Photo: Right but Obtuse

right-but-obtuse

I love the geometry of this tower crane as it swings around, creating obtuse projections of its perpendicularity.  I wonder how accurately I could estimate my altitude from this picture?