Mathematics Education Leadership
Carissa MacDonald (notes)
St. F. X.
October 15, 2011
Dal Math Circles
http://www.nsmathcircles.com/index.html Office: (902) 494-7036
“Math Circles is an event run about ten times per year for local High School students and teachers. A
typical event starts with a 30-minute mini-lecture followed by pizza and then a one to two hour lecture.
The lectures are meant to have lots of audience participation. Handouts and notes are made available for
teachers and students.”
Some example activities
1. The Frog Problem
With volunteers from the group of students, play out the activity that goes with these two
The three students (frogs) have to switch their positions to look like the following:
Each frog can only move one space at a time and a frog can hop over a frog of a different
i. During the activity, students don’t actually have to hop over one another.
ii. The two groups can be based on sex, colour of clothing, etc.
2. Welcome to Hotel Infinity
Hotel Infinity helps to explain the concept of infinity to the students
3. Prime Numbers
4. Locker Problem
5. Probability with crime scenes
6. The Sieve of Eratosthenes
Circle all multiples of numbers from 1-100 on the hundred chart to find all the prime
Tips for interactive work with kids
1. Don’t try to do too much at once
a. Pick a topic and one main activity
b. Do a warm up and a closing activity
2. Have a backup plan
3. Emphasize the mathematical process
4. Be enthusiastic!
SMU – This year held the “Twelfth Annual High School Programming Competition”
The Competition is on!
o Math day: Saturday, May 7, 2012
o High school teacher does not necessarily have to go with student.
Nova Scotia Math League
Grade 10, 11, and 12
Four people (students) working together as a team to solve problems
o They are allowed to use calculators
Some easier questions and some more advanced problems
Students have time to work on questions as a group
Informality of game
o Made as easy as possible for teachers to be involved!
Example of problem:
In the diagram (not drawn to scale), two perpendicular lines intersect at the center of
three concentric circles. Each shaded region has the same area. If the radius of the
smallest circle is 1, find the product of the radii of the three circles.
o Each person on a team gets one question to answer. The answer of the first person’s
question is used in solve the second person’s question and so on.
If they are all correct, they are finished.
If one or more of the answers are wrong (i.e. the final answer is wrong), the
group is told they are wrong but not told where the mistake was made. They
must continue to work on the problem to find their blunder and then correctly
solve the problem.
o First team finished gets ten points, second gets nine points, …
o There are small, math related prizes that are awarded to the students
Math puzzle books
Thirst for competition VS. actuality of winning
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) incorporates
o Engineering o Geometry
o Mathematics o Computer science
High school competition
o Robot has to move (push) an object a given distance
o Solving a maze
o Working out probabilities
Robot is purchased prior to the competition
o Underwater ROV
o Remote controlled robots
o Budget creates lots of issues and barriers
o Computational Statistics and Data Analysis
CMS (Canadian Math Society)
2-3 students selected from each school
Come to DAL for one week of complete math
Housed in hostels
Come with their parents
o chaperone stays, parents leave
classes for the first day
o create interest for mathematics
o appreciate how it is useful
o how it was discovered
1 How to Entertain Your Parents With Math
Magic square to add up to age
2 History of Mathematics
Quadratics (equation) … what about cubic??
Show Me Your Math
3 and a thumb
o Round birch bark container
o Centre of the circle
o To make ring around the top, measure three times the whole thing (the diameter) plus a
Changing the Focus Width of your
o Students doing the research!
o What is mathematics?
Explore the math people do in their jobs
Explore the math in the arts and traditional crafts
Where is math in what you do every day?
Explore how math impacts your life
Think of places where you find math
Ex. Grade 10 – geometry – packaging – maximum capacity
When you need to make the most of the resources you have, you figure
out the best strategies whether your look at (focus on) the math or not
Math Fair May 2, 2012 St. F.X.
MK and public schools
o Mostly SRSB, VRSB, CCSB because more Mi’kmaq students there
Students presented with the abstract first
o They don’t have to wait around to figure out why this matters
o Putting the word problem at the beginning of the lesson
o Brings in the students that don’t already have an interest in the math
more than just the math geeks
o PROBLEM BASED CURRICULUM
o Need to anchor to something that matters
Not just someone else’s mathematics!
Show Me Your Math is more of a cultural, value, and community celebration!
What are we doing well? What could we be doing better?
Robotics competitions Students are not culturally predisposed
Math leagues to be interested in math
Math circles More trained, high quality math teachers
Math fair MORE computer science in school
Computer programming competitions o Computer science as a teachable
Promote other organizations,
Shared space for outreach
o MORE communication between
Get students involved and engaged!
o Math department heads
More of a focus on practical
applications, less of the word “math”