Fifth Annual Mathematics Education Institute Mini-conference

Sunday, March 17, 2002

Walden Hall Room 230

New Mexico State University

1:00-5:30 PM

Final discussion at 6:30 PM at Peppers in Old Mesilla



Judith Covington

Louisiana State University at Shreveport

Shreveport, LA

Number sense at Louisiana State University in Shreveport

I will briefly describe the three courses that are offered at LSU-Shreveport. I will discuss the first course of the sequence that deals with Number Sense. As part of the presentation I will share one of the activities that are done in this course. This particular activity deals with prime numbers, greatest common factors and least common multiples. The title of the activity is Building Numbers. This is a hands- on activity using snap cubes. Finally, if time allows, I will discuss some of the changes that will take place on campus in response to Louisiana's Blue Ribbon Commission on Education.



Pat Morandi

New Mexico State University

Las Cruces, NM

Graph Theoretic Assignments in Elementary Mathematics

In this talk we will discuss a series of hands-on assignments whose goal is to introduce the notions of graph theory to students of our Elementary Mathematics courses. These assignments start with the students building models out of poster board of the Platonic solids and investigating the relationship, Euler's formula, between the numbers of vertices, edges, and faces of the solids. We then introduce the notion of a graph and see how Euler's formula can be interpreted as a property of certain graphs. From there we work a variety of other assignments to illustrate uses of properties of graphs, such as coloring drawings to understand the Four Color Theorem, and solving mazes to look at the idea of paths on a graph. The common thread of these assignments is to introduce notions of discrete mathematics through activities that are fun and relevant to people going into elementary school teaching.



Dorothy J. Radin

Oral Roberts University

Tulsa, OK

Education at a distance

Oral Roberts University has developed a unique Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education degree (leading to certification). It is the only one of its kind in the state and has grown from the demand for trained professional educators with a Christian perspective. Students complete 2/3 of the Degree through independent study courses, and the remaining third by attending 3-4 day modular sessions in the fall and spring, plus the School of Education Summer Institute for two weeks in July. This degree is accredited by North Central and the Oklahoma Commission and NCATE. My talk will concentrate on the four mathematics courses included in this program.



Cathy Barkley, Kim Schneider, and Tod Shockey

Mesa State College

Grand Junction, CO

Fostering liberal arts mathematics for elementary teachers

We have been involved with a grant project during the past year to promote a new course for our elementary teacher preparation. Due to legislative demands, we have re-structured our elementary teaching track. We have added an additional mathematics course to serve as a bridge between the mathematics content courses and the mathematics methods course. We are experimenting with varying curriculum, software, and manipulatives.



Cornelis (Kees) de Groot

SUNY New Paltz

New Paltz, NY

The new three R's: Rigor, research, and reflection

Participants will learn about the proposed changes in the preparation of elementary teachers in mathematics and mathematics education at the State University of New York at New Paltz. Participants are invited to share their own experiences in this endeavor. The proposal has three organizing features:

1. Our students need sufficient rigor in mathematics and in mathematics education to be effective elementary teachers;

2. The changes we propose need to be researched; and

3. We need to reflect on our own practice and foster alignment without diminishing academic freedom.



Lolina Alvarez

New Mexico State University

Las Cruces, NM

Incorporating discrete mathematics in the preparation of K-12 mathematics teachers

More than a fixed set of topics, discrete mathematics is a way of thinking that deals with important and interesting problems in contemporary mathematics. Many of the problems can be formulated using little jargon, they relate naturally to everyday life situations, and are well suited for experimentation and discovery. Furthermore, topics in discrete mathematics provide meaningful opportunities to learn and practice methods of proof and symbolic computation. I will start by briefly reviewing and illustrating some of these points. Then I will discuss a course on discrete mathematics for high school teachers, mathematics education majors, and mathematics majors with an interest in mathematics education, that I recently taught.

3:00-3:15 Intermission and refreshments



Hamide Dogan, Elena Izquierdo, and Olga Kosheleva

University of Texas at El Paso

El Paso, TX

Outcome of a collaboration between two university departments: Mathematics and education

Abstract: We (one mathematics and two education faculty) will talk about a team-teaching approach applied to the existing field-based mathematics and education courses. It is based on a modified version of the model of constructive pedagogy cycle: Learning - Rehearsing- Teaching - Reflecting. Students were first asked to work on conceptually rich, multi-step mathematical projects in the mathematics course, and next asked to teach their micro-lessons based on the projects to elementary/middle school students. They were observed during their micro-lesson instruction. Data such as digital pictures capturing classroom activities and elementary/middle school students' work were collected. Toward the end of the fall 2001 semester, students were asked to present (reflect on their teaching of the micro-lessons) the data through PowerPoint before their classmates and instructors. The students did not spend any class time practicing their micro-lessons; however, outside of class time, they have received feed backs from us. We propose to discuss some of the PowerPoint presentations.



Kimberly Vincent

Washington State University

Pullman, WA

Peer-led learning

This qualitative study investigated the implementation of peer-led group learning in a mathematics content course for prospective elementary teachers. Students worked in groups of 4-5 with a peer-leader on problem solving and hands-on inquiry based conceptual investigations that normally were done in a class of 30-38 students. After implementing constructivist learning in this content course, I still found myself unable to talk to every student during activities. The peer-led small groups allowed one-on-one attention for all students. All students had some complaints, but all thought the program should continue.



Arthur L. White and Donna F. Berlin

The Ohio State University

Columbus, OH

Student development of modules for integrated teaching

This talk describes the Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education (MSAT) teacher certification program at The Ohio State University. Included are the conceptualization and application of the Berlin and White Integrated Science and Mathematics (BWISM) model and the use of the BWISM template for the analysis of integrated learning activities. Examples of instructional modules prepared by preservice teachers are presented. The results of characterizing these activities using the BWISM template are illustrated. An analysis of preservice teachers' perceptions of the meaning of integration of these disciplines after experiencing this methods class will be shared.



Pam Whiffen

Palo Verde Middle School

Phoenix, AZ


Futurequest is a semester-long middle school course that focuses upon combining academic enrichment in math, science, engineering, and technology with Arizona school-to-work standards. Through project-based instruction and cooperative learning activities, students are introduced to a wide variety of disciplines and interact with professionals within each career field.



Wayne S. Watson

Pennridge School District

Perkasie, PA

The equality snapshot - How little things can make a big difference

The Pennridge (Pennsylvania) School District requires two algebra "snapshots" each year from all of the students in grades 1 through 7. This presentation will discuss how to set up this "quick and easy" way to focus teachers on the importance of developing algebraic thinking in all students, on its unqualified success in less than two years, and on how this can be done in the context of a ten minute per day, year long, Patterns of Computation and Algebraic Thinking unit in all grades.



Mary Ellen Gallegos

Santa Fe Community College

Santa Fe, NM

Teacher's Aides

Last spring I had the opportunity to work with a small but committed group of teacher aides who wanted to become teachers. These people worked in the worst of conditions since the majority of them were aides in special education classes. Many of them had responsibilities that included everything from babysitting to administration work (paper work). They put in long hours each day and came to class full of questions and excitement. They tried hard and were so excited when they mastered a concept. They tested and started at a low level, pre-algebra, but were determined to succeed. They were an inspiration to me, and reinforced my ideals of teaching.



Cathy Barkley

Mesa State College

Grand Junction, CO

Symmetry patterns of Ute beadwork

A study of strip patterns from the Ute people of Colorado and Utah reveals the use of transformational geometry in their designs. 282 strip patterns from belts, dresses, shirts, hatbands, leggings, mocassins, etc. have been examined and coded according to an international coding scheme. Examples of these patterns will be presented and participants will have an opportunity to code actual beadwork examples.


(paper will not be presented but is available as a handout)

Andrzej Ehrenfeucht

University of Colorado

Boulder, CO

Mathematics which we should teach but we don't

Elementary and middle schools still teach eighteenth century arithmetic based on three separate systems, whole numbers, common fractions, and decimal fractions. The arithmetic used by the rest of society is the arithmetic of real numbers which was developed between 1850 and 1950. The talk suggests that a very radical change in the content of school mathematics is badly needed, but that it probably will not happen.

6:00 Final discussion (to be held over a group dinner at Peppers in Old Mesilla!)

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