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K-12 Activities

The MAA strives to ensure that sessions at MathFest present mathematics in a way that is accessible to a broad audience. As a result, K-12 teachers will find all the expository sessions at MathFest to be informative and enriching. In addition, the following sessions are directed specifically at the professional interests of K-12 teachers.

Math Teachers' Circle Demonstration

Saturday, August 4, 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.


A Math Teachers' Circle is a professional development experience that brings mathematics professionals in direct contact with teachers. Circles foster passion and excitement for deep mathematics and give teachers a chance to connect with like-minded colleagues. This demonstration session offers the opportunity for conference attendees to observe and then discuss a Math Teachers' Circle experience designed for local teachers. While the teachers are engaged in a mathematical investigation, mathematicians will have a discussion focused on appreciating and better understanding the organic and creative process of learning that circles offer, and on the logistics and dynamics of running an effective circle.

Laura Janssen and Tom Clark, Dordt College

Sponsor: The SIGMAA for Math Circles for Students and Teachers (SIGMAA-MCST)


MATH Rumble

Saturday, August 4, 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.


The Math Rumble involves teachers in a Mathematical Creativity Contest including mathematical and pedagogical questions. The intention of the Math Rumble demonstration at Math Fest is to share a fun mathematical contest format with those who lead Math Teachers' Circles and similar activities.

Ed Keppelmann, University of Nevada Reno
Phil Yasskin, Texas A&M University
Paul Zeitz, University of San Francisco

Sponsor: The SIGMAA for Math Circles for Students and Teachers (SIGMAA-MCST)


Special Interactive Presentation for High School Students, Parents, and Teachers


Saturday, August 4, 1:30 p.m. – 2:20 p.m.


If you open up a map of the US while standing in the US, might there be a point on the paper sitting precisely at the location it represents? If you stir your (mathematically ideal) cup of coffee in the morning, does every point of liquid change location? If you crumple a piece of paper, does every point on it move?

Let’s play games with triangles to discover the freaky existence of fixed points!

Leader: James Tanton, Mathematical Association of America
Organizer: Elgin Johnston, Iowa State University

Sponsor: MAA Council on Outreach


Contributed Paper Session

Priming the Calculus Pump: Fresh Approaches to Teaching First-Year Calculus

Friday afternoon, August 3


The majority of first-year college calculus students have had a previous encounter with calculus in high school. These new college calculus students start out in Calculus I (or Calculus II) having seen much of the material, but with a weakness or a lack of confidence in some areas. (This previous experience may even be true for students still in high school. It is not unusual for advanced students to take AP Calculus AB one year and AP Calculus BC the next.) As such, this audience creates unique challenges to the instructor. This session seeks to share fresh approaches to engage this audience in first- or second-semester calculus. Such approaches may be curricular -- through a reorganization of the material, for example -- or structural -- such as innovative approaches to placement. This session is in part inspired by and seeks to complement the MAA's NSF-sponsored project on Characteristics of Successful Programs in College Calculus.

Chuck Garner, Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology
Bob Sachs, George Mason University

Sponsor: The SIGMAA on Teaching Advanced High School Mathematics (SIGMAA TAHSM)



Meeting the Challenge of Introducing Senior High School Students to Contemporary Mathematics

Friday, August 3, 3:10 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.


The ultimate goal of this workshop is to attract colleagues in the U.S. to collaborate in a research and development study that has been going on in Israel in the past 10 years. This workshop will revolve around the following issues: (i) What is the challenge mentioned in the title and why do we want to meet it? – A group discussion. 15 min. (ii) How might it be possible to meet the challenge? – Introducing a proposed solution consisting of interweaving Mathematics-News Snapshots (abbr. MNSs) in high-school mathematics program. 30 min. (iii) A reverse engineering exercise of a sample MNS will take place to examine the product against the rationale and the guidelines for MNS authors. 15 min. (iv) A discussion of results from a multi-stage study of interweaving 22 MNSs in senior high school classes in Israel in a few different models will be discussed and followed by calling for U.S. colleagues’ collaboration in extending it. This possibly involves two directions: Development of new MNSs on the one hand, and on the other hand implementing the existing MNSs in schools in the U.S. experimentally, as an empirical study. 20- min.

Organizers: Nitsa B. Movshovitz-Hadar and Boaz Silberman, Technion

Sponsor: The SIGMAA on Teaching Advanced High School Mathematics (SIGMAA TAHSM)