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MAA Math Alert - September 2014


More than 100 "Curriculum Bursts" Connect Contest Problems to Common Core
James Tanton's Curriculum Inspirations (CI) project repurposes American Mathematics Competitions problems to engage middle- and high-school students in the mathematical practices outlined in the Common Core State Standards. Check out the CI video archive, now boasting more than 100 online videos. 

New NSF Program Solicitations Relevant to Math Community
Three NSF program solicitations with deadlines this fallare of interest to the mathematics community: Improving Undergraduate STEM EducationEnriched Doctoral Training in the Mathematical Sciences, and Innovation Corps Teams Program. Check out the funding opportunities! Keep in mind that this year's "proposal pressure"—the number of proposals submitted regardless of how many get funded—helps drive future budget allocations.


Contribute to the Centennial Timeline
As part of its centennial celebration, MAA will publish a commemorative booklet, which will include a timeline. The timeline will contain important events in the MAA's history and external events that had an impact on the field of mathematics, such as the launch of Sputnik. Take a look at the information collected so far and email Lois Baron ( with any additions, comments, or corrections you would like to make.

In Memoriam Editor Sought
The MAA seeks a volunteer to assume responsibility for keeping the organization's "In Memoriam" page comprehensive, consistent, and up to date. To express interest in tackling this task or to learn more about what it would entail, please contact Katharine Merow ( or Ivars Peterson (

Submit Your Found Math Photos
The Found Math feature of the MAA website is now curated by Steve Phelps of the Ohio Council of Teachers of Mathematics. He welcomes submissions at

Bookmark the Mobile Editions of MAA Journals
Like to read your MAA journals on the go? These links will load the latest issues (once you've logged in with your MAA username and password): College Mathematics JournalAmerican Mathematical Monthly, and Mathematics Magazine.

Now Open

ICTCM 2015 Program and Registration
All MAA members are invited to attend the 27th International Conference on Technology in Collegiate Mathematics, held in March 2015 in Las Vegas. View the complete program, register online, or submit a proposal for a poster session or contributed paper session. Learn more.

Volunteer Sign-Up for MegaMenger Project
This October, 20 sites around the globe will simultaneously build level three Menger cubes out of business cards, creating a distributed version of the world's first level four Menger cube. If you, your students, or your department would like to be involved as volunteers, please record your interest at Volunteer sign-up will continue through October.

Registration for American Mathematics Competitions
Now is the time to make sure that middle and high schoolers get to participate in the AMC 8 (November 18, 2014) or AMC 10/12 (February 3or 25, 2015). Teachers who register their students receive not only a $10 discount (if they register online), but also a free one-year MAA K-12 Teacher membership. Learn more about registration and registration benefits or, for information on proctoring an AMC contest at your institution,

Upcoming Deadlines

September 25: Registration for CBMS Forum on the First Two Years of College Math
The Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences (CBMS) will host its fifth National Forum at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Reston, Virginia, on October 5-7. The event will focus on building student success in the first two years of college math. Learn more.

October 1: Alder Award Nominations
Nominations for the Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Beginning Mathematics Faculty Member are due to the MAA secretary, Barbara Faires ( by October 1. Learn more.

October 17: Applications for Office of Science and Technology Policy Internship
The Office of Science and Technology Policy is accepting applications for its Spring 2015 Policy Internship Program. Encourage math majors to apply. Learn more about the internship and application process. 

October 31: Proposals for MAA MathFest Themed Contributed Paper Sessions
The Contributed Paper Session Committee seeks proposals for themed sessions for MAA MathFest 2015 (and the Joint Mathematics Meetings 2016). Learn more.

October 31: MAA MathFest Minicourse Proposals
Proposals for minicourses at MAA MathFest 2015 are due by October 31, 2014. Due to the MAA's implementation of a new submission system, we suggest waiting until after October 1 to submit (or contacting the committee directly). More information is available here.

Online Now

Historical Activities for Calculus
Calculus students can explore the history and mathematics of curve-sketching, tangent lines, and optimization using 24 interactive applets and 10 animations in the MAA Convergence article "Historical Activities for the Calculus Classroom."

Trigonometry in the Lost Century
Logarithms turn 400 this year, but trigonometry flourished before John Napier's 1614 invention, as Glen Van Brummelen explained at an MAA Carriage House lecture in March. Watch a slidecast of the talk.

No One Is Bad at Math
In the September Aftermath, journalism professor (and principal Politifact developer) Matt Waite debunks the myth of Bad at Math. Read the essay.

Encourage the Approximation Metaphor
In the final installment of his three-month "Beyond the Limit" series, David Bressoud describes an approach to calculus instruction that encourages and strengthens student reliance on the metaphor of approximation. Read the Launchings post.

Mathematics Is Not the Truth
In the September Devlin's Angle, Keith Devlin argues that while there are "right answers" within mathematics, when you apply mathematics to the world, that certainty and accuracy are only as good as the fit between the mathematics and the world. Read the post.

Hexagram Card Tricks
Colm Mulcahy once again turns to Martin Gardner for inspiration, finding the kernel of his late August Card Colm post in the math popularizer's Puzzles from Other Worlds. Read the post.

Publishing Date: 
September, 2014