emergent math

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I used to teach math at a high school. Then I taught math at a high school using Project-Based Learning (PBL). This blog is dedicated to brainstorming interesting and dynamic math problems and projects. Explore my featured blog posts, Problem Based curriculum maps, or other professional development resources.

emergent math

1M ago

I am rereading Liping Ma’s Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics for a class. It’s an exceptional book; I’d put it on the Mount Rushmore of books about math education (that might be a post for another day). For those who haven’t read it, the book is an exploration of elementary math instruction in the U.S. and China. It was published in 1999, but it doesn’t feel outdated whatsoever. And it laid the groundwork for a lot of the high quality routines that are emergent now.
I’m not going to recap the book, but I would like to tug on one thread: the necessity of more math for pre-service and ..read more

emergent math

2M ago

In 2019, North Carolina attempted to push through a bill that would force trans individuals to use the bathroom of their sex assigned at birth, rather than their current gender. It was only a few years ago, but there was mass outrage in a way that seems unthinkable today. Most notably, the National Basketball Association threatened to pull their annual all-star game. Eventually, thanks to the efforts of the NBA, other organizations, and public pressure, North Carolina lawmakers relented and repealed the bathroom part of their bill.
This year, the Mathematical Association of America (MAA ..read more

emergent math

2M ago

This post is for all you Italian BMT heads out there.
For the month of April 2023, Subway customers have the option of purchasing a “Subway Footlong Pass” for $15. You then get 50% off all (I think) Subway sandwiches for the month (digital orders only).
Purchase YourFootlong Pass NowPurchase a $15 Pass and get 50% Off one Footlong per day during the entire month of April. Limited passes available. Must be a Subway MyWay® Rewards member to purchase. Discount is redeemable only in the Subway® App or online.
Please don’t look down on me, but I get Subway kinda every-so-often. There’s one within ..read more

emergent math

4M ago

As you may have heard, adults don’t need or use math. One can be a successful human without being a successful math learner. In fact, most adolescents and young adults will stop taking mathematics as soon as their school no longer requires them to do so. So why do we force adolescents and young adults to take the math that they do? You’ve also probably heard the question “when are we going to use this?” Similar questions include, “is this important?” and “is this on the test?”
These questions bum me out, but they do deserve answers. I hope that most disciplines wrestle with these fundamental q ..read more

emergent math

5M ago

In between teaching math and where I’m at today – in the final year of a PhD program in math education – I obtained a master’s degree…. in atmospheric science. Makes perfect sense right? I won’t bore you the details, but my reasoning was that I’ve always been interested in weather and climate and I wanted to try something different before I settled into a career wholly in education (which, once I graduated, ended up happening). Atmospheric science research, as you can probably imagine, is an entirely quantitative field. My research thesis involved running models of tropical cyclones under diff ..read more

emergent math

9M ago

We’ve all seen the reports about the looming teacher shortage. Some projections say without some sort of seachange in the education landscape hundreds of thousands of teacher vacancies will go unfilled. Unfilled teacher vacancies result in long term subs (of which there are also shortages), uncredentialed teachers, and generally just a Warm Body to monitor children. In such cases, schools will no doubt rely on a digitized curriculum so kids don’t fall too far behind. It won’t be anyone’s Plan A or even Plan B, but when you’re looking at multiple teacher vacancies and no one to fill them, educa ..read more

emergent math

10M ago

You know how teachers are supposed to join in when they do “Drop Everything and Read”? We should have the same attitude in math.
My third recommendation to help students reconcieve of math as a discipline that goes beyond calculation is to do math with students. Most teaching time is spent with the teacher doing math at students. The teacher demonstrates a procedure and the students must mimic that procedure. Math is something that happens to students, not something in which students are involved in its creation or development. The teacher is the ultimate authority and the true doer of math.&n ..read more

emergent math

10M ago

In my previous post, I discussed one way to provide tasks that help students reimagine the discipline of mathematics: doing creative math. This post discusses the second of three strategies: doing useful math.
To me, the interesting thing about math is that it is at once a plaything with seemingly no utility and an immensely crucial component to living. It is both of these things. Maybe that’s why it’s so difficult to teach: because each individual places their thumb along the scale of the utility-playful spectrum and our thumbs are in different places. This post discusses task types that can ..read more

emergent math

10M ago

(Note: Readers of Necessary Conditions may recognize these themes from Chapter 2. I feel like revisiting these since there have been advances in resources, technology, and scholarship around these three themes.)
(Another note: I know I said, I hadn’t planned on doing my typical Summer Mini-series, rather, I applied my allotted blogging time to Algebra Warm Ups for Geometry Teachers. But I just couldn’t help myself. This’ll be relatively short though, I promise. Consider it a mini Mini-series.)
Most of us are now a month or two from the end of school. A few of us are a mere week or two before i ..read more

emergent math

11M ago

Take me to the Warm Ups Landing Page
We all have summer projects. Personally, I like to go into my back yard annually and destroy it a little bit (followed by putting something in its place). In addition to year projects, I always like to give myself at least one summer blog-ish project. These projects are a bit more intentional than the random musings on whatever math is striking my fancy in a given day. In the past I’ve crafted a summer math camp for kids (and parents of kids). I’ve written “mini-series” on syllabi, rubrics, and the four ingredients to math instruction. They’re intended to b ..read more