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December 5, 2012
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Mathematics Education in Today's News

  Teaching & Learning 
  • Educator eases her math students into problem-based learning
    Math teacher Marsha Ratzel experimented with a lesson on square roots to bring her math class closer to problem-based learning. Ratzel writes in this blog post that before teaching her students about square roots, she presented problems and had them research online and in class everything they could find about the function and discussed their findings. "And they really loved it. ... [T]hey argued and wrestled with all the info they collected and then built their conjectures," Ratzel writes. Reflections of a Techie blog (12/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Md. middle school combines academics with service
    Eighth-grade math teacher Matt LaCorte at Hammond Middle School in Maryland combined raising funds for an Ethiopian charity with lessons about the needs the charity aims to fill. Through the service-learning project, students raised funds and participated in an Accelerate Ethiopia Fun Run/Walk, which helps pay for cataract surgeries and supports educational programs in the impoverished country. "That's really powerful to me. ... It feels really tremendous that we can help," said eighth-grader Kevin Baker, who made a documentary about cataracts and Ethiopia. The Baltimore Sun (12/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

Becoming the Math Teacher You Wish You'd Had shows teachers how to make math class more like the playful, creative, and captivating experience mathematicians describe. Author Tracy Zager tackles big ideas and instructional decisions, drawing on years of work with amazing teachers from across the country. Click here to preview the entire book!
  • Ohio middle school pilots online math program
    Miami Trace Middle School in Ohio is piloting the Web-based DIGITS math curriculum, which allows students to work at their own pace and get extra examples and assistance with concepts that are especially difficult. "There are a lot of things implemented into that. They can skip a problem if they don't understand it and go back," said math teacher Michelle Teis. "If you miss that problem, you could do a similar exercise and you can do it again until you get it right. And the homework gets more difficult as it goes along." Record-Herald (Washington Court House, Ohio) (12/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Assessments to go beyond multiple choice under common core
    While recent surveys reveal that teachers have lost faith in assessments and doubt that standardized tests in some cases accurately reflect students' achievement, experts now say the transition to the Common Core State Standards could bring better high-school assessments that more accurately depict achievement. Under the common core, states are expected to adopt "longer, more thoughtful exams," said David Coleman, president of the College Board. However, officials say they are still working to determine what length is feasible. U.S. News & World Report/High School Notes blog (12/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Educator offers ideas for using video games in STEM lessons
    Professionals who work in science, technology, engineering and math often work in programming, so educator Shawn Cornally writes in this blog post that he incorporates games in his classroom as a segue into programming. Cornally offers lesson suggestions for two popular games, Mindcraft and Portal 2, as well as ideas for teaching students to write their own computer code. For example, Cornally writes, he has his students figure out if the actions in Portal 2 violate the laws of physics. Cornally's blog (11/30) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Policy & Legislation 
  • Ill. high school invests in nanotechnology lab
    Officials in an Illinois school district are seeking grants to help pay for the installation of a nanotechnology lab, estimated to cost $800,000. The project will convert a multipurpose lab at a local high school into a nanotechnology lab that includes advanced equipment for studying science, technology, engineering and math. Officials say the project is unusual at the high-school level, where students typically do not have access to such advanced equipment. Chicago Tribune (tiered subscription model) (12/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Wyo. district examines its program for students who are gifted
    A task force in Natrona County schools in Wyoming will examine how the district educates its students in the gifted and talented program. Fewer than one-third of the district's students who are gifted take Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses in high school, and some take remedial classes in college, according to a recent report. In addition, about 87% report being bullied, the report found. One trustee also suggested the group consider how the program is being funded and how the district's resources are being used to support it. Star-Tribune (Casper, Wyo.) (tiered subscription model) (12/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  NCTM News 
  • Free webinar: Reasoning and Sense Making in Context
    Today, Wednesday, Dec. 5 (4:00 p.m. EST and 7:00 p.m. EST), NCTM and the public media provider THIRTEEN will jointly present a free webinar exploring two exciting resources that offer teachers comprehensive Common Core Standards-aligned materials, instructional strategies and support for engaging students in problem solving, reasoning and sense making. Learn more and register. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

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The forceps of our minds are clumsy things and crush the truth a little in the course of taking hold of it."
--HG Wells,
British author

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