Upcoming dates!!

Saturday January 29, 3-5 PM, with Maria Hernandez. Pass the Candy: A Recursion Activity

We will explore a hands-on activity that can engage mathematics learners from elementary to high school and beyond. By establishing some passing rules, we iterate using candy or other objects, then make conjectures about the outcomes and then iterate. The mathematical ideas that emerge range from the divisibility of numbers to writing recursive equations to solving systems of differential equations.

With over 30 year of teaching experience, Maria has developed curricula for high school students in various mathematics courses. The bulk of her teaching career was at The NC School of Science and Mathematics. She has led teacher collaborations via distance learning and has taught workshops for courses ranging from Algebra I to AP Calculus and beyond. Her focus is using mathematical modeling, discovery-based activities, technology and real-world problems to amplify the student voice and to engage students as active learners in the mathematics classroom. Her goals include encouraging and supporting underrepresented students in STEM education. You might remember her from the Fall 2020 activity on pooled blood testing, or the summer workshop on bubbles.

Register here so I can give updates and provide the Zoom link: bit.ly/TMTCJan2022

Saturday February 12, 12-2 PM, with Gord Hamilton. Lost in a Mini Mathematical Universe...

The best way to teach the scientific method is not by sending kids out into nature to get their hands dirty. That's because the rules governing the real world are too complex. Much better is to teleport kids into an alien universe with simple rules that are designed to be discovered... a mini mathematical universe. You'll all wake up in a universe with alien laws. As a group, you need to figure out what's going on. Ask questions; voice your opinion; suggest hypotheses.

Gord! is a father of two teenagers, a designer of puzzles like you'll find on MathPickle.com, and a designer of board games like Santorini. He also has many years experience teaching and doing professional development. He has been supported through the Julia Robinson Math Festival and the American Institute of Mathematics.

Register here for updates and the zoom link: bit.ly/TMTCFeb2022

The North Carolina Network of Math Teachers' Circles (NCNMTC), is a statewide network of mathematics teachers and faculty. As part of this network, Math Teachers’ Circles around the state will provide an ongoing way for teachers and professors to stay connected around mathematics.

What are Math Teachers’ Circles?

Math Teachers’ Circles (MTCs; www.mathteacherscircle.org) are professional communities of K-12 teachers and higher education faculty who meet regularly to work on rich mathematics problems and informally discuss problems of practice. MTCs are a key part of our vision in North Carolina for building a K-20 community of mathematics professionals committed to fostering a love for and understanding of mathematics among all students.

Who participates?

MTCs vary in size, but on average have about 15-20 teacher members. North Carolina’s MTC’s will welcome all K-12 teachers. Each group also includes mathematics department faculty from a college or university, or other professional mathematicians from academia or industry.

What happens at a Math Teachers’ Circle meeting?

Most MTCs meet five or six times each school year. Meetings last two to three hours and include a meal, a math session, and discussion time devoted to problems of practice and topics such as equity. Math sessions are not lectures, but rather, highly interactive mathematical explorations typically led by a mathematics professor or co-led by a teacher and a professor.

To get a sense of what a math session is like, we recommend checking out one of the videos at http://www.mathteacherscircle.org/resources/video-library/. Joshua Zucker’s “Introduction to Problem Solving” is a great place to start. You also might enjoy Zucker’s short article on the philosophy of MTCs, “Be Less Helpful” (http://tinyurl.com/BeLessHelpful).

How do I get involved in a Math Teachers’ Circle?

You can learn more about our network and attend a mock circle session at the fall NCCTM conference in Greensboro. Please contact Nathan Borchelt naborchelt@wcu.edu if you are interested in joining a meeting near you, or starting a new circle.

In addition to regular members, each MTC also needs a leadership team with two K-12 teachers and one or two higher education faculty. If you would like assistance finding higher education faculty for your leadership team, please feel free to contact Sloan Despeaux at despeaux@wcu.edu.

What additional support is available for Math Teachers’ Circles in North Carolina?

MTCs started in 2006 at the American Institute of Mathematics (AIM; www.aimath.org). Since then, AIM has worked with teams of teachers and professors around the country to start more than 80 MTCs in 37 states. Through the Math Teachers’ Circle Network (www.mathteacherscircle.org), AIM provides planning guides, seed grants, mathematical materials, a semi-annual newsletter, and other resources.

The NCNMTC provides Math Summer Camps for MTC leadership teams (new and established) to sustain and grow MTCs across North Carolina. In addition, we can recommend or provide guest facilitators for meetings throughout the year. For more information, please contact Sloan Despeaux (despeaux@wcu.edu_ or Nathan Borchelt (naborchelt@wcu.edu).