December 7, 2017
In England at Cambridge there is a project underway that seeks to map and model the connected nature of school mathematics. Working on this project is a small but highly motivated team of researchers, teachers, mathematicians, and web-designers. Rachel Horsman is among these, she and Chris had an opportunity recently to sit down and discuss the scope and range of this project. Rachel has been primarily focused upon Geometry within the curriculum, but as she has come to see, all mathematics is connected and most of the lines we have drawn about topics are artificial. For instance on their website now is a consultation question they are seeking input on: Discrete vs. Continuous where they are considering the twin ideas of counting and measuring and how a well-structured experience of both of these ideas in concert can lay a strong foundation for later learning.
The project, while employing a relatively small team of a dozen or so has this to say about what it’s mission is: “Cambridge Mathematics is committed to championing and securing a world class mathematics education for all students from 5-19 years old, applicable to both national and international contexts and based on evidence from research and practice.” They invite all in the international maths community to actively take part on their Framework. For more information please contact them at http://www.cambridgemaths.org/
November 30, 2017
As a follow up to their excellent and fun Colloquium talk on November 27, 2017; Elizabeth Gamino, Wilma Hashimoto, and Aileen Rizo join Chris in the studio to talk about the role play has in early learning and by extension to all learners. These three discuss in detail some of the activities they had the attendees engage in, and how they incorporated concepts of “embodied cognition,” “inquiry based learning,” and highly engaging learning activities. These three have been working within our Pre-school focused Early Math Team for a several years and have been taking these ideas to the classroom recently with positive results for student engagement, and acquisition of concepts. This lively podcast, while long, will be over before you know it, these people are fun!
November 16, 2017
Chris is joined in the studio by Eric Crantz who is the Partnership Liason at AIMS as well as a Math Coach for the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools. They discuss his role as a coach, the teachers he supports, and his connection to AIMS as Partnership Liason. Eric has, as part of his assignment, 20% load dedicated to working with the researchers here at the Center. While he does not read everything as closely as those who work here daily, his knowledge of how children come to know is extensive. His most vital role with us here though is keeping us connected to the teaching community and reminding us about the subtle differences required in helping adult learners, teachers, to change their practices to fit their new knowledge.
November 9, 2017
Scott Nielsen joined the AIMS research division in June 2017 and joins Chris in the studio this week. They talk about what his work is like, how he got to the place in his career that he finds himself now. He relates an important shift in his thinking about how students interact with mathematics in school. From middle school math and woodshop teacher to a Research Associate was a significant shift in perspective for Scott and he describes it brilliantly.
November 2, 2017
Chris is joined via Skype by three highly successful and well supported “Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSA).” They chat about how these three women entered into this role, and what their days/lives are like. The passion for good teaching, and the joy of working together as a team are evident in their conversational tone and topics. Clearly these three are passionate about helping children construct meaningful understandings of mathematics and spreading the joy of learning. They discuss the role of the district in making them the successes that they are, providing support and encouragement along the way.
The role of the TOSA is not well understood outside of the confines of a school district. Often they are ignored in negotiations, thought of as elite and therefore separate from, most teachers, and generally most people don’t have an understanding of this role. They provide an important service to teachers and therefore students.
October 26, 2017
Chris is joined in the studio by two of the AIMS Research Associates and they discuss how children develop the ability to coordinate units. The title of the podcast today is meant to be provocative, not judgmental. We examine some of the evidence they have seen that demonstrates how children can construct their own strategies for coordinating units. The research seems to indicate a linkage between this developmental pathway and stronger algebraic thinking in later years.
October 12, 2017
Welcome to ZPC Podcast, from time to time I will be interviewing members of the research team here at AIMS. There are many reasons to do this, chief among them is the idea of letting you, our faithful listeners, in on what it is we are “about” here at AIMS these days. Our teams of RAs, as we call them, have been consistently reading important research into how children form number concepts and make meaningful use of these concepts. They also are involved directly in classroom situations where they attempt to put into practice what they are reading. These podcasts then are an attempt to let them tell some stories, stories about what they see, hear, learn and cause in children. So join us as we investigate “The Stories of AIMS”
Research Associate Brook Lewis is in the studio with Chris this week. Brook has been working with students who are in the 6-8 year old range, and she has been working on understanding how these children build their own concepts related to rudimentary multiplication. She relates a story or two about what she observed over time as she watched a child, “Max,” create for himself the ability to “skip count,” by three. What the research indicates is that children who have this type of developmental experience approach multiplication with more robust concepts to build on. A contrast is drawn between this form of instruction and teaching by rote recitation a number pattern like 3, 6, 9, 12...
October 5, 2017
Joining via Skype, Dr. Hilary Kreisberg describes her passion for helping parents in the US come to grips with the changes in mathematics instruction. She is very passionate about helping people to grapple with how things look different, but that difference is not always a bad thing, and in fact, often represents a better plan. We discuss a recent informal survey she conducted on parent understandings and feelings about mathematics instruction in schools today. While she is quick to point out that it lacks scientific rigor, the results of her study are interesting nonetheless.
September 28, 2017
Dr. Thiessen joins Chris in the studio they talk more about the Biological underpinnings of the theory. Both Jean Piaget, and Humberto Maturana come at the ideas within Constructivism after earning doctoral degrees in biology. We talk about some connections to neuro and cognitive sciences, finally ending with some allusions to an evocative object Richard used in his Colloquium talk on this subject. There is nothing inherently epistemological within the Reuleaux Triangle; but the process he went through to come to understand this object, his interactions with it, and his own prior knowledge that he brought to bear in exploring it are.
September 21, 2017
Research Associate Elin Anderson joins Chris in the studio today. They discuss her transition from working with the teams aimed at 5 to 6 year olds to the teams aimed at 7 to 9 year olds. This change has been interesting for her as she has been studying how the things we learn in the earlier years get tagged onto, and built up in the ensuing years. She also relates a story which provides a note of both caution and wonder. Caution to researchers to never forget you are working with human beings, and even in low level investigations we should keep this in mind. Wonder as well about the amazingly complex world of children’s thinking.