Episode 72 | The Teaching of Mathematics Incorporating Narrative with Dr. Scott Baldridge, part 2

February 15, 2018

This is a second episode of a three-part series where Chris interviews Dr. Scott Baldridge, primary author of the Eureka Math book series. They explore specific examples of narrative elements that were incorporated. Themes, Characters, and Plot devices are the subject this week. Who are the characters? What sort of Plot devices can be used? How does he include a plot, and why?

Employing Aristotle’s definition of Plot, Eureka Math brings about a series of increasingly serious problems that lead to a conclusion.  Thinking about the joyful communication of mathematical ideas, Scott describes how the first textbook was built upon a narrative structure with a plot and final climactic conclusion.


Episode 71 | The Teaching of Mathematics Incorporating Narrative with Dr. Scott Baldridge, part 1

February 8, 2018

This is the first of a three part series with Dr. Scott Baldridge of the Louisiana State Univiersity. Scott is a mathematician whose work in Gauge Theory means his work is at the “Bleeding Edge” of human understanding of the universe and its physical structure.  However, he also has a deep interest in the K-12 learning experience children have in mathematics; so much interest in fact that he has been the chief author of the Engage New York, now Eureka Math curriculum from its inception. Over the course of this series we develop that concept.

Part 1 of this series has Scott developing a contrast between present textbook writing structures and the structure he incorporated. He lays a foundation of “Encyclopedic” approaches and the “Narrative” approach he purposefully incorporated. In later episodes in this series more details are revealed.


Episode 70 | The Effectiveness of Equity Practices in the Mathematics Classroom

February 1, 2018

The teaching of mathematics, like all teaching, is a cultural activity. There is no escaping this as mathematics is constructed by and for humans who live within cultures. Majority cultures have placed a stamp upon the teaching practice of mathematics and upon the content of this course. Dr. Laurie Rubel has applied an interesting and research based lens to these facts. Recently her research brought her to the forefront of controversy with elements and purveyors of radical politics in the USA. Her life was threatened, her work was attacked by those who had not read it nor sought out her clarifying comments.

Dr. Rubel joins Chris via Google Hangouts from abroad where she is studying similar situations in the country of Israel. They discuss the two axes of her framework, originally part of the work of Dr. Rochelle Gutierrez, and how she used these axes to analyze the teaching of several successful teachers who were working in “high needs” schools. Her work has important things to say to all teachers who care about their students.


Episode 69 | Mathematics as a Fundamentally Constructed Activity of Humans

January 25, 2018

Chris is joined in the studio by Dr. Steffe, one of the foundational researchers to describe the various stages in the human development and construction of the number concept. After speaking to the AIMS research teams and the gathered Scholars we discuss in further depth, how important it is to recognize that ALL mathematics is constructed by the person, the learning of mathematics is not reading, “the Book,” as some would describe it. Rather each concept, for each learner must be constructed by that learner. The implications of this fact for teaching are considered, described in some detail and suggestions are made. If mathematics education is undergoing a revolution as some say it needs, this may very well be the Siren call. Each child is an autonomous mathematizer of their sensory-motor experiences, it is the role of the teacher to infer what the child is constructing and assist in clarifying it.


Episode 68 | “Children are like candles, Teachers the sparks,” A conversation with Jukka Sinnemaki

January 18, 2018

This week’s episode provides us with an opportunity to hear from a teacher in Finland on what a strong emphasis in the whole child can accomplish in the classroom. Jukka Sinnemaki is a top 50 finalist in the Global Teacher Award for 2018, and he joins Chris this week to describe how the autonomy teachers in Finland has allowed him the freedom to continuously analyze, experiment with, and mold his pedagogical approach to increase the motivation and overall health of his students while he teaches mathematics and science.  His holistic approach to learning, acknowledgement of the needs of the child to move and be active has helped him become a risk-taking innovative teacher whose students are showing dramatic results in both attitude and achievement. The coming revolution in education will be realized when all students can learn in environments that foster full inclusion of each person in the room, and Jukka’s classes are well on their way in this direction already.


Episode 67 | Rachael Risley: “Multiplication Isn’t Just Repeated Addition”

January 11, 2018

Starting with an inquisitive mind regarding how children think about and develop their mathematical concepts; Rachael Risley has spent the last several years focused on how teachers can help students to migrate into multiplicative thinking. She is a student of Dr. Ron Tzur, another friend of the work we do here at the AIMS Center. She tells a portion of her story and persuades us of the importance of helping teachers as they seek to help children. Her work has been focused largely upon what effect of number choice when working with students as they cross back and forth between readiness for multiplicative reasoning.


Episode 66 | The Best of ZPC - Robots, Legos, and Learning: Oh Yes

January 4, 2018

Join us as we look back on one of the best episodes from 2017 with Aileen Rizo.


Description from February 23, 2017

Joining me in the studio is AIMS Center Research Associate, Aileen Rizo. she is a mentor/coach to student teams in both robotics, and Lego engineering competitions. She describes the learning, and persistence that are embedded in these activities. These are profound and powerful events, that feel like play to the children who take part in them. However there are deep concepts in mathematics, and science that are made real for these students.


Episode 65 | Reflections From the Host Regarding 2017

December 21, 2017

This is a short episode where Chris reflects on the way things have gone on the podcast this calendar year, and especially this Fall. With a few recommendations for second listens and lessons learned, this episode makes some important thank yous and shouts out to vital members of the team.

Listeners are encouraged to send suggestions for topics, people to interview, and gifts of money (ok just kidding about the money part) to cbrownell@aimsedu.org Furthermore, if you want more information about any of the projects, studies, or research highlighted in our podcasts please send him emails as well.

The link to Cambridge Maths is http://www.cambridgemaths.org/ visit them to learn more about that massive and incredibly important work.

You can find more information about The Global Math Project at  www.theglobalmathproject.org as well. Here you can sign up to deliver some joyous mathematics to people you know.


Episode 64 | MoMath: Playing the Symphony that is Mathematics with Cindy Lawrence

December 14, 2017

Recently Chris Brownell visited the National Museum of Mathematics and had the opportunity to meet its Director, Cindy Lawrence. They discuss the mission of the museum and how it is carried out in the exhibits they share with the world. Cindy likens the mathematics on display at the museum to a symphony, where the mathematics often learned in schools can be equated to the scales, fingering instruction, and study of the nomenclature. The goals of MoMath are not far from those of AIMS, but have an informal focus and therein lies the strength of their mission. The discussion provides a description of a few of the exhibits and some of the work that goes into making them. It is a fascinating museum and the next time you are in New York City you should definitely take it in.


Episode 63 | The Connectedness of Mathematics with Rachel Horsman

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/