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/


Episode 62 | The Role of Play in Early Math Learning

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!


Episode 61 | Eric Crantz - Partnership Liaison

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.


Episode 60 | From Who Does the Math to Who Owns the Math

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.


Episode 59 | Math Coach? What’s that?

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.