## Math Learning Center Orientation

Today I gave a little bit of an orientation to the Math Learning CenterMath Learning Center at MCS TA Professional Development day.

Professional development for TAs is where people get started on their teaching careers. These mini-workshops for incoming TAs are a valuable opportunity to share our hard won insights in to teaching and learning with people who are at the front lines. Teaching assistants interact directly with students, and are often the part of a course that students related to best. Almost all of out teaching assistants are themselves students at UTM. They have the freshest perspective on how these courses are taught.

My contribution to the program for TA Professional Development was communication strategies for use in one-on-one interaction with students. I wanted to get across two ideas: “asking is more important than telling” and “students don’t know”. I tried to bundle these together in a communication exercise.

The teaching assistants were all given a simple picture, and asked to describe the picture “mathematically” to their neighbour. The task is difficult because the person describing the picture could not directly describe the subject.

## Symmetry Groups at Science Unlimited

I gave a talk about symmetry groups at Science Unlimited 2019.

The slides are available here, for the curious.

## Some Mathematical Reading

I just stumbled on this excellent list “Readings for Math Teachers” by Theron Hitchman. Lots of great stuff to read and ponder.

An absolutely spot-on quote from one of the articles:

The teaching of mathematics, like mathematics itself, is an endless journey of study. I believe that teaching mathematics can be as intellectually demanding as doing mathematics. If our society could come to see teaching as a job that is emotionally, physically, and intellectually demanding, we would then be able to give teachers the respect they deserve, attract more talented people to the profession, and speed up the pace of pedagogical innovation through the study of teaching. — Adventures in Teaching, Darryl Yong

## MSLC Summer Seminar

- May 30th “Derivation and applications of the gamma function” by David Salwinski
- June 6th “An Extension of Heron’s Formula” by Zohreh Shahbazi
- June 13th “What is Homology?” by Parker Glynn-Adey
- June 20th “Exploring Mathematics Learning Support Across Canadian Universities” by Rubina Shaik and Shrijan Rajkarnikar
- June 27th “Liouville numbers and irrationality measure” by David Salwinski
- July 4th “Representation theory” by Lisa Jeffery
- July 11th “Geodesics on Surfaces of Revolution” by Amanda Petcu
- July 18th “An (informal) Introduction to Model Theory and Skolem’s Paradox.” by Yasin Mobassir
- July 25th “Geometric Reflections” by Parker Glynn-Adey
- August 1st “The Inscribed Square Problem” by Amanda Petcu

## Geometric Reflections

There is something pleasing to a mystic in such a land of mirrors. For a mystic is one who holds that two worlds are better than one. In the highest sense, indeed, all thought is reflection — Chesterton

## Hyperbolic Visualizations!

Thanks to Vi Hart, Andrea Hawksley, Elisabetta A. Matsumoto, and Henry Segerman for making these amazing things!

## A Community of Mathematicians: Using a Wiki in a Large Calculus Class

PCMI 2019 Workshop on Equity and Mathematics Education

2019 Organizer: Rochelle Gutiérrez, University of Illinois College of Education

Participants will further develop their understanding of equity (identity & power issues) in mathematics and consider how to expand our goals to rehumanize mathematical experiences for those with whom we engage. In this workshop, we will explore different perspectives/theories, reflect on our own practices, learn from experts in the field who have been altering their practices, and create our own action plans for work we intend to carry out after the workshop ends.

Ideal participants will include mathematicians, mathematics teachers, and mathematics education professors who have a specific project upon which they would like to focus. For example, you may have in mind a course you would like to alter in some way; a new initiative to launch; a summer camp or bridge program; a professional development or teaching activity to update; or simply a new way to think of assessments or evaluations. By the end of the session, you will leave with a more developed action plan and feedback from others so you can put your best foot forward in your future work.

## Denlow Public School

I visited Denlow Public School and did two workshops for the Grade 4 and 5 students. The Grade 4s played with probability, learned to play Pig. This simple dice game has been subject to a lot of deep analysis. Some folks at Gettysburg College have given an optimal solution to the game.

The Grade 5 students learned about Cat’s Cradle. They were very excited, and wanted to learn more. Many students already knew a figure or two. We covered Half Second Star, Cup and Saucer, and Jacob’s Ladder. I’m told that they’re still playing with the string that I gave them.

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