## Changing the Culture 2003: Do we need to teach Algebra?

- Date: 05/02/2003

Bernice Kastner, Towson University, Maryland and the Rochester Institute of Technology

Lorraine Baron, Mount Boucherie Secondary School, Kelowna

Wayne Matthews, Camosun College, Victoria

Kanwal Neel, Steveston Secondary, Richmond

Brian Wetton, UBC

Peter Liljedahl, Faculty of Education, SFU,

Rina Zazkis, Faculty of Education, SFU,

SFU

The 6th Annual Changing the Culture Conference, organized and sponsored

by the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences, will again

bring together mathematicians, mathematics educators and school

teachers from all levels to work together towards narrowing the gap

between mathematicians and teachers of mathematics, and between those

who do and enjoy mathematics and those who don't believe they could.

This year's conference will focus on transitions from secondary to post-secondary mathematics classrooms. What are the issues?

People teaching first year courses at universities and colleges feel

that students are not prepared for the experience. Parents are looking

for tutors for their children, concerned about their chances at passing

UBC (SFU, UVic, ...) calculus course. Does the new curriculum prepare

students for the university/college experience? Or, is it that the high

school curricula have been changing faster than the university calculus

courses, and the students arrive not knowing enough about algebra to

satisfy university expectations? Are these expectations realistic?

Do we need to teach Algebra? What Algebra? For Whom?

These are just some of the questions this year's Changing the Culture conference will attempt to answer.

**8:30** Registration

**9:00** Opening Remarks TBA

**9:15-10:15** Keynote Lecture *The Language of Mathematics*

Bernice Kastner, Towson University, Maryland and the Rochester Institute of Technology

Abstract: Technology has had a great impact on high school mathematics curricula, providing tools to help students build intuition through visualization among other benefits. Have such gains been accompanied by a loss in the ability to "speak the language of mathematics" - algebra?

**10:15-10:45** Coffee break

**10:45-12:00** Workshops and Discussions

**12:00-13:00** Lunch

**13:00-14:30** Panel Discussion:

Lorraine Baron, Mount Boucherie Secondary School, Kelowna

Wayne Matthews, Camosun College, Victoria

Kanwal Neel, Steveston Secondary, Richmond

Brian Wetton, UBC

**14:30-15:45** Workshops and Discussions

**15:45-16:00** Coffee break

**16:00-17:00** Public Lecture *Hollywood Perceptions of Mathematics: Cultural Truth or Mathematical Fiction?*

Rina Zazkis and Peter Liljedahl, Faculty of Education, SFU,

Abstract: We live in a society that has infinite tolerance for innumeracy. It is accepted (and even expected) that our children are going to struggle with mathematics. It has become a cultural norm. Hollywood doesn't help. Its portrayal of mathematics and mathematical activity serves only to malign public perception. But is it creating the image or merely representing it? In this plenary we will use movie excerpts to examine the question of what mathematics do people really know (or don't know).

Workshops

1. Helping Students Learn Calculus using Problem Solving Workshops,

Joanne Nakonechny, Roger Donaldson, UBC

2. Can Algebra be made Lively?

Malgorzata Dubiel, SFU, Klaus Hoechsmann, UBC

3. Roots and Routes to Algebra

Peter Liljedahl, SFU