## Changing the Culture 2014: Fostering Curiosity

- Date: 05/16/2014

SFU-Vancouver at Harbour Centre, 515 W. Hastings Street, Vancouver, Canada

The annual Changing the Culture Conference, organized and

sponsored by the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences, brings

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 think they don't.

The conference is free, but space is limited, and therefore registration will be required. Online **registration is now available via this website**.

**Conference Program**

**8:00** Registration

**8:45 Opening Remarks, **Room 1900, Fletcher Challenge Theatre

**9:00 Plenary Talk**, *Questions not Answers*, Richard Hoshino, Quest University, Room 1900 Fletcher Challenge Theater

Why do so many children lose their natural curiosity when they grow

into adulthood? As one author argues, our modern-day education system

is largely to blame, where students are fed facts and formulas, and are

not given the space to take risks, make mistakes, and explore the

questions that are pertinent to their lives.

Since February 2013, I have taught math at Quest University Canada, a

small liberal arts university in Squamish, B.C. In this presentation,

I'll share the radical approach of Quest's math curriculum, which starts

with the students' questions, rather than the professor's answers.

I'll discuss how this unorthodox pedagogy has led to math-fearing

students inspiring social action (e.g. a new roommate-matching

algorithm), empowering students to realize that mathematics can help

them understand the world, their world, in a more meaningful way.

**10:00 Coffee Break**, Room 1400, Segal Center

**10:30 Workshops A and B**

**Workshop A:** *Mathematical Habits of Mind*, Susan Oesterle, Douglas College

The new draft BC Math Curriculum emphasises a focus on developing

"mathematical habits of mind". What are they? What does this mean for

what we do in our classrooms? What can we do to support our students

and each other? After a short intro to the notion of "mathematical

habits of mind", we'll use hands-on activities to explore this idea and

its implications for teaching mathematics.

**Workshop B:** *Calculus Diagnostic Test: What Are We Learning?* Justin Gray, Natalia Kouzniak, Cameron Morland, SFU

SFU has been giving a Calculus Diagnostic Test to all Calculus

students during the first week of classes for the past seven years, and

we have accumulated impressive statistics about students performance on

the test, and in their Calculus courses. What did we learn, and how is

this knowledge influencing our courses? What do we still need to learn?

**12:00 PIMS Award Ceremony**, 1900, Fletcher Challenge Theatre

**12:30 Lunch**, Room 1400, Segal Centre

**13:30** *Interactive Engagement in Large University Classes*, Jamie Mulholland, SFU, 1900, Fletcher Challenge Theatre

**14:00 Panel Discussion**, 1900, Fletcher Challenge Theatre

**15:30 Coffee Break**

**16:00 Plenary Talk**, *What Makes a Good Teaching Problem?*, John Grant McLoughlin, University of New Brunswick, 1900, Fletcher Challenge Theatre

Teaching problems in my vocabulary refer to problems that are

pedagogically effective. These problems may illustrate the value of a

particular approach to problem solving. It may be the elegance of a

solution or hidden structural similarities to familiar problems or

counterintuitive results or even a surprising "unsolvability"

characteristic or...

Perhaps most surprising is that one rarely recognizes a good teaching

problem upon first sight. Rather an experience whether as a solver,

teacher, or bystander strikes a chord that awakens curiousity. The

desire to revisit a problem, share insights with others, or investigate

related ideas may arise from various sources: someone’s (method of)

solution; patterns leading to rich explorations/generalizations; an

aspect of brilliance; transferability as with the numerical problem that

lends itself to geometry, or vice-versa, to name a few. The common

element is that something about a problem is perceived to be

extraordinary, and hence, memorable.

The presentation will offer teaching problems that can be shared in

secondary and undergraduate mathematics classes, along with insights

into what gives them this quality. My teaching problems may not be

yours. Therefore, aspects of my biography and philosophy as both a

teacher and solver of mathematical problems will figure into this talk.

**17:00 Concluding Remarks**