Sharing Mathematics 2014

  • Date: 05/15/2014
Veso Jungic (Simon Fraser University) Making Hexastix

Kristin Garn (Mathtoons Media) Daily Quests: Gamification and Math Practice

John Grant McLoughlin (University of New Brunswick) Enriching the Student Experience: Informal Assessment, Activities, and other Teaching Ideas

Greg Schlitt (University of the Fraser Valley) Technical Reports in Calculus I and II

Judy Larsen (University of the Fraser Valley) Sharing About Flipping

Louis P. Saumier (University of Victoria) Flipping Vector Calculus

Jan Verster (Kwantlen Polytechnic University) Kwantlan's Math Problem of the Week

Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Richmond campus, room 2150 (8771 Lansdowne Rd, Richmond BC)


Attention-Grabbing (and Mathematically Fruitful) Activities In and Around the Post-Secondary Classroom


Registration for this conference is free and optional, but would help with organizing.




Online registration is available here.

Abstracts / Downloads / Reports: 
08:45 - 09:00 Welcome, Announcements

09:00 - 10:00 Veso Jungic Making Hexastix with Math Catchers
10:05 - 10:35 Kristin Garn Daily Quests: Gamification and Math Practice

10:40 - 11:00 Break

11:00 - 12:00 John McLoughlin Enriching the Student Experience: Informal Assessment, Activities, and other Teaching Ideas

12:00 - 13:00 Lunch

13:00 - 13:40 Greg Schlitt Technical Reports in Calculus I and II
13:45 - 14:25 Judy Larsen Sharing About Flipping

14:30 - 14:45 Break

14:45 - 15:25 Louis-Philippe Saumier Demers Flipping Vector Calculus
15:30 - 16:00 Jan Verster Kwantlen's Math Problem of the Week
Organizers:  For more information, please contact
Other Information: hide


Veso Jungic Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC

Making Hexastix with Math Catchers


The word hexastix refers to a highly symmetrical object that contains three mutually intersecting hexagonal prisms. Building a hexastix is a little engineering exercise that produces a beautiful mathematical sculpture.

The main goal of the Math Catchers Outreach Program is to promote mathematics in general and hands-on and no-fear mathematics in particular among elementary and high school students in British Columbia. Over the last two years the program has reached about 3000 students across the Province.


Kristin Garn Mathtoons Media

Daily Quests: Gamification and Math Practice:

Success in upper level math requires consistent, sustained and purposeful practice. Students who are highly capable at scheduling and completing math practice, as well as increasing their own skills challenge, setting goals, and administering self-tests, are among the top achievers in math.

Several popular games (Hearthstone, Dragonvale, World of Warcraft) offer players the challenge of a "Daily Quest." Researchers Ericsson, Krampe, Tesch-Romer (1993: "The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance") identified behaviours of individuals who became expert performers as a result of extensive, deliberate practice. Many of these behaviors overlap with those of players who regularly accept and complete "Daily Quests."

Daily "math quests" can be used to encourage more students to perform excellent skills practice and increase behaviours that lead to self-regulation, self-challenge and academic success. Several examples will be suggested for "daily math quests" in subjects such as calculus, linear algebra, statistics. Advice for further reading and research will be shared, as well.


John McLoughlin University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB

Enriching the Student Experience: Informal Assessment, Activities, and other Teaching Ideas

Who are the students in our classes? What mathematical abilities and stories are they bringing along with them? Are my assumptions (best guesses) about content knowledge and/or other learning realities accurate? Informal assessment activities will be shared in addressing such questions.

Mathematical engagement in courses and/or classrooms may involve a wide variety of problems, assignments, and games. A range of examples will be drawn from undergraduate courses in mathematics and education, including courses featuring many math anxious students. Other ideas will be offered from ongoing outreach experiences in K-12 school settings. The common thread weaves mathematical doing into the student experience.


Greg Schlitt University of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford, BC

Technical Reports in Calculus I and II


Technical Reports provide an opportunity for students to engage with real-world (or at least plausibly real-world) problems, apply the mathematics they've learned in the course, and present their solutions in a way that is appropriate for their readership. Working in groups, students play the role of a team working at a consulting company led by me (playing their supervisor). They write reports which present solutions to problems posed by a third-party institution contracting with our company. Their reports are addressed both to their supervisor (me) and to the contracting institution, requiring different content and different writing styles.


The results are often impressive. Students take pride in their work, both in the mathematics and its effective presentation.


Judy Larsen University of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford, BC

Flipping the Upgrading Mathematics Classroom:

In search for a student-centered learning environment, I have over the past two years designed, implemented, and researched the flipped classroom model in the context of a secondary mathematics level adult upgrading course at the University of the Fraser Valley. In this session, I will share my experiences and findings in the journey of changing my instructional design to accommodate a blended learning environment that proved conducive to promoting student autonomy, engagement, and self-efficacy while maintaining my responsibility for the curriculum. I will overview my aims for choosing the flipped classroom design, give a brief demonstration of the technology I used, and discuss implementation strategies. Attendees will have a chance to collaborate about ideal learning environments, share personal experiences with blended learning environments, discuss concerns about flipped classrooms, and ask questions about implementation and student responses.


Louis-Philippe Saumier Dumers University of Victoria, Victoria, BC

Flipping Vector Calculus

In the summers of 2011, 2012 and 2013, I taught the course Math 200: "Calculus of Several Variables" at the University of Victoria. For the first two iterations (2011 and 2012), I used a more traditional lecture-based approach. However, in an attempt to increase student engagement inside and outside the classroom, in 2013 I decided to partially transform my class into a "flipped" class. I employed a combination of the "flipped classroom" and lectures supplemented with team problem solving activities. For every flipped classroom session, students had to watch some educational videos ahead of class which were made available at two different paces for them to choose from. Then, while in class, students used iClickers and peer-to-peer discussions to answer problem sequences presented via PREZI. The questions were visually categorized by topics and the flow of problems was altered depending on the students' responses so that students and instructor could quickly target the subjects requiring more practice. When the "flipped classroom" was not being employed, the material would be presented with lectures involving minimal note-taking and then it would be reinforced with team problem solving sessions. In this talk, I will present some results following this experience and I will give advice on how to integrate elements of the "flipped classroom" to already established lecture-based courses. I will also attempt to explain why students embraced and celebrated this method almost unanimously.


Jan Verster Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Richmond, BC

Kwantlen's Math Problem of the Week

For the past 11 years, Lin Hammill and myself have been running the Kwantlen Problem of the Week. I will be talking about our experiences, and lessons learned, and also sharing some of our favourite examples.