Changing the Culture 2016


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.


Changing the Culture



Date: Friday, May 13th, 2016

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


As in past years, registration for this event is free, but we ask that you complete this registration form, to allow us to plan the event. Please note that registration will close at the end of Monday May 9th.



Conference Program


8:00 Registration

8:45 Opening Remarks, (Room 1900 - Fletcher Challenge Theater)


09:00 Plenary Talk: Unpacking 'Mathematical Habits of Mind': What's in Your Suitcase? Susan Oesterle, Douglas College (Room 1900 - Fletcher Challenge Theater)
'Mathematical Habits of Mind' are front-and-centre in the new BC Mathematics Curriculum. During this session we will unpack what this means. We will explore our own Mathematical Habits of Mind and consider what is needed to foster these habits in our students at any level. [Slides], [References].


10:00 Coffee Break (Room 1420 - Segal Centre)


10:30 Workshops A, B and C

Workshop A Calculus Concept Inventory: A tool for assessing learner’s conceptual understanding Veselin Jungic and Jamie Mulholland and Cindy Xin, SFU, (Room 1900 - Fletcher Challenge Theater)
In our search for the “must know forever” concepts in a differential calculus course, our group has been working on the development of a Calculus Concept Inventory. The idea is to build a tool that will be used for assessing learner’s conceptual understanding. This workshop is our first opportunity to share the current draft of the inventory with the community of calculus instructors.

We will start with a short introduction to our project that will include an overview of the concepts currently included in the inventory. Next we will ask the workshop participants to form small groups. Each group will go over a few questions from the inventory. This will be followed by groups' reports and a general discussion about the purpose and possible use of a Calculus Concept Inventory.

We are looking forward for your feedback, opinions, and suggestions.

Workshop B Making Cubes Flat and Triangles Not, Melania Alvarez, PIMS and Cameron Morland, SFU, (Room 1315)
How many ways can we unfold a cube? Is it possible to unfold any shape? In this workshop we will use hands-on activities to explore connections between 3-dimensional and 2-dimensional objects, and how geometry and counting are intertwined.

Workshop C Concrete to Concept: Learn What By Doing, Natasha Davidson, Douglas College (Room 1530)
In our use of mathematics manipulatives to teach, do we need to be clear and/or explicit about the connections that are to be made going from the concrete to the concept? Can we facilitate personal ownership of ideas through directed hands-on activities? Can one activity be used multiple times to motivate and illustrate disparate ideas?

In this workshop we will build some modular origami and explore how to use this concrete activity to model and motivate some abstract and not so abstract concepts which will hopefully include algorithms, order of operations, basic to more advances planar and space geometry.

12:00 PIMS Award Ceremony Presenting 2016 PIMS Education Prize to Patrick Maidorn, U. Regina


12:30 Lunch (Room 1420 - Segal Centre)


13:30 Plenary Talk: Teaching mathematics for social justice: A future to believe in Sean Chorney, SFU (Room 1900 - Fletcher Challenge Theater)
How mathematics is framed can often have the greatest influence on a students perception of mathematics. At times students are encouraged to ignore context but often the context speaks louder than the mathematics itself. Consequently, how we approach the teaching of mathematics can influence perspectives and ways students see the world.

This talk will explore the implementation of social justice in the teaching of mathematics. I suggest social justice is important not only because it is present in current cultural trends (note Bernie Sanders’ popularity among young voters) but also it appears in the newly revised curriculum in BC (note the social and personal responsibility competency). Teaching mathematics for social justice provides students the opportunity to challenge both status quo outcomes and ways in which numbers can be manipulated to lead them to take action.

14:30 Panel Discussion "Active" Mathematics Class (Room 1900 - Fletcher Challenge Theater)

Patrick Maidorn, U. Regina
Susan Gerofsky, UBC
Petra Menz, SFU
Michael Prunner, Argyle Secondary School


16:00 Coffee Break (Room 1420 - Segal Centre)


16:30 Plenary Talk: Promising Interventions for Broadening Participation in STEMSusan Nickerson, San Diego State University (Room 1900 - Fletcher Challenge Theater)
In the United States and in Canada, women are still underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and computer science (STEM) fields despite national initiatives to affect change. Past studies aim to understand why fewer women complete STEM programs. Part of the answer lies in students’ experiences in college classrooms and there are promising interventions for stemming the flow out of STEM majors. I am co-PI of a new NSF study, Inspiring Women to Thrive in STEM, that is investigating how peer role models can reduce stereotype threat and increase women’s persistence in the calculus sequence. I will share what we have learned from our research at the college level about interventions that address students’ self-efficacy and sense of belonging.

But we must acknowledge that something else is going on. Women are less likely to choose a STEM major and a STEM career, though equally prepared academically. What are the challenges students face in elementary school and high school? Whether we are elementary, secondary or post-secondary teachers, there are things we can all be doing to broaden participation in STEM.

17:30 Concluding Remarks