Changing the Culture 2017


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 19th, 2017

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


As in past years, registration for this event is free, but you will be asked to complete this RSVP form to allow us to plan the event. Please register by Tuesday May 16th.



Conference Program


8:00 Registration, (1301 Harbour Centre Concourse)

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

09:00 Plenary Talk: Mathematics in the Common Core: Exploring a single problem from elementary school to graduate school  Fok-Shuen Leung, UBC (Room 1900 - Fletcher Challenge Theatre)
How do mathematicians, ecologists and paleontologists describe extinction? These sorts of latitudinal, interdisciplinary questions are natural and useful. In this talk, we make a modest proposal for the occasional longitudinal view. How does a math problem appear to a student in grade school, then high school, then first-year university, then graduate school? And what is the value in linking these appearances?

10:00 Coffee Break, (1301 Harbour Centre Concourse)

10:30 Workshops A, B and C

Workshop A, (Room 1520) Coding Unplugged: Introducing Some Fundamentals of Computer Logic Susan Milner, UFV
Computer screens can get between you and many of your students, and between those students and the concepts they are meant to be learning. Come experience these well-tested, highly engaging hands-on introductory activities for students of all ages. Examples include binary code, digital pictures, sorting, and error detection. This workshop is meant for educators who have little background in computing, yet are now expected to teach coding. No computers required.

Workshop B (Room 1530) Games, Puzzles and Mathematics Jamie Mulholland, SFU and Richard Hoshino, Quest
In this informal and interactive workshop, we will unpack four games and puzzles that are engaging and accessible to students of all ages, and yet sufficiently complicated to challenge even the very best students. In the process, we'll discover surprising connections between numerous mathematical topics that demonstrate the core goals in the new BC curriculum: developing mathematical understanding and fluency, logical reasoning, analytical thought, and creative thinking. The four activities are titled: Twenty Questions, Pennies and Paperclips, Mathematical Billiards, Dots and Boxes. At the conclusion of our workshop, we invite you to share your favourite games and puzzles, and how you introduce them to your students. [N.B. A handout is available for this workshop.]

Workshop C (Room 1900) Dialogue on Transition from High School to University Math Natalia Kouzniak, SFU and Sandra Crawford, Panorama Ridge Secondary School
Transition to post-secondary education: is it a continuous process or finite or even an infinite jump? In this workshop we will address major differences in the set-up of learning and assessment in high school vs university or college. We want to encourage educators from both systems to discuss the disparities and search for approaches how to prepare students better for such transition in view of the differences.

12:00 PIMS Award Ceremony Presenting 2017 PIMS Education Prize to Anna Stokke, U. Winnipeg (Room 1900 - Fletcher Challenge Theatre)

12:15 Lunch 

13:00 Plenary Talk: Making Mathematics with Needle and Thread: Quilts as Mathematical Objects Gerda de Vries, University of Alberta (Room 1900 - Fletcher Challenge Theater)
The connection between textiles and mathematics is intimate but not often explored, possibly because textiles and fiber arts have traditionally been the domain of women while mathematics was viewed as a male endeavour. How times have changed! Today, textiles and mathematics, like art and science, are recognized for their interwoven, complementary attributes. In this presentation, mathematics professor Gerda de Vries will examine the connection between textiles and mathematics, in the context of both traditional and contemporary quilts. In a sense, every quilt is a mathematical object, by virtue of the fact that it has shape and dimension. But some quilts are more mathematical than others, and in very dierent ways. She will show how mathematical concepts such as symmetry, fractals, and algorithmic design show up in the world of quilting through serendipitous and intentional design.
This lecture is for a general audience. A background in mathematics is not needed, nor the ability to sew!

14:15 Panel Discussion Meeting the Needs of Our Students, PIMS(Room 1900 - Fletcher Challenge Theatre)

  • Anna Stokke, Manitoba
  • Veselin Jungic, SFU
  • Marc Garneau, District Education Centre Surrey
  • Malgorzata Dubiel, SFU
  • Natasa Sirotic, UBC
  • Moderator: James Colliander

15:45 Concluding Remarks