Thursday Think Speaker Series
The MƒA Thursday Think Speaker Series brings accomplished speakers who dive into cutting edge topics in STEM education to MƒA. A unique part of our professional course offerings, these talks, held on a Thursday of every month throughout the school year, invite MƒA teachers and their colleagues, as well as other educators and the general public to learn and engage with these thought leaders and professionals in mathematics, science, and education.
MƒA teachers may register for events on the Small-World Network.
March 5 — Programming as a Vehicle for Math
Featuring Jeremy Kun, Ph.D.
In this talk, Jeremy Kun will use stories, examples, and demonstrations to describe how programming can add excitement and curiosity to mathematical topics, both in pedagogy and in practice. He will demonstrate what areas of math have helped him write programs, and the areas of math that programming makes accessible. Dr. Kun will pitch a vision for education that integrates mathematics and programming, and how that might change the way we think about both.
April 2 — The Science of Love
Featuring Bianca Jones Marlin, Ph.D.
In this talk, Dr. Bianca Jones Marlin examines the brain dynamics of one of the most treasured and mysterious relationships - the bond between mother and child. Dr. Marlin’s work elucidates how the brain adapts to care for a newborn and how a baby’s cry can control adult behavior. Her research focuses on neurochemicals that drive these vital bonds, such as the “love drug” oxytocin, to inform treatments used to strengthen fragile and broken parent-child relationships.
April 30 — The Story Collider
Featuring MƒA Master Teachers
Since 2010, The Story Collider has been bringing true, personal stories about science to life both through their many live shows as well as their weekly podcast, and they’ve used what they’ve learned about science and stories to teach scientists how to use narrative in their work. The Story Collider believes that now, more than ever, science is a part of everyone’s life. At this Thursday Think, you’ll hear from MƒA Master Teacher storytellers as they share the times things went wrong, and occasionally right, in their labs, classrooms, and beyond. Some of the stories will be heartbreaking, others will be hilarious, but they will all be true and very personal.
When Content Meets Context: Toward a Revolution in STEM Education with Professor Chris Emdin
In this talk, Professor Chris Emdin explored the historical and contemporary landscape of urban education and provided a new lens for viewing how and why teachers must focus on deep excavations of culture in order to gain new approaches to improving STEM pedagogy. In particular, he merged cutting-edge research with real-life examples to provide ways that educators may re-imagine their roles in STEM teaching and learning and meet the needs of their most marginalized students.
Made You Look: Statistics Through Data Visualization with Data Editor of Guadian US Mona Chalabi
Statistics often feels divorced from reality. Data visualizations offer us a way to understand numbers, make them more relatable and remind ourselves that the two are inseparable – every data point comes from a place, a time, a person. In this talk, data journalist Mona Chalabi, discussed ways to use data visualizations to not only better understand the numbers but to also inspire us to ask more questions. We looked at some fun visualizations and some heavier ones as well, but all were memorable and allowed us to see how we can explore important statistical concepts with our students.
Hands-On Puzzles with Mathematician and Sculptor Dr. George Hart
Mechanical puzzles provide fun challenges that can involve assembly or disassembly, geometric arrangement, and logical and spatial thinking. They often require the solver to think "outside the box" and find creative solutions to problems that at first seem impossible. They can be wonderful ways to introduce students to the joy of struggling with a problem over time and then feeling the "Aha" of satisfaction that leads them to seek further challenges. Working with puzzles also helps develop the skill of perseverance, which can be transferred to many other domains. In this event, sculptor and mathematician George Hart talked about some of his favorite puzzles that can be used in a classroom. This was followed by a hands-on period in which participants played with a collection of puzzles and built some small puzzles to take home.