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.
February 4 -- Volcanology: Danger, Discovery, and Delight
Featuring Jess Phoenix
The Earth is a living planet and every day, scientists around the world work hard to uncover its secrets—even the deadly ones. Volcanoes are the embodiment of how nature allows for beauty and brutality to coexist. They are unique windows into the planet's ongoing processes of creation and destruction. In this talk, volcanologist Jess Phoenix explores the wonders and risks of participating in the scientific process to save lives, and shares from her years of research using time-tested and cutting edge scientific techniques to take the pulse of our planet's beating heart.
Examining Identity, Agency, Positionality and Authority in Mathematics Teaching with National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) President Dr. Robert Berry
In this talk, Dr. Robert Berry III unpacks the relationship between mathematics teaching and identity, agency, positionality, and authority. Specifically, this talk focuses on connecting the theoretical lens of equitable mathematics teaching and learning to practical applications. He uses the voices of students and teachers to examine how tasks, discourse, and engagement positions them as mathematically competent. He unpacks mathematical discourse as a framework for connecting mathematics to identity and agency. The discussions of teaching practices that cultivate identity, agency, positionality, and authority are grounded in the work of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM).
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.