2016 Bicol Mathematics Conference

The 2016 Bicol Mathematics Conference will be held on February 29 to March 2, 2016 (Monday to Wednesday) in Ateneo de Naga University, Naga City, Philippines. Three plenary talks will be given (pure mathematics, applied mathematics, mathematics education). I am the plenary speaker for mathematics education.

Gift from MathOverflow

Last June 17, 2014, it was announced on MathOverflow Meta that “established users” that “have actually made (and will hopefully continue to make) valuable contributions to this site” would be given gifts if they ask for them. I filled up the form and waited, but I wasn’t sure if they would give the gifts to someone outside the U.S.A.

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The goods arrived yesterday. I got a mug, an XL-size T-shirt, and three stickers in a box that was a little too big for the goods. The commercial invoice states that it was sent last October 21, 2015. I was very surprised that it took only around 7 days to reach me. (Most packages sent to me from the U.S.A. take a few weeks to a few months to reach me.) The invoice states that the mug has a value of US$ 5, the T-shirt is worth US$ 3, and each sticker is worth US$ 0.25. Thanks, MathOverflow!

Theory of Quantity

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During the recent EARCOME 7 conference, one of the exhibitors was a group of Japanese who showed participants how to create a lot of concrete learning materials (manipulatives) such as origami sculptures. I assume that they are members of The Association of Mathematical Instruction (AMI) because they gave me a complimentary copy of AMI’s Principles of Mathematics Education. Continue reading “Theory of Quantity”

EARCOME 7

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I recently presented a poster and a paper at the 7th ICMI-East Asia Regional Conference on Mathematics Education (EARCOME 7) last May 11-15, 2015 at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel.

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Shown above is a picture of me with Frederick K. S. Leung (who was the honorary plenary lecturer) and Catherine P. Vistro-Yu (who was the international program committee chair).

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The poster and the paper were based on parts of my dissertation with Dr. Vistro-Yu as my advisor. The poster had the title “Assessing Proportional Reasoning Skills and Understanding Using the Water Rectangle Task” and was co-authored with Dr. Vistro-Yu. (A copy of the poster is here. The poster is the one on top in the photograph above.)

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The paper had the title “Teaching Proportional Reasoning Concepts and Procedures Using Repetition with Variation” and was co-authored with Dr. Vistro-Yu. (A copy of the slides is here. Also shown in the photograph above is the session chair Enriqueta Reston.)

Order of operations

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It is generally accepted by mathematics educators and by scientific calculator companies that in the “correct” order of arithmetic operations, multiplication and division are done from left to right. Thus, 48÷4×12 is evaluated as 144. The Casio fx-82MS and the Casio fx-350ES shown above give this answer. There is, however, some disagreement whenever parentheses are used to indicate multiplication.

My daughter’s high school teacher asked her to evaluate 48÷4(12). My daughter’s answer was 144; her teacher’s answer was 1. What answer is given by the calculators?
Continue reading “Order of operations”

Math Doesn’t Suck

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A few months ago, I bought a copy of Math Doesn’t Suck by Danica McKellar at a BOOKSALE outlet. (Click on the images to see higher-resolution versions.) I know she has experience being a mathematician, but I didn’t know how much experience she has being a mathematics educator. I had done some study on conceptual and procedural knowledge in mathematics so I was very curious to know which she would introduce first—concepts or procedures—and which she would emphasize more. Continue reading “Math Doesn’t Suck”

So narrowly educated

In a tribute to the mathematician Israel Moiseevich Gelfand (Notices of the AMS, vol. 60, no. 2, p. 162), Dusa McDuff recalls meeting Gelfand in Moscow.

Then [Gelfand] gave me his recent paper on Gelfand-Fuchs cohomology to read. It was titled “The cohomology of the Lie algebra of vector fields on a manifold”, but I had been so narrowly educated that I didn’t know what cohomology was, what a Lie algebra was, what a vector field was, or what a manifold was.

I know one definition of a vector field, but it’s probably not the same as the one in the paper mentioned. Right now I also don’t know the definitions of the other three terms.