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mathematics

Cultivating a Differentiated Classroom

Growing up most classes weren’t a good fit for me. Early on I found my math work pretty straightforward, which is part of what led me to my eventual role as a math educator. Fast-forward a few years however, and the jump from too easy to too hard happened swiftly and unexpectedly. I found myself unprepared, with few study skills established, and even worse, the impression that because I was being challenged, that meant I was “bad at it”. Jumping from too easy straight into too hard, the classroom that was “just right” eluded me for the majority, or dare I say all of my education.

Faculty Q&A with Math Teacher Kate Bendrick

Sitting down at our cozy table in a Japanese restaurant near the school, I knew Kate was from Connecticut, so I started there.  I asked her if she grew up in an urban corner of New England, or somewhere more rural. 

“The ‘burbs,” she responded, “It was the worst of both worlds – remote enough to not have activities and social actions, but not remote enough to have peace of nature.”

“So, you like nature?” I ask.

“Not particularly.  It’s just the only up-side I can see.  No, I’m a city girl.”

“So you like it here in New York?”

Learning Outside the Classroom

Learning can take place anytime, anywhere. Most of our learning in math occurs while we are at school, but a student’s ability to grasp and concretely understand the concepts can differ significantly from one child to the next. While some students are able to fully comprehend the given concepts with a short explanation coupled with an example, others may require further assistance in order for them to fully master the concept.

“Simpsons” Overtakes “Big Bang” in Mathability

Of course it caught my eye.  Any headline containing both “The Simpsons” and the phrase “most mathematical” was a slam dunk. And so it was with great interest that I read the article sent to me by Maren from The Irish Examiner detailing the lecture by Professor Simon Singh in which he praised the popular TV show The Simpsons for being "the most mathematical TV show ever".

Faculty Q&A with Math Teacher Charlie Sitler

Ask Charlie Sitler for his favorite mathematician and he’ll be glad to tell you: Georg Cantor (1845-1918). “I crossed paths with his ideas at Fordham College. Cantor proved that there were actually different types of infinity—a veritable hierarchy of infinities, if you will. It was mind-blowing! Encountering Cantor’s theories made me want to teach math even more.  I wanted everybody to know there was so much more to math than y = mx + b.”

When did you know you wanted to teach?

Love and Mathematics

Ah!  It’s Valentine’s Day, and a young man’s fancy turns to…mathematics?

Not really.  But mathematics, or at least the language of mathematics, can be useful in discussing helpful advice to promote love in your life.  In fact, I encourage you to consider matters of affection stated in terms familiar to any calculus or precalculus student. (And you thought you wouldn’t use calculus in “real life”!)

First, however, I want to discuss an idea attributed to Michelangelo that I have always cherished:

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