Well, last week was busy with CAMT (Conference for the Advancement of Mathematics Teaching) in Ft Worth, TX. Each morning I spent driving an hour to the conference – an easy drive. Each evening starting off at 3:45 I’d return home… a not so easy drive of 1.5+ hours. I gained such an appreciation… for the fact that I only live less than a mile from my school.

Below is a highlight of some of my memorable sessions attended. It was a very productive three days. Ideas shared, lessons learned, confidence both challenged and strengthened. This year I am excited to teach three classes of Science, along with three Pre-Algebra classes, prompting me to attend many science/stem/math sessions.

MONDAY Day 1

**We’re the Ones who Should have the Most Fun! Models that Build Understanding in Mathematics and Beyond**

**Dr. Bob Horton Clemson University**

Using context to build concepts. Context should be used to motivate the students. Remembering the 4E’s ( Engage, Explore, Explain, and Extend)…. the last one? EVALUATE– continue throughout the lessons.

Biology: Food Webs and Matrices

Here we saw a construction of a foodweb matrix. 1 if a row animal eats a column animal 0 if a row animal doesn’t eat a column animal. We can also make squared and cubed matrices to see the relationship between animals and their dependence on others. (who would have thought!?!… obviously Dr. Horton did)

The Soggy Grashopper

This slide brought the journey of the grasshopper to include both distances traveled, and and remaining distances.. an infinte conundrum that many give credit to Zeno and his paradoxes.

Other models include:

Art – the Julia Set

Social Studies: US Populations

Sports: Bike Competitions (including the Means: Geometric, Harmonic, and Arithmetic)

Music: Also seen in the Means

Finances: Also seen with the Means

**Mathematics is Everywhere… I love the term UBIQUITOUS!**

**Not Yo’ Momma’s Math Course**

**Brandy Osterberger Coppell ISD**

Look for questions that can’t be googled quickly. Utilize the “What Do We KNOW/NEED 2 KNOW” chart.

“Look at something, get freaked out, and then move on.”- love this.

Scaffold their questions through Inquiry to get to the math.

No set ANSWERS! Work for the Process.

Brandy started the problem with a photo of One Direction, “Will this Concert Sell Out?” She then went into the concept of volume after her students questioned things by asking students how many gumdrops were in a shoebox container. From there she drew the students into finding out how many could fit in a 5X5 space…. eventually getting the students to estimate how many tickets would be sold to the concert.

Make the kids ask the questions and keep them asking. Work with their estimation skills… What is a number too low, too high. (which brings me to mention the great site Estimation180 ) Always asking why did you choose the numbers you did.

Do plenty of reflections, and make the connections to each sub question and to the original topic.

Planning: Begin at the Math and TEKS. Articulate the ideas you want the students to learn. Think about your students. Decide on a task. Predict what will Happen (How are they going to solve this) Articulate the students’ responsibilities

Implementation: Problem Launch, Problem Development, Problem Debrief

Problem Launchers: If you change the tire size on your car, are there any other adjustments? How many tennis balls does it take to fill up a classroom? Do you ever feel ripped off when you open a bag of chips? Will we ever run out of phone numbers?

Oh how I wish there was a book with these Launchers that take you through the Implementations… But then again… that’s where we are the teachers, and we have the ability to direct our children to learn what is needed by how we teach and guide.

**STEM for Middle School Teachers**

**Julie Sandifer**

Experiences are needed to hook the kids. (Logic and Connectedness and Collaboration) Always go to the Mathematics.. don’t just build the models. Include language with functions and graphs, observing patterns and numbers, and continue numeracy through problem solving. Julie works with Stephen F Austin University to bring STEM resources to students and teachers.

A couple sites to peruse: