seminars Archives

March 3, 2011: Mathematics, Mathematizing, and the Engineering of Mathematics Education

February 16th, 2011 by Dana Ernst

Title: Mathematics, Mathematizing, and the Engineering of Mathematics Education

Date: Thursday, March 3, 2011

Location: Hyde 349

Time: 4:00-5:00PM (Pizza at 3:30PM in Hyde 349)

Speaker: Jeffrey Taylor (Graduate Student, Plymouth State University)

Abstract: What historians do is not history; what biologists do is not biology – at least, it’s not the body of knowledge we put between textbook covers for our students. Similarly, a lot of what mathematicians actually do is not mathematics.

In this presentation, we will examine the distinction between mathematizing and mathematics, and use it to examine recent trends in the philosophy and psychology of mathematical learning, with the aim of critically articulating the 25 year old concept of “mathematical knowledge for teaching.”

Readings: Prior to the talk, it would be useful for people to take a look at the articles here and here, as well as the essay titled Those Who Understand by Lee Shulman, which you can access by logging in to myPlymouth, going to Library > Journals, searching for Educational Researcher, scrolling down to reveal the 1980’s, clicking on 1986, and then accessing  Issue 2.

December 8, 2010: Bridging the Gap Between Math and Music

November 22nd, 2010 by Dana Ernst

Title: Bridging the Gap Between Math and Music

Date: Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Location: Hyde 349

Time: 4:00-5:00PM (Pizza at 3:30PM in the faculty/student lounge)

Speaker: José Luciano and Dr. Larry Blaine (Plymouth State University)

Abstract: “I switched majors from music to math.” “Wow, that’s quite the switch!”  “Actually they’re more closely related than you think.  For example, did you know that Mozart wrote musical pieces based on a game of chance?”  Come see a small sample of how music and math collide when José Luciano and Plymouth State University professor Dr. Larry Blaine talk about how the famous Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart could compose a piece of music simply by rolling a pair of dice.

November 19, 2010: Gender equity in the mathematics classroom. What can you do to help?

November 4th, 2010 by Dana Ernst

Title: Gender equity in the mathematics classroom. What can you do to help?

Date: November 18, 2010

Location: Hyde 318

Time: 3:30-4:30PM (Pizza at 3PM in the faculty/student lounge)

Speaker: Dr. Angela Hodge (North Dakota State University)

Abstract: Although girls are both present and succeeding in high school mathematics courses, their presence does not continue into university mathematics classrooms. Even more problematic is that the number of women in university mathematics classes dramatically decreases during their academic careers. Why do some women fall away when others are able to persevere? In this presentation, Hodge will discuss women’s success in mathematics and the implications of their presence and absence in the classroom. She will discuss her research findings on the contributing factors of women’s success and will invite discussion on the importance of faculty and K-12 teachers in women’s success in mathematics. This is joint work with Dr. Christina Weber at North Dakota State University.

November 4, 2010: Cryptology

October 22nd, 2010 by Dana Ernst

Title: Cryptology

Date: November 4, 2010

Time: 3:30-4:30PM (Pizza at 3PM in the faculty/student lounge)

Speaker: Dr. Paul Estes (Emeritus, Plymouth State University)

Abstract: This talk introduces cryptology and will touch briefly on the following topics:

  • personal experience sending encrypted messages in a US Army Message Center
  • cracking the Nazi code
  • Navajo Code Talkers
  • ancient ciphers based on simple number theory
  • modern techniques based on enormous prime numbers


October 13, 2010: The Non-content Half of Mathematics

September 30th, 2010 by Dana Ernst

Title: The Non-content Half of Mathematics

Date: October 13, 2010

Speaker: Dr. John Donovan (Plymouth State University)

Abstract: The study of mathematics is about more than content.  The processes of doing mathematics, including problem-solving, reasoning, and communication, are essential goals at all levels of study.  In this seminar you will experience problem-based learning that achieves content and process objectives.  The problems will be accessible and challenging to all.

February 23, 2010: Integrating SmartBoards in the Mathematics Classroom

July 28th, 2010 by Bridget

Date: February 23, 2010

Speaker: Emily Ricard (Plymouth State University)

Abstract: Many teachers and students are curious about interactive whiteboards but are daunted by the steep learning curve to proficient use of the technology. This seminar will showcase some of the ways a self-described techno-phobe integrated the SmartBoard, Geometer’s Sketchpad, and Virtual TI into her secondary math classroom.

March 10, 2010: An Equation Runs Through It: River Rafting in the Grand Canyon

July 28th, 2010 by Bridget

Date: March 10, 2010

Speaker: Dr. Catherine Roberts (College of the Holy Cross)

Abstract: This talk will discuss a mathematical model for white water river rafting on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon National Park. The speaker will discuss the challenges faced by the National Park Service as it seeks to manage responsively this important natural resource. How a mathematician came to play a part in these efforts will round out the presentation. The audience will see the how a mathematical model was developed for a real-world example. She will show some spectacular photographs and video.

April 28, 2010: On an open problem of the symmetric group

July 28th, 2010 by Bridget

New Date: April 28, 2010

Speaker: Dana C. Ernst (Plymouth State University)

Abstract: Many people are often surprised to hear that mathematicians do research. What is mathematical research? Research in mathematics takes many forms, but one common theme is that the research seeks to answer an open question concerning some collection of mathematical objects. The goal of this talk will be to introduce you to one of the many open questions in mathematics: how many commutation classes does the longest element in the symmetric group have? We will review the basics of the symmetric group and introduce all of the necessary terminology, so that we can understand this question.

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