Math Workshops with International Flair

July 7th, 2003 by Adam

Plymouth State College provides an international focus at several of this summer’s workshops to improve teaching mathematics.

Australian mathematics professors Doug and Barbara Clarke, of Australian Catholic University and Monash University (respectively), return to Plymouth State College to share their research findings and insights into teaching math. Their first workshop, Teaching Mathematics to Primary Children (July 7-11), offered to K-3 teachers, comes from the Clarkes’ three-year study of how children in the primary grades learn math. The Clarkes have established “growth points”—concepts children should know about mathematics at different developmental stages. “This is a very rich research study. It’s received a lot of international attention,” says Richard Evans, professor of mathematics and co-director of the NH-IMPACT Center at Plymouth State, which sponsors the summer mathematics programs. Partially funded by a grant from the Regional Alliance for Mathematics and Science Education, the Clarkes’ workshop will be a mixture of theory and hands-on practice. “We will explore the most effective approaches to teaching mathematics in the early years, drawing on best practices from Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and the United States,” explains Evans.

Two more workshops are offered by another Australian, Charles Lovitt, along with Professor Richard Evans. Developing Algebraic Notions in Grades K-10 (July 14-18), focuses on helping students understand algebra, while Developing Geometry and Data and Chance Notions in Grades K-10 (July 21-25) examines how teachers at can help students develop an understanding of geometry and data and chance concepts. Both workshops will feature new materials to enrich the curriculum as well as how standards-based math programs incorporate these concepts. Lovitt is “semi-retired” from his position as curriculum coordinator for the Curriculum Corporation of Australia (equivalent to the Department of Education here). Evans describes Lovitt as “the best mathematics educator I’ve ever seen.”

Other workshops in the series are Developing Mathematical Ideas – Numbers; Developing Mathematical Ideas – Data; Math Recovery; and Establishing Mathematics Professional Development Groups. Participating teachers can receive two graduate credits for each workshop. For more information on the NH-IMPACT Center and the Summer Mathematics Programs at Plymouth State College, contact Dr. Richard Evans at (603) 535-2487 (evans@mail.plymouth.edu) or Dr. Ferd Prevost at (603) 535-2523 (fprevost@mail.plymouth.edu).
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