New Hampshire Teachers of Mathematics Offers Conference at PSU

March 13th, 2006 by Adam

How could Harry Potter get to Platform 9 ¾ without a bruise? How do you count to 10 in Booka Bonga? What’s the best way to improve students’ reading skills while solving equations? And what does the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland know about arithmetic? Mathematics teachers will learn the answers to these and many other questions at the New Hampshire Teachers of Mathematics (NHTM) Spring Conference. The conference, “DaVinci, Harry Potter, and the Grapes of Math – Math and Literature,” will be held Friday, March 24 at Plymouth State University (PSU).

As the conference title suggests, sessions and workshops will focus on ways for teachers to integrate reading, writing and children’s literature into the math curriculum. Participants can choose from nearly 40 workshops exploring elementary, middle and high school math topics, from fractals and functions to proofs and pattern-making. Such interactive, student-centered approaches are a hallmark of Plymouth State University’s model.

K-12 math educators from around the state, as well as book and software publishers and representatives from Plymouth State University, the University of New Hampshire, Drexel University and Framingham State College will offer educators opportunities to explore the geometry of Harry Potter’s magical world, learn how to teach number sense with the primitive Booka Bonga number system, use trade books to teach mathematical concepts, create an interdisciplinary unit focused on the writings and math puzzles of Lewis Carroll, integrate Jurassic Park into a middle school math unit or use interactive software to teach geometry, algebra, measurement and data analysis. The gathering is reflective of PSU’s role as a regional comprehensive university, bringing community members, students and faculty together for interactive learning.

According to Dr. Barbara Boschmans of the PSU mathematics department, linking math and literacy can be the key to success for many students and teachers.

“Integrating mathematics and literature is a wonderful way for teachers to invite students into the world of mathematics,” said Boschmans. “Reading books that have a mathematical topic as an underlying theme connects mathematics to everyday life and also dismisses the notion that mathematics is dry, inaccessible, and unimaginative.”

Conference attendees will also have the opportunity to meet and talk with two authors of mathematical textbooks and storybooks. The conference’s keynote speaker is McDougal Littell textbook author Laurie Boswell, who will offer a look into “What da Vinci Might Say About Standards.” Charlesbridge Publishing illustrator Wayne Geehan (Sir Cumference and the First Round Table: A Math Adventure) will also lead a workshop and sign copies of his books.

Math teachers are invited to share their students’ work in a poster contest held at the conference. Prizes for math-related posters will be awarded in elementary, middle and high school levels. Posters will be on display in the Winnipesaukee Room at Prospect Dining Hall. In addition, conference participants will have the opportunity to view exhibits by a variety of educational publishers and organizations in Prospect’s Newfound Room.

Registration fees for the conference are $60 for NHTM members, $75 for non-members and $30 for full-time students. Participants who would like to become members of NHTM can pay $85 for the conference fee and membership. Registration fees include a continental breakfast, lunch, parking permit, workshops and materials. A registration form is available online at www.nhtm.org. Registration is also available on the day of the conference.

New Hampshire Teachers of Mathematics is a professional association of K-12 educators affiliated with the Association of Teachers of Mathematics in New England (ATMNE). The Mission of the New Hampshire Teachers of Mathematics is to provide vision and leadership for improving the teaching and learning of mathematics so that each student is ensured quality mathematics education and each teacher of mathematics is ensured the opportunity to grow professionally.

Plymouth State University (PSU) is a regional comprehensive university offering a rich, student-focused learning environment for both undergraduate and graduate students. PSU offers 42 majors and 62 minors in programs that include education, business, humanities, arts, and natural and social sciences. The College of Graduate Studies offers coursework that promotes research, best practices and reflection in locations on- and off-campus as well as online. For non-traditional students, PSU’s Frost School of Continuing and Professional Studies offers working professionals opportunities to pursue an undergraduate degree by attending classes in the evenings, weekends and online. Located in a beautiful New England setting, Plymouth State University has been recognized as one of the “Best in the Northeast” by The Princeton Review.