Author Archives: Chris Brownell

Episode 14 | Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS): What are they, and what good may come?

Lesley Gates joins us on the podcast this week. She briefly describes some of the goals, purposes, and benefits of the new science standards that are in the process of being incorporated in public schools across the US. With an emphasis on the “Doing” of science rather than reading about it from books; along with developing and fostering a sense of curiosity and wonder about the natural and human-made worlds, the NGSS hope to bring science back to a more prominent role in schooling than it has been over the last few decades. Lesley describes with great passion some of her hopes for these standards.

Episode 13 | Productive Struggle: What is it, and How to Get Started?

Lori Hamada, the Executive Director of the AIMS Center for Math & Science Education, joins me in the studio this week to flesh out her recent talk on Productive Struggle. We explore a little the four different perspectives of: Teacher, Student, Administrator, and Parent when it comes to this topic. We end with some descriptions of how teachers can access tasks that enhance or provide opportunity for students to productively struggle in their classroom.

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ZPC Podcast: Chapter 1

So here we are, at the time I write this we have “dropped” (made public) 10 individual podcast sessions. These have come from a wide variety of perspectives and a span of preferences. Don’t be fooled though, while we have dropped these ten, we have almost ten more “in the can” (recorded and nearing their… Continue Reading

Episode 12 | Children’s Mathematics & the Mathematics for Children

Dr. Les Steffe joins us in studio for our longest podcast yet. From his earliest days as a High School Mathematics teacher, Dr. Steffe has focused on what it means to know math. With a research career that spans six decades of consistent investigation into the mathematics of children, Dr. Steffe encourages us all to, “Listen to the student.” and through this join them in the learning process.

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Episode 11 | The Joy of Doing Mathematics

A man on a mission to reveal to the world that mathematics is a human endeavor, one filled with joy, discovery, and lots of passion. We explore a topic within the High School experience in algebra, quadratics, and ask, “Why do we want to teach this?” James sees this topic as a “story, a piece of poetry…”  We then pursue a question of, “How does a mathematician stay interested in elementary mathematics?” A brief re-statement of Dr. Tanton’s “Fractions are a really deep and incredibly interesting.”  “Do not run away from the feeling of ‘hazy thinking’.

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Episode 10 | Discrepant Events, A Way to Engage the Scientific Mind

After a description of a few demonstrations regarding the nature and behavior of water, each that have a “surprising” finish, we discuss how these sort of surprises constitute “discrepant” events. This then leads to a discussion of the “Why” do these events occur, what are the chemical and physical properties at work. We explore how discrepancies can constitute opportunities to cause “perturbation” or a space in the learner to come to a new understanding. We wander off on a minor tangent that generates, for us, a way to more fully investigate these properties. These perturbative events generate within the learner a state of “cognitive disequilibrium” which can then be capitalized upon by a guiding hand to create new knowledge within the learner. We include som […]

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Episode 9 | Kindergarten Readiness with Tim Yeager

After stating a rather shocking statistic that indicates the overwhelming majority of five year olds enter Kindergarten “not ready” according to one assessment. Tim talks to us about how two varieties of early learning based on two professors theories on how children learn. After a failure in efforts, these professors stepped back from an effort to, “catch children up,” and began to focus on the idea that children are constantly learning. We discuss what comes out of this research, specifically two varieties of learning in children: Naming, and Observational.

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Episode 7 | Early Mathematical Understandings

Wilma Hashimoto is one of the AIMS Center’s Research Associates working on a project focused on the pre-school years and how children build their earliest understandings of mathematical thought. We focus on how early understandings of mathematics affect learning trajectories can influence success in later schooling. We also examine what sort of things can and should comprise early mathematics instruction. A point about creating “intentional” mathematical learning opportunities is also examined. We get to talk about Spew too!

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