Author Archives: Chris Brownell
The AIMS Center for Math and Science Education, the working arm of the AIMS Education Foundation, has committed to helping teachers in the greater Central Valley of California pursue their Master’s degrees at Fresno Pacific University. To this end, funds have been set aside to scholarship teachers interested in earning one of the two MA degrees offered by FPU in Math or STEM Education. I would like to tell you about what the STEM Education Master’s candidates are doing during the week of June 19th, 2017, but first I need to give you some history.
Throughout the 1970s, ’80s, and into the ‘90s, FPU Grad Math Science put on a series of summer Festivals. There were festivals in Mathematics, Science, and Technology. Hundreds of teachers would come to the Fresno campus in June for a two-week, day-long collection of courses taught by a variety of experts in their fields. To say that these festivals were life changing would be an understatement, and I can say this because I attended two of them myself in 1989 and 1990. These altered my professional trajectory for the rest of my life. I was not alone, just ask Lori Hamada, the Executive Director of the AIMS Center herself, she had a very similar experience. We were permanently changed by the hot, sweaty hours we spent solving problems for Father Stanley Bezuska, Lola May, Margaret (Peg) Kinney, Wil Reimer, and Jim Wilson, to name the most familiar names.
Unfortunately, these festivals have gone away in recent years. However, through the support of AIMS, FPU’s Master of Arts in STEM Education is once again offering something similar. This year is the second offering of the Engineering in the Classroom Festival. While we do not serve hundreds of teachers like those earlier festivals, we still have a strong and committed group of over 50 K-8th grade teachers who come early in the morning, stay late into the VERY hot afternoons, and they work hard to come to grips with the applications of the mathematical and scientific concepts they have been studying. In my next post I will go into greater detail on what sorts of things they are doing, but to give you a taste, these students are studying the simple machines that humans have discovered, how they can be used to create more complex machines that do the work our backs would prefer not to do. Furthermore, they are designing, modeling, bench testing, and re-designing apparatus to be attached to rockets to slow their descent (see video for one of the rocket engines being used with a car to discover Baseline data for their experiments). To top it off, they are also studying the physics and mathematics of intricate paper-folding techniques that allow such apparatus to be deployed in small volumes on these same rockets. All this amidst a very collegial and collaborative environment to boot.
Beverly Ford, updates us on the progress she and the other members of her team are observing in their work within a particular school setting. She tells a few stories related to how her students are demonstrating various stages of learning. Bev expands on some of the things her partner, David Pearce, discussed in last… Continue Reading
David Pearce, presently a member of our Coordinating Units team spent that last year working with the K-1 students. He relates to us a few instances where he saw the work of Steffe and others come to life, and how it is changing his perspective on children’s mathematics. Continue Reading
Aileen Rizo is a member of our Early Math Team and works primarily with children in the Pre-School ages of 3-4 years old. Their work and investigation into how children at this age is primarily focused upon how youngsters develop from being able to recite a number word sequence (one that may not, in fact,… Continue Reading
Description: Dr. Steve Pauls talks with us about what are the factors that can alter perception. We discuss the role of context and how it can reveal or conceal information that your brain processes. With nearly 11 million bits of sensory data assailing your brain at any single moment, our brains have evolved impressive routines… Continue Reading
The California Mathematics Council is a statewide organization dedicated to enhancing the learning and teaching of mathematics to all students. Most California readers of AIMS blogs are likely familiar with the work of this organization, but may be unaware that it has local expressions. These local entities are known as “affiliates” within the organization itself.… Continue Reading
Grace Florez is a member of our “Units Construction” team that works primarily with children of Kindergarten age. They work to understand the research around how these children progress from the need to see and touch physical objects to count them; to being able to construct units out of tens. Grace tells us of a… Continue Reading
Today we have a brief podcast remembering a friend, colleague, and fellow mathematics educator. Diana Herrington demonstrated well how to passionately pursue helping others come to know and appreciate mathematics. She will be missed here in the Central Valley. Continue Reading
Eddie Campos Jr.(@edcamposjr), a staple on the Mathematics Twitter Blogospere (#MTBoS) joins us via Skype this week to discuss how he has transformed his classroom environment. Through the use of vertical and horizontal whiteboard surfaces, rich problems, and visual random grouping; Mr. Campos has completely changed his workplace. He talks with us about the effects… Continue Reading
Today we look back at one of our first episodes in September 2016 where we chatted with Dr. Andy Norton. Original episode description follows. Joining us today via Skype is Dr. Andy Norton of Virginia Tech University. He will be discussing an area of research he is focused upon known as Units Coordination. This is… Continue Reading