Author Archives: Lori Hamada


When Dr. Thiessen first discussed his ideas about launching the AIMS Center for Math and Science Education with me, he suggested that our motto should be:
     “Know the Math; Know the Science; Know the Research.”
And, he said, even more importantly, we can never forget that:
     “We believe in children’s knowledge!”

I have been working in mathematics education now for over 30 years – as a teacher, as a site principal, as a mentor and provider to other teachers and administrators. I thought that I had always believed in children’s knowledge. I had always believed in children! But… I now realize the difference that Dr. Thiessen was talking about. I had bought into the political, assessment driven curriculum that our schools function around. I, like many well meaning teachers, focused too much on the standards that I was told to teach… on the curriculum that I was using… Many of my students seemed to thrive in that environment. But, too many did not. In fact, every time a student “failed” my class, I feel that I failed them. Why? Because, I did not truly believe in their knowledge. I expected them to be where the curriculum or the textbook indicated they should be.

Teaching is a very demanding vocation. We have tried to make it easier on ourselves as teachers by streamlining our instruction, when in reality we have lost the notion that every child is unique and deserves unique instruction. Believing in children’s knowledge means that we actually gauge our sequencing on where each individual child is and choose appropriate experiences that keep moving each child along their continuum of understanding. It means that our classroom is set up for 100% success – not 75+%. The members of our research division are working hard to incorporate our belief in children’s knowledge into all of the work that we are beginning to translate for teachers.

As the committee planning our 2016 Christmas celebration settled on a Polar Express theme, our 2017 AIMS Center theme emerged quite naturally through our meetings. We were focused on the bell, which only rings for those who believe! We, at the AIMS Center, believe!

  • We believe in children’s knowledge.
  • We believe that teachers truly want to help their students learn.
  • We believe that, by knowing and understanding the research, we can help teachers learn how to change the way children learn mathematics.
  • We believe that, by changing students’ experiences as they learn mathematics and science into truly positive ones, we can change their lives forever!

We sincerely believe in the work that we are doing at the AIMS Center. We have accepted a very daunting challenge, but… what an awesome opportunity! In 2017 and beyond… WE BELIEVE!

2016 – The Ampersand

When Dr. Thiessen recruited me to launch this new Center, he shared with me his vision of collaboration.  He believed, as do I, that we are much stronger together and that this work of knowledge translation was going to be difficult work.  In 2014, the AIMS Education Foundation Board agreed to totally renovate our existing… Continue Reading

The Work of the AIMS Center

I am writing this post from the annual conference of Learning Forward, an organization whose mission it is to “build the capacity of leaders to establish and sustain highly effective professional learning.”   When I became the Mathematics Coordinator at the Fresno County Office of Education in 1998, I turned to this professional organization (then called… Continue Reading

A New Vision

As we have launched the Research Division of the AIMS Center for Math and Science Education we have found that there is extensive financial backing for educational research and there are increasing funds for the professional development of our teachers.  Yet, there appears to be a gaping hole in this continuum – the funding for… Continue Reading

“Coming to Know” in Science…

I recently read an article from Science and Cognitive Development that really piqued my interest ( It started by saying, “Science for young children is all about gaining new knowledge of the world around them; what they can see, hear, smell and touch. Science for young children is also about learning how to learn. It’s… Continue Reading

Algebraic Thinking with Rural Teachers in Florida

This past year, the AIMS Center had the privilege of working with hundreds of rural teachers in the state of Florida.  Our host was actually the Florida and the Islands Comprehensive Center (FLICC), operated by the Educational Testing Service.  We worked with three different consortia, the Heartland Educational Consortium (HEC) in Lake Placid, the North… Continue Reading

The AIMS Center – Wow!

WOW!  I have been absolutely blessed to have been brought in to direct the transition of the AIMS Education Foundation into the newly envisioned AIMS Center for Math and Science Education!  What does that mean?  Well… Dr. Arthur Wiebe left a legacy through the work of the AIMS Education Foundation.  Since 1981, AIMS has worked… Continue Reading