Reflecting upon Summer 2017

It seems funny to be reflecting back on this season now, but as my profession is inexorably linked to a scholastic calendar, it is accurate. Schools all over the valley are starting up, teachers are prepping their classrooms if they haven’t already begun classes, and my colleagues at AIMS and FPU are filtering back into the office and continuing their efforts to understand and know more about their various topics. I recently recorded a podcast in which I describe three events from my summer and how they interrelate around a theme of humility.

That was not the only possible interpretation of the connections for these events. I have focused, for several years now, it seems, on the concept that mathematics and science are legitimate topics to be discussed within the Humanities. For so long, and for many reasons, I was raised to perceive that these two subjects were somehow not a part of the core of studies that we apply to coming to understand more fully what it is to be human. Literature, history, politics, art, these subjects are the traditional ones within schools of Humanity in universities, and colleges across the western world. What I have become convinced of, however, and had reinforced for me this summer, is that this separation is both arbitrary and harmful.

To undertake a scientific exploration is to acknowledge a fundamental human trait of curiosity and a genuinely human behavior of tool development and use. We seek to know because we are curious beings. Our biology and personality development aim us toward exploration of our world. To get to the end game of knowing, we invent devices, or tools, to assist us in these inquiries. This technological development seems to be part and parcel of our species.

One of the more profound experiences I had this summer was at a conference called Bridges Math-Art conference in Waterloo Ontario, Canada. At the conference, there were hundreds of people engaged in discussing, at very high levels of competence, this very intersection between subjects I was raised to consider as different activities; so different that it is common to talk about them as being conducted by opposite hemispheres of our brain. What I saw were people who were fully integrating all their human faculties.

I admit this may occur because I have recently read an excellent book by friend and colleague, Sunil Singh titled “The Pi of Life: The Hidden Happiness of Mathematics.” In this book, Sunil connects math and several very human characteristics, the first of which is humility. I recommend this book for your enjoyment and betterment.


Episode 49 | Four Critical Areas for Teaching Wrap Nicely Into Constructivism

Dr. Beyranevand joins in from his home in Massachusetts via Skype this week. We discuss the four areas he sees as being critical for effective teaching: Planning, Pedagogay, Assessment, and Relationships. These areas, as he claims and supports, are practical ways in which teachers, seasoned or newbie, can operate within a Constructivist paradigm of learning.… Continue Reading

Building the Mathematical Mind

Watching a young child’s mathematical knowledge grow is analogous to watching a house being built. When I was in my teens, my dad, along with my brother and I,  BlogAugPt2 BlogAugPt1built our new home. I remember the exciting days of noticeable growth, such as when we poured the concrete slab, framed the walls, or put… Continue Reading

Christian – Part 1

The Standards for Mathematical Practice describe ways in which developing student practitioners of the discipline of mathematics increasingly ought to engage with the subject matter as they grow in mathematical maturity and expertise throughout the elementary, middle and high school years.—Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, p. 8 CSS.MP1 Make sense of problems and persevere… Continue Reading

Teaching is Listening

Last week, our Early Math Team here at the AIMS Center partnered with Fresno EOC Head Start to spend a day devoted to children’s mathematics. I had the privilege of sharing a few thoughts at the beginning of the day to help shape our time and work together over the coming year. In this keynote,… Continue Reading

What Part Does Technology Have to Play in the Future of Education? (Part III)

This blog post is the third in a series concerning technology in education stemming from the Jean Piaget Society Conference I attended in June. The theme of this year’s conference was “Technology and Human Development.” It provided a venue to discuss technology through a variety of different academic disciplines and research frames of reference all… Continue Reading

You Can and Do Make a Difference

If you were asked to describe the best professional learning experience you have ever had, what would you say? Would you say it fit your needs perfectly? Would you say you were provided with individualized considerations? Would you say you were able to take the experience and share it with your colleagues? Would you say… Continue Reading