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Students shine at state math teachers’ conference

SUNY Fredonia was well represented at the annual Association of Mathematics Teachers of New York State conference, with 29 undergraduates and four graduate students participating in the three-day November gathering, titled “Live, Love, Math,” at the Westchester Hilton in Rye, N.Y.

Prospective teachers presented lesson ideas, what SUNY Fredonia Mathematics Education program coordinator Keary Howard calls “the guts” of a lesson. Working in pairs, students offered a mathematics concept or skill and then followed it with the problem-based activity designed to develop that concept or skill, explained Jamar Pickreign, associate dean of the College of Education. Questions from attendees were part of each 10 to 15 minute presentation.

Additionally, four SUNY Fredonia faculty members delivered presentations. They, and their respective topics, were: Dr. Teodora Cox, “Reading the World and Reading the Word: Mathematics and Issues of Social Justice;” Dr. Howard, “The Best Data Sets Ever;” Dr. Bob Rogers, “‘Fredonia Rogers’ and the Secret to Solving the Cubic;” and Dr. H. Joseph Straight, “A Gem from Hindu Mathematics: Bhaskara’s Solution of Pell’s Equation.”

Students from SUNY Fredonia, one of nine universities that sent undergraduates to the conference, also handled presider duties. In that role, they gathered information from other presenters to effectively introduce each presenter to the audience, and also distributed and collected presentation evaluation forms. SUNY Fredonia women also won the coveted “Dance Off” trophy.

These activities not only contribute to students’ overall professional development as teachers, but they also provide evidence of their performance, which contributes to program effectiveness, said Dr. Pickreign, who was in charge of conference presiders.

According to Drs. Howard and Rogers, SUNY Fredonia’s Mathematics Education program has developed a strong reputation in the state as a result of its participation in these conferences, prompting recommendations from high school teachers across the state.

SUNY Fredonia has sent students to this conference, which also attracts currently employed teachers, for 13 consecutive years. This year’s Fredonia contingent was among the largest sent and included undergraduates Wyatt Anderson, Katie Clark, Sierra Haney-Rolf, Kristen Joseph, Ashley Melinski, Elizabeth Schake, Shannon Tydings, Tamra Yeager, Tara Hudson, Abigail Brennan, Suzanne Constantinou, Alexandra Koch, David Newcomb, Angela Sciandra, Danielle VerHague, Gina Falcone, Alex Jo, Glenn Waterman, Matthew Burnell, Becky Laks, Renee Perreaud, Matthew Sitzman, Colleen Gilbert, Kaitlyn Whitney, Elizabeth Childers, Matthew Johnston, Sara Maiorana, Gabbie Rodriguez and Collin Thompson. They were joined by graduate students Courtney Brydges, Kyle Erlandson, Mabra Karpie and Jerica Morgan.

“In addition to the obvious professional development benefits, students may also benefit from having direct contact with potential employers/colleagues,” Pickreign added.

The mathematical sciences department as well as the College of Education-Professional Education Unit is proud of this program and the impact its students are having on mathematics education across the state, Pickreign said. Goals of the 3,000-member association are to: insure better coordination of all activities of math groups; afford a medium of exchange of views regarding the teaching of mathematics; further cooperative study of problems relating to the teaching of mathematics at all four instructional levels; encourage active interest in mathematics and mathematics education; and serve as a liaison between the New York State Education Department and the field.

posted @ Saturday, February 02, 2013 1:42 PM by Christine Davis Mantai

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