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Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

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Full-Text Articles in Science and Mathematics Education

Mathematics Out Of Nothing: Talking About Powerful Mathematical Ideas With Children, Matthew Oldridge Jul 2019

Mathematics Out Of Nothing: Talking About Powerful Mathematical Ideas With Children, Matthew Oldridge

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

Parents and educators have powerful opportunities to introduce children to big mathematical ideas, when those ideas become necessary. Children are capable and curious. They don’t need to be sheltered from big mathematical ideas. Bring out mathematical ideas when kids are ready, or when they are needed. This article describes one such instance, when I helped my six-year-old son move beyond zero in the negative direction when subtracting.


Mathematics Students As Artists: Broadening The Mathematics Curriculum, Marshall Gordon Jul 2019

Mathematics Students As Artists: Broadening The Mathematics Curriculum, Marshall Gordon

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

Mathematics has often been referred to as an art. For some it is “the purest of the arts”, where the mathematicians’ art is “asking simple and elegant questions about our imaginary creations, and crafting satisfying and beautiful explanations”. Yet with classroom time given primarily to “covering the curriculum”, testing, and practicing problem-solving procedures, students’ opportunities to appreciate the aesthetic dimension of mathematics are often limited. To promote a responsive environment in an effort to enable students to become artists of their own mathematics experience, I consider in this paper two facets of the mathematics classroom. Content-wise I make the argument ...


Telling Women's Stories: A Resource For College Mathematics Instructors, Sarah Mayes-Tang Jul 2019

Telling Women's Stories: A Resource For College Mathematics Instructors, Sarah Mayes-Tang

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

Stereotypes about mathematicians that conflict with ``traditionally feminine" identities are widely held by people from middle-school-age onwards, and can influence their participation in mathematics and related fields. Simply being exposed to women in mathematics is not enough to change students' perceptions of mathematicians, and may even decrease girls' interest in mathematics. This paper proposes a storytelling strategy to help change students' perceptions of mathematicians. It includes several activities for intentionally incorporating women's stories into the post-secondary classroom and a list of resources for finding existing powerful stories. The diverse stories of women mathematicians, including details of their personal lives ...


Academia Will Not Save You: Stories Of Being Continually “Underrepresented”, Lynette Deaun Guzmán Jan 2019

Academia Will Not Save You: Stories Of Being Continually “Underrepresented”, Lynette Deaun Guzmán

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

My entire life I have had to navigate educational structures labeled (by other people) as “underrepresented” in my fields—mathematics and mathematics education. As many people who are similarly labeled in this way know, this meant I had to navigate oppressive structures that positioned me as lesser (e.g., white supremacy, patriarchy). Making sense of these repeated interactions, I wrote my dissertation as a series of three articles, each prefaced with an essay that situated a broader social, cultural, and political context and also connected to my lived experiences navigating academia. These essays were some of my most personal academic ...


Symmetry And Measuring: Ways To Teach The Foundations Of Mathematics Inspired By Yupiaq Elders, Jerry Lipka, Barbara Adams, Monica Wong, David Koester, Karen Francois Jan 2019

Symmetry And Measuring: Ways To Teach The Foundations Of Mathematics Inspired By Yupiaq Elders, Jerry Lipka, Barbara Adams, Monica Wong, David Koester, Karen Francois

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

Evident in human prehistory and across immense cultural variation in human activities, symmetry has been perceived and utilized as an integrative and guiding principle. In our long-term collaborative work with Indigenous Knowledge holders, particularly Yupiaq Eskimos of Alaska and Carolinian Islanders in Micronesia, we were struck by the centrality of symmetry and measuring as a comparison-of-quantities, and the practical and conceptual role of qukaq [center] and ayagneq [a place to begin]. They applied fundamental mathematical principles associated with symmetry and measuring in their everyday activities and in making artifacts. Inspired by their example, this paper explores the question: Could symmetry ...


The Mathematics Orientation Seminar: A Tool For Diversity And Retention In The First Year Of College, Salvatore J. Petrilli Jan 2019

The Mathematics Orientation Seminar: A Tool For Diversity And Retention In The First Year Of College, Salvatore J. Petrilli

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

In this article I describe Adelphi University's Mathematics Orientation Seminar, a new course that was introduced into the mathematics major to help students find their passion in mathematics and to strengthen the educational community within our department. I discuss quantitative and qualitative results of surveys among students in the Mathematics Orientation Seminar in Fall 2016 and Fall 2017, which suggest that this might be a useful course for other institutions to utilize within any major. Finally, I explore faculty perspectives and describe what I believe to be the final version of this course.


Motherhood And Teaching: Radical Care, Ksenija Simic-Muller Jul 2018

Motherhood And Teaching: Radical Care, Ksenija Simic-Muller

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

This essay is a personal reflection on how I leverage my positioning as a caregiver in my roles of a mathematician, teacher, and mother, to advance a vision for a more just and equitable society. I argue that care at home and in the classroom takes similar forms, and can be liberating instead of oppressive.


Revealing Luz: Illuminating Our Identities Through Duoethnography, Carrie Diaz Eaton, Luz Marizza Bailey Jul 2018

Revealing Luz: Illuminating Our Identities Through Duoethnography, Carrie Diaz Eaton, Luz Marizza Bailey

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

Hispanic Americans make up 15% of the current US workforce, but they only account for 7% of the STEM Education workforce [8]. One effective way to reach this population, particularly Latinas, is by providing stories and ethnographic biographies of successful Latinas they can relate to. It is important to note that Latinas have been earning PhDs in STEM disciplines outside of the US much longer than US-born Latinas have been earning them inside. Thus we offer the story of a mathematics educator, from Peru, Dr. Luz Antonia Mendizábal Gálvez de Rodriguez, a girl who was given a chance to be ...


Special Issue Call For Papers: Mathematics And Motherhood, Pamela E. Harris, Becky Hall, Carrie Diaz Eaton, Emille Davie Lawrence Jul 2017

Special Issue Call For Papers: Mathematics And Motherhood, Pamela E. Harris, Becky Hall, Carrie Diaz Eaton, Emille Davie Lawrence

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

The Journal of Humanistic Mathematics is pleased to announce a call for papers for a special issue on Mathematics and Motherhood. Please send your abstract submissions via email to the guest editors by October 1, 2017. Initial submission of complete manuscripts is due January 1, 2018. The issue is currently scheduled to appear in July 2018.


I Love You Fifty, Nat Banting Jul 2017

I Love You Fifty, Nat Banting

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

This article chronicles the merging of my roles of teacher and learner of mathematics with that of a relatively new pursuit: parenthood. Amidst my attempts to dutifully provide opportunities for my son to interact with various mathematical ideas and artifacts, it was an unanticipated moment of epiphany that allowed me to enter into his emerging world of mathematical significance and rediscover what first drew me to the teaching and learning of mathematics. My son’s innocent, yet potent, understanding of number provides an image of the power of mathematics to organize experience, structure significance, and communicate meaning.


Inquiry Based Learning From The Learner’S Point Of View: A Teacher Candidate’S Success Story, Caroline Johnson Caswell, Derek J. Labrie Jul 2017

Inquiry Based Learning From The Learner’S Point Of View: A Teacher Candidate’S Success Story, Caroline Johnson Caswell, Derek J. Labrie

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

The goal of this paper is to review current research on Inquiry Based Learning (IBL) and shed some light, from a student's perspective, on the challenges and rewards of this pedagogy. The first part of the article provides an extensive review of the literature on IBL. The second part focuses on one student's experiences in an IBL classroom.

In particular, a graduate secondary mathematics student reflects upon his experiences in a college mathematics class where the instructor implemented an Inquiry Based Learning model. His experience is validated by current research on IBL educational methodology which structures the classroom ...


16, Dan Mcquillan Feb 2017

16, Dan Mcquillan

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

This 15 word poem suggests that the reader count the words of the poem. Since every line has half as many words as the previous line, and since the poem urges the reader to keep counting forever, one imagines a total of 16 words.


The Battle Against Malaria: A Teachable Moment, Randy K. Schwartz Feb 2017

The Battle Against Malaria: A Teachable Moment, Randy K. Schwartz

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

Malaria has been humanity’s worst public health problem throughout recorded history. Mathematical methods are needed to understand which factors are relevant to the disease and to develop counter-measures against it. This article and the accompanying exercises provide examples of those methods for use in lower- or upper-level courses dealing with probability, statistics, or population modeling. These can be used to illustrate such concepts as correlation, causation, conditional probability, and independence. The article explains how the apparent link between sickle cell trait and resistance to malaria was first verified in Uganda using the chi-squared probability distribution. It goes on to ...


Aesthetics In A Mathematics For Liberal Arts Project, Jason Callahan, Carol Gee Feb 2017

Aesthetics In A Mathematics For Liberal Arts Project, Jason Callahan, Carol Gee

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

We present and assess a project and its rubric developed and assigned in Mathematics for Liberal Arts, a general education course for non-science and non-business majors, to incorporate different skills including aesthetic design, written and oral communication, and mathematical analysis to tackle a common optimization problem with an aesthetic slant: construct a beverage can (i.e., right circular cylinder) of a given volume while taking into account the cost of materials (i.e., surface area) and aesthetic qualities (e.g., the golden ratio).


Struggles And Growth In Mathematics Education: Reflections By Three Generations Of Mathematicians On The Creation Of The Computer Game E-Brock Bugs, Laura Broley, Chantal Buteau, Eric Muller Feb 2017

Struggles And Growth In Mathematics Education: Reflections By Three Generations Of Mathematicians On The Creation Of The Computer Game E-Brock Bugs, Laura Broley, Chantal Buteau, Eric Muller

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

In the Fall of 2013 our team of three different generations of mathematicians launched the free, online E-Brock Bugs© mathematics computer game [5] which we developed from an original probabilistic board game, Brock Bugs, and its digital learning object version. We constructed E-Brock Bugs using Devlin’s [9] mathematics computer game design principles for games that prompt players’ development of mathematical thinking. As we created E-Brock Bugs we found it necessary to go through an evolving cyclic process of design, implementation, and analysis. In this paper we reflect upon the main struggles we faced in this process and the unexpected ...


Metaphors And Mathematical Identity: Math Is Like A Tornado In Kansas, Carmen M. Latterell, Janelle L. Wilson Feb 2017

Metaphors And Mathematical Identity: Math Is Like A Tornado In Kansas, Carmen M. Latterell, Janelle L. Wilson

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

Mathematical identity is an individual’s concept of who he or she is mathematically. In this paper, metaphors for mathematics from elementary education majors are compared to metaphors created by secondary mathematics teaching majors. The analysis demonstrates a basic difference in the mathematical identity of the two groups, with the latter group having more holistic conceptions of mathematics than the first group. Elementary education majors describe mathematics as an ongoing struggle in which the mathematics is active, and they are the victims. The secondary teaching mathematics majors describe mathematics as an ongoing struggle in which they are active.


Calculus Problems, Joshua N. Cooper Jul 2016

Calculus Problems, Joshua N. Cooper

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

No abstract provided.


A Truly Beautiful Theorem: Demonstrating The Magnificence Of The Fundamental Theorem Of Calculus, Dan Mcquillan, Darlene M. Olsen Jul 2016

A Truly Beautiful Theorem: Demonstrating The Magnificence Of The Fundamental Theorem Of Calculus, Dan Mcquillan, Darlene M. Olsen

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

In standard treatments of calculus, the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus is often presented as a computational method to evaluate definite integrals, with such powerful utility that one is tempted to overlook its beauty. To improve students' appreciation for the first part of the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus, we suggest a few classroom examples focusing on the accumulation function, to be introduced early and often throughout an introductory calculus course. These examples are small enough that they would not necessarily result in changes to a typical course schedule; yet we believe their contribution to student understanding can be significant. Furthermore, such ...


Stop Ruining Math! Reasons And Remedies For The Maladies Of Mathematics Education, Rachel M. Steinig Jul 2016

Stop Ruining Math! Reasons And Remedies For The Maladies Of Mathematics Education, Rachel M. Steinig

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

Did you love math as a kid? Or was it ruined for you? Sadly, many people have had math ruined for them for various reasons. Some might say that it was because of not understanding what was going on, being bored in class, parental or societal pressure to achieve in math, not seeing a point in learning math, wrong amount of homework, grades, curriculum, physical concerns, mean teachers, or any number of things. This article delves into the many common reasons why math is ruined for so many kids, and offers solutions so that math can be enjoyable for everyone ...


What Has An Impact On Grades? Instructor-Made Videos, Communication, And Timing In An Online Statistics Course, Regina Aragon, Indika P. Wickramasinghe Jul 2016

What Has An Impact On Grades? Instructor-Made Videos, Communication, And Timing In An Online Statistics Course, Regina Aragon, Indika P. Wickramasinghe

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

This study investigates student success in an online introductory statistics class. We examine the impact of several variables: amount of time that a student watches instructor-made videos (IMV), the nature of communication between the student and the instructor, and the amount of time spent on completing the online assignments and exams on student grades in an introductory level online statistics course. Findings suggest that IMVs of short dur ation, the subject- related communication between the student and the instructor, and homework completion time have significant association with student performance. Though the average time spent on online exams does not show ...


Bringing Students Back To Mathematics: Classroom Knowledge And Motivation, Giang-Nguyen T. Nguyen, Joel B. Goodin Jul 2016

Bringing Students Back To Mathematics: Classroom Knowledge And Motivation, Giang-Nguyen T. Nguyen, Joel B. Goodin

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

This paper reports part of a larger research study that investigated how teachers motivate students to learn mathematics at the college level. Findings from the study indicated that teachers have the power to influence and reinvigorate students who had given up learning mathematics. In the framework of Self-Determination Theory (SDT), the researchers analyzed five students’ motivational levels based on intrinsic and extrinsic motivation to see how each student was motivated by their teacher. Findings from the study could provide some directions for future research on students’ motivation to learn mathematics.


Using Ibl In A History Of Mathematics Course: A Skeptic’S Success, Michael E. Matthews, Angela M. Hodge Jul 2016

Using Ibl In A History Of Mathematics Course: A Skeptic’S Success, Michael E. Matthews, Angela M. Hodge

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

A college professor, who is highly skeptical of change, but sensing a need for teaching in a more inspiring and engaging way, implements an inquiry-based learning (IBL) approach to teaching the history of mathematics. The first author (Matthews) worked with an experienced IBL colleague mentor (Hodge) on the course. Some student data was collected to document the effects of the class on the students. The approach taken for the course is described in detail including how the students of the course learned about and used IBL in key peer-to-peer teaching about historical mathematics (with a primary focus on the mathemat- ...


Humanizing Mathematics Through Ethnomodelling, Milton Rosa, Daniel Clark Orey Jul 2016

Humanizing Mathematics Through Ethnomodelling, Milton Rosa, Daniel Clark Orey

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

Ethnomathematical techniques and modelling tools allow us to examine systems taken from the real world and offer us insight into forms of mathematics performed in holistic contexts [3]. A pedagogical approach that connects a diversity of cultural forms of mathematics can be implemented by the use of ethnomodelling, a process of translation and elaboration of problems and questions taken from non-academic systems. Here, we offer examples of studies conducted in Brazil and in the United States that explore this pedagogical approach. Our goal is to broaden the discussion of possibilities for ethnomathematics and associated ethnomodelling perspectives that respect the social ...


Jay Leno And Abstract Algebra, Adam Glesser, Martin Bonsangue Jan 2016

Jay Leno And Abstract Algebra, Adam Glesser, Martin Bonsangue

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

The Jay Leno skit Jaywalking, showing ordinary people struggling to answer basic questions, is both entertaining and applicable to teaching. This article describes how an instructor can strengthen students' conceptual understanding by creating an element of confusion, or "cognitive dissonance," in the students' minds using Jaywalking-style interactions in the classroom.


Dramathizing Functions: Building Connections Between Mathematics And Arts, Gunhan Caglayan Jan 2016

Dramathizing Functions: Building Connections Between Mathematics And Arts, Gunhan Caglayan

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

This article focuses on connections between mathematics and performance arts (drama). More specifically we offer an exposition of a segment of college algebra mathematics (an introduction to functions), with an approach primarily emphasizing the aesthetic aspects of mathematical learning, teaching, and performing.


What If?: Mathematics, Creative Writing, And Play, Emily Clader Jan 2016

What If?: Mathematics, Creative Writing, And Play, Emily Clader

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

Mathematics can inform creative writing by suggesting structures for it to follow, as well as by providing the imaginative impetus for common rules to be broken. In a workshop co-taught by the author, a class of sixth-grade students explored this interplay as they produced fractal-inspired poetry and geometry-inspired fiction. This article describes the form and results of the workshop in the context of a broader discussion of the influence of mathematics upon literature.


The Importance Of Surprise In Mathematical Beauty, V. Rani Satyam Jan 2016

The Importance Of Surprise In Mathematical Beauty, V. Rani Satyam

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

Mathematicians, mathematics education researchers, and philosophers have written about mathematical beauty and many of the qualities commonly associated with it, such as simplicity, brevity, enlightenment, etc. One key theme that underlies many of these qualities is surprise or the unexpected. In this article, I discuss the integral role surprise plays in mathematical beauty. Through examples, I argue that simplicity alone is oftentimes not enough for a piece of mathematics to be considered beautiful, but rather it is unexpected simplicity that we seek. I propose, moreover, that surprise is necessary for enlightenment. The paper also reports results from an activity designed ...


The Role Of Sequence In The Experience Of Mathematical Beauty, Leslie Dietiker Jan 2016

The Role Of Sequence In The Experience Of Mathematical Beauty, Leslie Dietiker

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

In this article, I analyze the aesthetic dimensions of a sequence of mathematical events found in an unusual first grade lesson in order to demonstrate how sequencing may affect an individual’s experience of mathematical beauty. By approaching aesthetic as a sense or felt quality of an experience in context (Sinclair, 2001, 2011), this analysis explains how sequence can affect the way mathematical objects or actions are experienced by an individual. Thus, rather than questioning whether or in what ways a set of mathematical objects are beautiful or not, this paper addresses under what conditions is the mathematics in play ...


Surprise And The Aesthetic Experience Of University Students: A Design Experiment, Ofer Marmur, Boris Koichu Jan 2016

Surprise And The Aesthetic Experience Of University Students: A Design Experiment, Ofer Marmur, Boris Koichu

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

Little is known about instructional means by which the aesthetic experience of mathematics can be enhanced for undergraduate learners. This paper presents and discusses an iterative lesson design process towards creating an opportunity for students to appreciate the beauty of an unexpected solution to a challenging calculus problem. The lesson design draws on insights from both mathematics education research on aesthetics and research on aesthetic appreciation in music. The data were collected over the course of five lessons with different groups of calculus students in which the intended problem was presented in two different ways. In addition, stimulated-recall interviews were ...


Reflections On Math Students’ Circles: Two Personal Stories From Colorado, Diana White, Lori Ziegelmeier Jul 2015

Reflections On Math Students’ Circles: Two Personal Stories From Colorado, Diana White, Lori Ziegelmeier

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

Math Students’ Circles provide an opportunity for mathematicians to work in their communities to engage young students in mathematics as a human, aesthetic, and social endeavor. Sometimes referred to simply as Math Circles, these venues give mathematicians experience in introducing children to topics not typically seen in school curricula in an exciting, hands-on format. This article explores two Math Students’ Circles (MSCs) in the state of Colorado from the point of view of two pre-tenure faculty members. One participated in MSCs for four years while working on her Ph.D. in mathematics, the other started an MSC as an offshoot ...