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Events of 2011

Math and Technology Academy
Jan 1, 2011 – May 31, 2011
The Math and Technology Academy is a free program open to the public. Students of all ages can get help with homework, work on a guided independent study project, or try one of our hands-on math activities.
Fermi Math Circle
Jan 1, 2011 – May 20, 2011
During this Math Circle, we are working together to create and answer a wide range of Fermi Questions. This program is for students with some knowledge of algebra who have long attention spans and an interest in engaging in mathematical conversation.
School City of Mishawaka Consulting and Professional Development
Jan 1, 2011 – May 31, 2011
Working with administrators and teachers, we supported the implementation of a new math program for high-ability students in 4th through 6th grades at all seven elementary schools. We also worked with John Young Middle School teachers to examine math instruction at the middle school level.
South Bend Community School Corporation Consulting and Professional Development
Jan 1, 2011 – Jun 30, 2011
Working with administrators, curriculum leaders, and teachers, we identified ways to strengthen math instruction for students at many Title 1 Primary Centers in South Bend.
Community Research Project
Jan 2, 2011 – May 20, 2011
Each semester, we tackle a community research project and write up our results. This semester we are building a robot and creating a computer program in Java which can work together to solve a Rubik's Cube. Other groups are tackling more advanced origami or are designing Lego Mindstorm robots.
SBCSC Career and Technical Education Math Integration
Jan 4, 2011 – Jun 15, 2011
This math class for students from South Bend Community School Corporation's Culinary Arts and Radio/TV Programs was designed to strengthen math skills needed to pass tests needed to obtain dual credit. The class included weekly hands-on activities designed to show the importance of math in daily life and to improve conceptual understanding of various math concepts. In addition, after-school tutoring and mentoring was provided to those students feeling that they could benefit from extra assistance.
SIGMAA on Circles Presentations
Jan 6, 2011 – Jan 9, 2011
As an active member of the national SIGMAA on Math Circles, we participated in several sessions at the Joint Math Meetings in New Orleans as well as presenting a hands-on activity (rational tangles) to several groups of potential Math Circle leaders. Approximately 100 people participated in sessions during three different days. We also co-organized research talks for the Summer Program for Women in Mathematics reunion during the Joint Math Metings. About 50 people attended these talks.
Algebra Acrobats
Jan 16, 2011 – May 15, 2011
Around 30 5th, 6th, and 7th grade students are meeting on a weekly basis this semester to prepare for the Algebra I End of Course Assessment (ECA). This test is normally taken by high school students as a graduation requirement. Led by three instructors with support from IUSB America Counts students, the course focuses on a hands-on and conceptual approach to algebra.
Young Math Circle
Jan 18, 2011 – Mar 31, 2011
During this Math Circle, students spend part of the time tackling brain teasers and math puzzles in groups and part of the time working on a mini-project as a group. We are beginning by investigating several Fermi Questions. This program is for students with an interest in mathematics.
St. Pius Origami Night
Jan 26, 2011
Lisa Nyers at St. Pius organized a mathematical origami night for St. Pius students and parents. We presented a variety of folds including magic pinwheels, sonobe polyhedra, and PHiZZ modules for constructing buckyballs.
Science Olympiad -- Experimental Design
Feb 5, 2011
High school students competing in Science Olympiad design and carry out experiments to explore factors that would be important when figuring out how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop
HASTI Origami Session and Lessons
Feb 10, 2011
During this workshop, we fold several models that illustrate how origami relates to engineering. Afterwards, conference participants may stop by the NISMEC booth or the Mathematical Origami workshop at the Hoosier Association for Science Teachers Conference to learn to fold magic pinwheels, Sonobe polyhedra, hyperbolic paraboloids, PHiZZ polyhedra, and other origami structures.
HASTI Fermi Estimates Presentation
Feb 11, 2011
During this interactive session, we will work through many of the stages of a Fermi Estimates lab that we have been using with middle school math and science students in the South Bend / Mishawaka area. Fermi Estimates are an exciting way for students to investigate topics of interest to them. Questions that our students have chosen to investigate include "How many people in the world are talking on cell phones right now?" "If your hai was never broken or cut from the time you were born until now, how long would it be?" "How many gumballs would reach to the moon and back?" "How much energy would be saved if our city undertook a voluntary one-minute blackout? Investigating questions of this type inevitably causes students to grapple with measurement, unit conversions, creating and using algebraic formulas, creating surveys and experiments, and conducting research to obtain needed information.
Wheelock College Presentations and Consulting
Feb 22, 2011 – Feb 26, 2011
Amanda worked with four instructors at Wheelock College who teacher math to future elementary teachers to share hands-on activities and to discuss pedagogical strategies for the courses they teach. Amanda also gave a presentation on fractals and dynamical systems to a class of students.
Veritas Academy Math Night
Mar 16, 2011
Working with teachers at Veritas Academy, we organized a math night for families featuring three activities for lower elementary students and three activities for upper elementary students. Lower elementary students played the Sum To 10 Dash, played the Back to Back game, and made Quilt Fraction designs. Upper elementary students used Polydrons to explore the face vectors of families of polyhedra, played an adding strategy game, and made fraction/decimal/percent grid designs.
Circle on the Road
Mar 18, 2011 – Mar 20, 2011
We participated in "Circle on the Road", a national Math Circle conference organized by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Houston, Texas. The event included a Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival. Amanda led an activity to figure out how many kernels of popcorn it would take to fill a classroom. The other two days featured presentations by Math Circle leaders from around the country as well as opportunities to network. Amanda served on a panel about diverse approaches to Math Circles.
EPaDel Meeting
Apr 2, 2011
Amanda served as an invited speaker during the EPaDel section of the MAA's spring meeting in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She spoke with Project NEXT faculty about math outreach possibilities and gave the concluding invited talk on mathematical origami.
One Book, One Michiana: Killer Angels
Apr 13, 2011 – May 7, 2011
The St. Joseph County Public Library organized a month of activities relating to the book Killer Angels about the Civil War. As part of the festivities, Andrea Vollrath presented an awesome activity about the physics and math of projectiles at several library branches and community events.
Notre Dame Science Class Presentation
May 3, 2011
We engaged 70 Notre Dame freshmen in the "Global Air Conditioners" activity, during which they estimated the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by a tree over its lifetime. Participants learned about the carbon cycle, a method for indirect measurement of tree heights, and some basic unit conversion concepts.
South Bend Community School Corporation Consulting and Professional Development
May 23, 2011 – Jun 6, 2011
During May and June, Leslie Wesley visited several classes at each of five intermediate centers in South Bend to lead a financial literacy program.
Fermi Math Circle
Jun 2, 2011 – Aug 13, 2011
During this weekly Math Circle, we learned about many ways mathematics is used to model the real world. After participating in mini-modeling experiences, students chose their own topics and created mathematical models to investigate them. Topics included modeling how traffic flow is impacted by stop lights, the relationship between baking soda and amount of rise in cookies, the impact of social welfare programs on the economy of Venezuela, stability of trees during storms, pet ownership, contrasting credit card incentive programs, and the impact of business tax rates on Indiana's overall tax revenue (business and income taxes combined). This program was for students with some knowledge of algebra who have long attention spans and an interest in engaging in mathematical conversation.
Math and Technology Academy
Jun 9, 2011 – Aug 31, 2011
The Math and Technology Academy is a free program open to the public. Students of all ages can get help with homework, work on a guided independent study project, or try one of our hands-on math activities.
South Bend Community School Corporation Consulting and Professional Development
Jun 15, 2011 – Aug 31, 2011
Working with administrators, curriculum leaders, and teachers, we identified ways to strengthen math instruction for students at many schools in South Bend. We also led many hands-on math workshops for primary and intermediate center teachers.
Notre Dame Research Experience For Teachers
Jun 20, 2011 – Aug 22, 2011
During late June and all of July, we partnered with the University of Notre Dame to offer a Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program in mathematical modeling. The overall purpose of the course was to introduce math teachers to a range of mathematical models, and to examine modeling requirements in the new Common Core State Standards for high school mathematics. After exploring a range of types of mathematical models, teachers worked in groups to create their own models on a topic of their choice. The course included 20 three-hour sessions, seven lunch presentations and discussion sessions with participants from other disciplines, and creating presentations for the RET@ND Symposium.
Math Circle Teacher Training Institute
Jul 10, 2011 – Jul 16, 2011
About 25 mathematicians, teachers, and other math enthusiasts from around the country paticipated in this week-long institute at Notre Dame led by Bob and Ellen Kaplan with assistance from Amanda Serenevy and Leo Goldmakher. Participants experienced Math Circles as students, shared ideas for starting Math Circles, led Math Circles for children, and delved into a number of engaging mathematical questions.
NDeRC Project Learning Tree Environmental Science Math Workshop
Jul 21, 2011
We led a half-day session for K-12 teachers on math connections in environmental science during a week-long professional development workshop organized by NDeRC (Notre Dame Extended Research Community). Activities included the "Global Air Conditioners" activity (exploring the carbon cycle and calculating the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by a particular tree over its lifetime), and the "Owls and Voles" activity (modeling predator-prey interactions between owls and voles).
SIGMAA on Circles Presentations
Aug 4, 2011 – Aug 6, 2011
As an active member of the national SIGMAA on Math Circles, we participated in several sessions at Math Fest in Lexington, Kentucky. Approximately 50 people participated on each of the three days.
Veritas Academy Consulting and Professional Development
Aug 15, 2011 – Dec 31, 2011
During this semester, we provided math professional development for Veritas Academy teachers. In August, we presented three half-day math workshops to introduce the new Common Core Standards and to share conceptual approaches to a variety of topics. During the semester, we provided weekly consultations and classroom demonstrations for K-8 teachers.
United Way Latino Task Force Consulting
Aug 23, 2011
Amanda Serenevy met with members of the Latino Task Force of the United Way Education Committee to share details about our outreach programs and issues relating to math education in our community.
Art Beat
Aug 27, 2011
Drop by our booth to learn to fold a Sonobe polyhedron or a Magic Pinwheel.
SBCSC Career and Technical Education Math Integration
Aug 30, 2011 – Dec 31, 2011
On a weekly basis, we offered math support for students in South Bend Community School Corporation's Culinary Arts, Radio/TV, and Building Trades Programs. In addition to helping to strengthen algebra and other math skills needed by students, we provided weekly hands-on activities designed to show the importance of math in daily life and to improve conceptual understanding of various math concepts. In addition to this work with students, we also led quarterly full-day professional development workshops for the instructors of a wide range of Career and Technical Education courses.
Math and Technology Academy
Sep 1, 2011 – Dec 20, 2011
The Math and Technology Academy is a free program open to the public. Students of all ages can get help with homework, work on a guided independent study project, or try one of our hands-on math activities.
South Bend Community School Corporation Consulting and Professional Development
Sep 1, 2011 – Dec 31, 2011
Working with administrators, curriculum leaders, and teachers, we identified ways to strengthen math instruction for students at many schools in South Bend. We also led many hands-on math workshops for primary and intermediate center teachers.
Veritas Mathletes Program
Sep 7, 2011 – Dec 31, 2011
About 25 3rd through 8th grade students at Veritas Academy met for an hour after school twice a week with tutors from Riverbend Community Math Center to work on their math learning goals.
School City of Mishawaka Consulting and Professional Development
Sep 8, 2011 – Sep 29, 2011
Working with administrators and teachers, we supported the implementation of a new math program for high-ability students in 4th through 6th grades at all seven elementary schools. We also worked with John Young Middle School teachers to examine math instruction at the middle school level.
Fermi Math Circle
Sep 9, 2011 – Dec 16, 2011
During this Math Circle, we investigated a range of topics including the orbit stabilizer theorem, the physics of springs and falling objects, rectangle avoiding grid colorings, Cantorian set theory, and mathematical proof. We also made our own Doodle Videos in the spirit of Vi Hart.
St. Pius Origami Day
Sep 26, 2011
We introduced upper elementary students at St. Pius to mathematical origami. Students folded Magic Pinwheels and computed the sums of the angles in polygons.
Pokagon Band Math Professional Development and Activities
Sep 30, 2011 – Nov 5, 2011
During two professional development session, we explored ways to help students go beyond memorized procedures to improve their conceptual understanding. The workshop included hands-on activities supporting the development of number sense and the transition to algebraic thinking. We also brought hands-on activities for two Pokagon Band STEM family days. Activities included Chladni plates, quilt fractions, and origami polyhedra.
Celebrate Hoosier Science Festival
Oct 8, 2011
Working with Jay Brockman, Micha Kilburn, and other faculty from Notre Dame, we participated in the Celebrate Hoosier Science Festival at the Indianapolis State Fairground. We brought two hands-on activities: Lissajous Sand Pendula and Chladni Plates. In both of these activities students explored the sand designs corresponding to different frequencies and amplitudes. Students used a Matlab module to control trigonometric models of a Lissajous Sand Pendulum, and attempted to match the real pendulum as accurately as possible.
East Lansing Math Circle Visit
Oct 14, 2011 – Oct 15, 2011
Working with Ashley Ahlin, the founder of the East Lansing Math Circle, we trained 16 undergraduate students as station leaders for an upcoming Julia Robinson Festival. Station topics included Racing Dice, Owls and Voles, the Candy Sharing Game, Nim Games, Modular Arithmetic, Mobius Bands and Loop Shapes, SET, Ken-Ken, Constructing Polyhedra, and Rush Hour. On Saturday, Amanda led a hands-on investigation of the Fermi Question "What would it take to fill this room with popcorn" for a Math Circle consisting of 30 elementary students and their parents. Ashley and Amanda also met to discuss plans for expanding the East Lansing Math Circle.
Notre Dame Edison School Days
Oct 18, 2011 – Oct 19, 2011
As part of Notre Dame University's annual Edison School campus visit days, Riverbend instructor David Stair led a proportional reasoning activity involving becoming entrepreneurs of a trail mix company.