Allysa Lumley, Centre de Recherches Mathematiques
Amenda Chow, York University
Pam Sargent, York University
Learning Math Through Experimentation and Exploration
The dictionary definition of experimentation is the process of performing scientific procedure, especially in a laboratory, to determine something. Exploration is defined as the action of traveling in or through an unfamiliar area in order to learn about it. This session looks at exploration and experimentation through the lens of mathematics.
Exploration and experimentation are examples of experiential learning. Students receive an indelible educational experience when exposed to experiential learning. Because of the perceived nature of mathematics there can sometimes be a lack of experiential learning in a mathematics education, especially when compared to other STEM disciplines like biology, and engineering that often have laboratory components, field work and internship placements.
The purpose of this session will be to help add more experiential learning through exploration and experimentation into the mathematics curriculum. This session is an opportunity to connect educators from all career levels and at both the post-secondary and high school level who have a desire to support experiential learning in the form of experimentation and exploration in their math courses and classrooms.
Xinli Wang, University of Manitoba
Ungrading and alternative assessments: shifting from grades to learning
Assessments have always been an important part of course design in higher education and K12 education. We rely on assessments to find out what students are learning, to communicate what is important to learn, to guide students’ learning journey, and to measure whether students have mastered the concepts and skills that are taught in a certain course. Traditionally, students take summative assessments: quizzes, term tests, mid-term and final exams and are assigned numerical grades after taking such assessments, and those numbers ultimately translate to a letter on their transcript. However, grades undermine interest and foster fear of failure. Students are also tempted to study or work for the grade rather than for learning. Grades have become a huge contributor to students’ stress and mental health problems. Grading is a system that is designed to categorize certain students as smarter than others, and is prone to cultural, racial, and societal biases.
In this session, we will share our experiences with alternatives methods of assessment designed to communicate with students about their learning. The topics in this session include mastery-based grading, contract grading, using portfolios, group exams etc. When we design our course assessments, we have a common goal in mind: to foster growth mindset and encourage students to focus on their learning, instead of grades.
Danielle Cox, Associate Professor MSVU
Rebecca McKay, Associate Teaching Professor UNB Saint John
Karyn McLellan, Assistant Professor MSVU (early career)
Asmita Sodhi, Dalhousie University
Bridging the Gap & Supporting Students: Transition from High School to University Mathematics
Whether in pre-pandemic, pandemic or post-pandemic times the transition from high school mathematics to university level mathematics can be a struggle for students. In this session we will explore topics that may include, but are not limited to: What does this transition look like in various regions of the country? How do we bridge the knowledge gap? What would we like to see emphasized in high school math courses? How should students prepare for university? What should we be teaching in first year? How do we best support students? What should we be mindful of when teaching math to first generation university students? To international students? To other underrepresented groups?
Andrijana Burazin, University of Toronto Mississauga
Miroslav Lovric, McMaster University
To OER or not to OER – that is the question
UNESCO defines Open Educational Resources (OER) as “teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-‐cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions.”
This session has two goals: (i) to enable participants to discuss their experience with creating and/or using OERs, as well as to share information about where they look for OERs (there is no single repository, nor a site that would offer access or information for many OERs); (ii) to critically, and possibly with evidence, examine the place of OERs in mathematics instruction. What are good (also inappropriate) ways of using OERs in the classroom? Could OERs possibly replace in-‐person instruction? If so, at what cost, pedagogical and otherwise?
Anton Mosunov, University of Waterloo
Kseniya Garaschuk, University of the Fraser Valley
Mathematics instructors rarely have to be convinced that the subject they teach is important, but getting this point across to students is often a challenging task. In this session, we aim to bring together first-year mathematics instructors to share authentic applications from their courses to enhance the curriculum in various service courses (life sciences, business, computer science, etc). Apart from giving a presentation, each speaker will prepare a short document describing their applications, and all the documents will be compiled and published on the First-Year Math & Stats in Canada website (firstyearmath.ca).