Mathematics and Teaching Conference


UCLA Curtis Center Mathematics and Teaching Conference:
March 4, 2017

We enthusiastically invite you to attend the 10th anniversary of the UCLA Mathematics Department's Philip C. Curtis Jr. Center for Mathematics and Teaching Conference! The 2017 conference will include sessions that:

  • Deepen your knowledge of the math you teach
  • Provide take home standards aligned lessons
  • Teach current research and recommendations for K-12 mathematics

Plenary Speakers

Dr. Phil Daro, co-author of the CCSS-M

Past, Present and Future Tense
Abstract: Instruction based on standards implies all students learn common standards. Furthermore, it is commonly believed that the high expectations defined by the standards require teaching all students “on” grade level. Yet the reality teachers face everyday is this: students come to each lesson with great differences in prior knowledge and readiness for grade level mathematics. The tension between the present lesson and the past learning is made much worse than it needs to be by long standing bad habits built in to the traditional mathematics curriculum and pedagogy. Surprisingly, these bad habits are not present in American teaching of other subjects (the U.S. does much better in other subjects on international comparisons). These problems are deeply related to the incoherence of the mathematics curriculum. We can make the tension between past and present much more manageable by improving coherence which requires paying attention to future mathematics. The talks will give examples and illustrate how this works.

Cathy Humphreys, Stanford-UCLA Early Mathematics Coaching Project

Letting Go: Cultivating Agency and Authority in the Mathematics Classroom
Abstract: In this session I share what I learned from my dissertation study of two high school teachers who were learning to enact Number Talks. I wanted to understand what teachers found most challenging and how coaching supported their learning. In examining the videos, however, I noticed that agency and authority in one of the classes grew considerably. My results in searching for "Why?" were interesting, and I hope they will be useful to teachers and teacher leaders alike.

Breakout Session Speakers

Fractions on the Number Line

Michael Nakamaye

University of New Mexico Math Professor

Abstract: In early elementary grades, fractions are always a quantity, that is some number of equal parts of an explicit whole. In later elementary grades, fractions are often treated and manipulated as abstract numbers. A key transition point for this progression occurs in the third grade when the number line model for fractions is introduced (3.NF.A.2). We will examine this progression of ideas in detail, by working through explicit problems, with a special focus on third grade where the important transition from concrete quantity to abstract number begins.

Evaluating Effective PD: STEM Models

Mikala Rahn

Public Works CEO

Andrew Thomas

Learning Works Charter School

Abstract: After 10 years of evaluating local partnerships through the California Mathematics and Science Partnership program, Public Works (PW) will highlight findings related to coaching, lesson study and other professional development strategies. Learn about innovative PD models and how to evaluate them. In addition, PW will describe the methodology for the statewide matched control/treatment study and its findings.

Tasks, Tools, and Talk to Support Elementary Students to Construct Viable Arguments

Jody Guarino

University of California, Irvine School of Education Lecturer

Abstract: Wondering how to support your students to construct viable arguments? In this session we will examine tasks, tools, and talk to engage students in CCSS Math Practice 3. Examples will be shared from primary classrooms.

Playing with Units: From Kindergarten to Fractions

Georgia Wood

Berkeley Unified School District New Teacher Induction Coordinator

Abstract: We will play math together to deepen your own content knowledge around the base ten system and fractions. Come explore how the primary grade experiences with units and the base ten system can connect with the upper elementary math concepts of fractions and decimals. This will be hands-on, game filled session designed for elementary school teachers.

Where’s the Math? Using Claims Data to Improve Math Instruction

Julie McGough

Azusa Unified School District Math Specialist

Abstract: We will explore data from district Smarter Balanced style math tasks and how teachers can use Claims results to improve mathematics instruction. Grades 2-5. Sample tasks will be shared.

Hands-on Geometry: Investigate, Conjecture, Prove

Michelle Sidwell UCLA Curtis Center Director of Special Projects

Abstract: We’ll use Magformers magnetic construction toys to investigate questions about honeycomb, kitchen floors, Platonic solids, and planets. We’ll formalize our observations into conjectures and then address high school algebra, geometry, and functions standards as we try to show our conjectures are true.

Learning Through Exploration Using the Diagnostic Teaching Model

Sunny Chin-Look

Alhambra Unified School District Math Specialist

Abstract: Through classroom video clips and model lessons, participants will see how the Diagnostic Teaching Model is helping teachers in a district shift from teaching concepts and skills to facilitating conceptualization through exploration. Participants will receive lesson planning templates and a quick guide for implementing this model.

Strategies for Integer Understanding, Meaning, Fluency and Fun

Bruce Grip

Claremont Graduate University Field Faculty Advisor

Abstract: Use games, patterns, the number line and real-world contexts instead of memorizing meaningless rules.

Pedagogy for Coherence Between Whole Number and Fraction Addition, Subtraction, and Multiplication

Robin Ramos

The Ramos Group Director

Abstract: This session empowers K-5 educators with research based pedagogical strategies for teaching one arithmetic for whole number and fractional units. Participants see the coherence between whole number addition, subtraction, and multiplication and the same operations with fractions. Pedagogical tools such as the number bond, unit form, place value models, area models, and tape diagrams will be included.

Randomness Doesn’t Mean Chaos in the Classroom

Chris Anderson

University of California, Los Angeles Math Professor

Abstract: As a continuation of talks concerning the use of computational mathematics in K-12 education, I'll be discussing the what, why, and how of random number generators. I'll give several examples of using random number generators; examples of their use in student assignments and projects as well as their use by instructors to help bring a bit more order to the creative chaos in the classroom.

Making Math Accessible to Struggling Students

Caline Khavarani Smith

Independent Consultant

Abstract: Students who struggle with math often do so – not because they are “bad at math” or “don’t care” – but because the content presents an inaccessible subject (e.g., the birdie’s flight path in a game of badminton) or assumes the student’s foundational math skills are more developed than they actually are (e.g., she can easily divide fractions). This session will provide strategies on overcoming both obstacles by focusing on how to modify lessons to make them more relevant to your students and create entry points to the math while maintaining rigor.

A Pedagogical Approach to Fraction Division and Systems of Equations with the Tape Diagram

Robin Ramos

The Ramos Group Director

Abstract: This session for middle school educators and/or coaches illuminates research-based pedagogical choices that bind students to a deep understanding of, skill with, and love for mathematics. Participants will be empowered to use the tape diagram 1) to teach fraction division meaningfully and bridge effectively from the visual representation of the tape diagram to "invert and multiply." 2) to teach word problems involving systems of equations and bridge effectively from the tape to the algebra. 

It’s Free! Online Diagnostic Testing (MDTP) and Results

Kimberly Samaniego UC/CSU Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Project Director

Ann Trescott UC/CSU Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Project State Coordinator Outreach & Support

Abstract: Explore the power and convenience of our new free online testing platform which allows anytime access to all MDTP tests and instant student results. In this session, you will learn how to set up your district, schools, teachers, and classes, proctor MDTP tests, and access/evaluate your students’ results. Exciting features include real-time results, analyses by topics and items, and individual student responses. Learn how to drill down to follow student thinking and see examples of how dynamic data can be used to facilitate formative teacher thinking around lesson and program design. Bring your laptops and your class rosters to this hands-on workshop and get set up on the spot! And don’t forget, it’s free!

Intellectual Need: The Case of Complex Numbers

Guershon Harel

University of California, San Diego Math Professor

Abstract: The talk is about a unit structured around a sequence of perturbation-resolution pairs progressing along a path that roughly parallels the development of complex numbers in the history of mathematics. The results from three teaching experiments demonstrate ways of thinking afforded and targeted by the unit; they include standards for mathematical practices outlined by the Common Core State Standards.

Using Mathematical Models to Understand our Ancestry

Marcus Roper

University of California, Los Angeles Math Professor

Abstract: To understand the amazing diversity of life on Earth, we must understand evolution. But evolution takes place over lifetimes, making it very difficult to see it in action. Accordingly, much of what we know about evolution comes from mathematical models. Assuming no biology background, I will describe some of these models, and their surprising predictions, focusing on models that can be explained and studied in the high school classroom. In particular, I will show how spreadsheet simulations and some ideas from probability theory can be used to study genetic drift -- the process by small populations become more and more closely related over time. A surprising consequence of this theory is that we are all much more closely related than anyone previously imagined.

Some Basic Mathematics for Introductory Statistics

John Sarli UC/CSU Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Project Workgroup Chair

Wallace Etterbeek California State University, Sacramento Math Professor Emeritus

Abstract: Statistics is a science, and there are many opinions on what level of mathematics is required to study it. We will present some problems from introductory statistics that require more mathematics than would suffice for basic data analysis.

Conquering the Circle: Central Angles, Chords, Sectors

Monique Evans & Amy Johnson

Environmental Charter High School Math Educators

Abstract: Do you find that your students struggle with the various circle theorems? In this workshop, participants will experience activities that provide variety and context for helping students understand and remember circle theorems.

Mathematical Modeling: Expectations of Students and Strategies for Teachers

Christopher Ograin University of California, Santa Barbara Security of Employment Lecturer

Kathryn Mendenhall University of California, Santa Barbara Credential Candidate

Abstract: Modeling is one of six conceptual categories for high school mathematics in the California Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The study of modeling is important in that it enables students to think mathematically about the world outside of their classroom. The expectation for rigor in modeling is such that traditional word problems will not suffice to meet the goals we have for our students. We will present some examples of mathematical modeling problems, talk about what we expect of our students while solving such problems, and discuss some teacher strategies that will enhance the experience of students.

Coaches, Are You Really Listening?

Bruce Grip

Claremont Graduate University Field Faculty Advisor

Abstract: Let’s look at two powerful perspectives with practical tools for connecting with, and meeting the needs of, your teachers (and students). The presenter taught peer counseling to students, taught mathematics for thirty years, supported new teachers for seven years and now is a part time field advisor for new teacher candidates.

Justification and Proof in K-12 Mathematics

Jeffrey Rabin

University of California, San Diego Math Professor

Abstract: What kinds of justification of mathematical claims should be presented to, and expected from, students at the K-12 levels? I will discuss three varieties of justification: showing THAT a claim is true, showing WHY it is true, and showing WHAT it is important for. I will give examples of numerical patterns that are simply “coincidental” and do not justify general claims.

Collaborating for Better STEM Education

Michelle Sidwell UCLA Curtis Center Director of Special Projects

Kiran Gill Glendale Unified School District Math Educator

Polly Jackson Glendale Unified School District Math Educator

Abstract: For the last year, Glendale Unified science and math teachers, UCLA pre-service teachers, Curtis Center K-12 mathematics specialists, and university professors from across the country have been collaborating to create inquiry based mathematics and science lessons. The collaboration is part of a CA Math Science Partnership Grant and is taking place over a specially developed online portal. In this session, a panel discusses this approach as a way to develop mathematically and pedagogically rigorous mathematics and science lessons and provide a forum for collaboration and learning between K-12 and university mathematics and science instructors.

Making Math Connections, Lessening Misunderstandings

Mary Sirody

UC/CSU Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Project UCLA Site Director

Abstract: Eliciting, analyzing, responding to student misconceptions has the power to deepen mathematical understanding and engage students in the CCSS Math Practices. In this session we’ll explore several general purpose activities you can use in your classroom immediately. These activities encourage students to make mathematical connections, confront misunderstandings, fill-in gaps, and participate in meaningful discussion. Free resources.

The conference registration fee is $150, and includes on-campus parking, continental breakfast, luncheon, two breakout sessions and two plenary talks presented by Dr. Phil Daro and Cathy Humphreys. There will be NO REFUNDS OR ON-SITE REGISTRATION. Substitutions will be allowed.

We believe the day will be thought provoking and worthwhile for any member of the mathematics education community and hope to see you there!

Registration is now closed.

Click here for the program!

What people are saying

"I want to say that the Curtis Conference this past Saturday was fantastic. This time, my entire math department attended, as well as our assistant principal who works with our department. We each chose different sessions that were of interest to us, and I suppose next week during our department PD we will be sharing out all that we've learned. Thank you so much for putting on these conferences - they are the best!"

"I just want to thank both of you once again for the outstanding experience that you provided our teachers and administrators at yesterday's Mathematics and Teaching Conference. Both the content of the sessions and the organization of the event itself were fantastic. I heard nothing but positive feedback from each and every one of our participants. I know that it is no easy task to pull together such a large event and you should really feel good about the outcome. We will certainly be looking forward to the summer sessions!"

"I always enjoy hearing current information regarding the Common Core rollout. I felt very affirmed that my school district is headed in the right direction and is on target with where we should currently be."

"We love this conference - Thank you for putting on a great event!"

"This conference is always a 'don't miss' pleasure."


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