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Other Mathematical Sessions

MAA Prize Session

Friday, August 3, 8:30 a.m. – 9:10 a.m., Plaza Ballroom A, B, & C, Plaza Building


The session is organized by MAA Secretary James Sellers, Penn State University, and is moderated by MAA President Deanna Haunsperger, Carleton College.


MAA Section Officers Meeting

Thursday, August 3, 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., Plaza Ballroom A, B, & C, Plaza Building


This session is moderated by Lisa Marano, West Chster University, Chair of the MAA Committee on Sections. It is open to all section officers and their guests.


The President’s Membership Jubilee

Thursday, August 2, 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m., Grand Ballroom I, Tower Building


An evening of musical performances by members celebrating members of the Mathematical Association of America. This event is free and open to all MAA MathFest attendees. All MAA members, new and those celebrating their 25th and 50th anniversaries are encouraged to attend.


Alder Award Session

Friday, August 3, 2:30 p.m. – 3:50 p.m., Plaza Ballroom, A, B, & C, Plaza Building


The MAA established the Henry L. Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Beginning College or University Mathematics Faculty Member to honor beginning college or university faculty members whose teaching has been extraordinarily successful and whose effectiveness in teaching undergraduate mathematics is shown to have influence beyond their own classrooms. Each year, at most three college or university teachers are honored with this national award. The awardees are invited to make a presentation in this session. The session is moderated by MAA President Deanna Haunsperger.


Creativity Amidst Adversity

2:30 p.m. – 2:50 p.m.
Mohamed Omar, Harvey Mudd College


In times of personal struggle, it is very difficult to think about our work, and we often struggle with the question "How do I move forward?" This talk explores the various ways in which I have coped, managed, and even shined as a life-long student of mathematics amidst my emotional and physical adversities. Two major themes will emerge. One is how my limitations forced me to be creative in the classroom, and how fruitful that was for my growth as a teacher. Another is my renewed perspective on students' struggles in mathematics.


Way to Fail!

3:00 p.m. – 3:20 p.m.
David Clark, Grand Valley State University,


Struggling and failing is part of learning -- "productive failure". We know this. We say this to students. Do we really walk this walk when we teach? If our goal is to get students actively engaged in their own learning, we have to be ready for them to struggle and even fail when they encounter new ideas. To help students learn from this, we must build meaningful support for productive failure into our classes from the ground up. I'll share some ways that I (try to) encourage my students to struggle, fail, and then learn from it -- not just superficially, but as key parts of their learning experiences. I'll emphasize this by talking about some ways that I've failed myself, and still lived to talk about it.


Mathematics by Design

3:30 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.
Chad Awtrey, Elon University


Mathematics programs "should be designed so that all students come to see mathematics as an engaging field, rich in beauty, with powerful applications to other subjects and contemporary open questions." This is my favorite line from the 2015 Curriculum Guide to Majors in the Mathematical Sciences, which is itself a project of MAA's Committee on the Undergraduate Program in Mathematics (CUPM). But how can we accomplish such a design? What can be done at the programatic level? at the course level? on a daily basis? In this talk, I will discuss a possible framework for answering such questions, called "backward design". Along the way, we will explore (1) findings from the National Research Council concerning how people learn; (2) why and how to implement active learning strategies; and (3) how to use the cognitive and content goals listed in the CUPM's Curriculum Guide as a starting point.


MAA Business Meeting

Saturday, August 4, 1:00 p.m. – 1:20 p.m., Plaza Ballroom D, Plaza Building


The meeting is organized by MAA Secretary James Sellers, Penn State University, and is chaired by MAA President Deanna Haunsperger, Carleton College.


Uniform Convergence: A One-Woman Play

Friday, August 3, 8:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m., Plaza Ballroom F, Plaza Building


Uniform Convergence is a one-woman play, written and performed by mathematics graduate student Corrine Yap. It juxtaposes the stories of two women trying to find their place in a white male-dominated academic world. The first is of historical Russian mathematician Sofia Kovalevskaya, who was lauded as a pioneer for women in science but only after years of struggle for recognition. Her life's journey is told through music and movement, in both Russian and English. The second is of a fictional Asian-American woman, known only as "Professor," attempting to cope with the prejudice she faces in the present. As she teaches an introductory real analysis class, she uses mathematical concepts to draw parallels to the race and gender conflicts she encounters in society today.


Graduate Student Paper Session

Great Talks for a General Audience: Coached Presentations by Graduate Students

Saturday, August 4, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Governor's Square 9 & 10, Plaza Building


In this session graduate students give talks aimed at an undergraduate audience. Both the talks and abstracts should be designed to excite a wide range of undergraduates about mathematics.

Jim H. Freeman, Cornell College
May Mei, Denison University
Ranjan Rohatgi, Saint Mary's College
Aliza Steurer, Dominican University

Sponsor: MAA Committee on Graduate Students


Math Teachers' Circle Demonstration

Saturday, August 4, 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., Majestic Ballroom, Tower Building


A Math Teachers' Circle is a professional development experience that brings mathematics professionals in direct contact with teachers. Circles foster passion and excitement for deep mathematics and give teachers a chance to connect with like-minded colleagues. This demonstration session offers the opportunity for conference attendees to observe and then discuss a Math Teachers' Circle experience designed for local teachers. While the teachers are engaged in a mathematical investigation, mathematicians will have a discussion focused on appreciating and better understanding the organic and creative process of learning that circles offer, and on the logistics and dynamics of running an effective circle.

Laura Janssen and Tom Clark, Dordt College

Sponsor: The SIGMAA for Math Circles for Students and Teachers (SIGMAA-MCST)


Special Interactive Presentation for High School Students, Parents, and Teachers


Saturday, August 4, 1:30 p.m. – 2:20 p.m., Majestic Ballroom, Tower Building


If you open up a map of the US while standing in the US, might there be a point on the paper sitting precisely at the location it represents? If you stir your (mathematically ideal) cup of coffee in the morning, does every point of liquid change location? If you crumple a piece of paper, does every point on it move?

Let’s play games with triangles to discover the freaky existence of fixed points!

Leader: James Tanton, Mathematical Association of America
Organizer: Elgin Johnston, Iowa State University

Sponsor: MAA Council on Outreach


MATH Rumble

Saturday, August 4, 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., Majestic Ballroom, Tower Building


The Math Rumble involves teachers in a Mathematical Creativity Contest including mathematical and pedagogical questions. The intention of the Math Rumble demonstration at Math Fest is to share a fun mathematical contest format with those who lead Math Teachers' Circles and similar activities.

Ed Keppelmann, University of Nevada Reno
Phil Yasskin, Texas A&M University
Paul Zeitz, University of San Francisco

Sponsor: The SIGMAA for Math Circles for Students and Teachers (SIGMAA-MCST)


Creating New Mathematical Futures: A Study of Gender Equity in Mathematics Competitions

Saturday, August 4, 1:30 p.m. - 2:20 p.m., Grand Ballroom I, Tower Building


MCM/ICM is an alternative to traditional mathematics competitions and has achieved very different results, with an impressive 42% of participants being women. This progress toward gender equity prompted a research study examining the features of the environment that contribute to the participation of women. Researchers highlight the opportunities that MCM/ICM affords women to experience mathematics in different and powerful ways.

Jo Boaler, Stanford University
Sol Garfunkel, Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications (COMAP)