Special Events — 2017 Rocky Mountain Section Meeting

Friday Morning Workshop

Active Learning Bootcamp

In this workshop, we will share sample active learning activities and the pedagogy surrounding them. These activities were designed to engage students with the content and foster mathematical discourse. Participants will be able to have a first hand experience with a variety of activities including various forms of TACTivities and scaffolded activities. There will also be time devoted to brainstorming activities for your own courses.

Facilitator Biographies:

RaKissa Manzanares is an Assistant Professor C/T in the Department of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences at the University of Colorado Denver (UCD) where she has been a faculty member since 2007. She completed her Ph.D. in Mathematics Education at the University of Northern Colorado in 2006 and her undergraduate studies at Colorado State University - Pueblo in 1999. Dr. Manzanares' research areas focus on four primary areas: mentoring, innovative teaching, embodied cognition, and the development of attitudes and beliefs about mathematics and the learning of mathematics. In 2013, RaKissa received the Excellence in Teaching award for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, as well as the campus award for UCD. Dr. Manzanares is a co-PI for the Promoting Success in Early College Mathematics through Graduate Teacher Training (PSECM-GTT) project funded by the NSF. She is also highly involved and committed to the mathematical education of pre- and in-service teachers. RaKissa’s  interests extend beyond the classroom to empowering young people to become self-advocates and leaders in their lives and communities. She spent four years volunteering for Colorado Youth at Risk (CYAR) mentoring, coaching, and facilitating workshops designed for high school students and their mentors. RaKissa was awarded the 2011 Circle of Champions award for her continued dedication and contributions to CYAR.

Gary Olson is a Senior Instructor and the Director of Service Courses in the Department of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences at the University of Colorado Denver where he has been a faculty member since 2006. He teaches both mathematics courses for undergraduates and professional development courses for in-service teachers.  His current pedagogical interests have focused on the development and implementation of tactile active learning activities for the precalculus and calculus classroom.  He is also actively involved with the MCM and ICM mathematical modeling competition and has coached teams to the top award the last two years. In 2010 & 2015 Gary received the Excellence in Teaching award from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences as well as the campus award for Excellence in Teaching in 2015. Gary is involved in a number of graduate teacher training initiatives at CU-Denver and is a co-PI for the Promoting Success in Early College Mathematics through Graduate Teacher Training (PSECM-GTT) project funded by the NSF.

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Friday DTA Address

Making & Moving in order to Perceive, Imagine, and Mathematize

Many mathematics educators explore the cognitive development of mathematical concepts through a lens that ignores Piaget’s first stage of cognitive development – the sensorimotor stage. The theoretical lens of embodied cognition embraces the belief that learning is doing where doing entails action in the physical or virtual environment. Embodied cognition is receiving increased attention in mathematics education because of its potential to link research and practice with both in- and out-of-school activities. In this presentation I provide a brief over-view of embodied cognition and then showcase how I  move  this philosophy into my undergraduate mathematics courses. As with all theoretical perspectives, there are some challenges in trying to implement such a philosophy and I will discuss how implementing on purpose and with a purpose activities may alleviate such challenges. The audience should bring their fun-meters and be prepared to move.

Speaker Biography:

Hortensia Soto-Johnson is a professor in the School of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Northern Colorado. She has published in various areas of mathematics education including assessment, mathematical preparation of elementary teachers, outreach efforts for high school girls, and especially in the area of teaching and learning of undergraduate mathematics. Her current research efforts are dedicated to investigating the teaching and learning of complex analysis, where she adopts an embodied cognition perspective. Since her days as an undergraduate student, Hortensia has mentored young women and promoted mathematics via summer outreach programs. She frequently facilitates professional development for K-12 teachers in Colorado and has also taught teachers from rural Nebraska (where she was raised) as part of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln NSF-funded project, Math in the Middle. Hortensia is a working member of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and just finished her term as the Associate Treasurer as part of the executive committee. She is now a member-at-large of the Board of Directors. She is also a co-PI on an MAA NSF-funded project aimed at creating Instructional Practices Guide for Undergraduate Mathematics. Most importantly, she is the mom of a good-hearted young man named Miguel.

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Friday Afternoon Keynote

Math in Hollywood Movies

What's your favorite recent movie? Star Wars? Avatar? The Avengers? Frozen? What do these and all the highest earning Hollywood movies since 2000 have in common? Mathematics! You probably didn't think about it while watching these movies, but math was used to help make them. In this presentation, we will discuss how math is being used to create better and more realistic movies. Along the way we will discuss some specific movies and the mathematics behind them. Come and join us and get a better appreciation of mathematics and movies.

Speaker Biography:

Michael Dorff is the department chair and professor of mathematics at Brigham Young University. He earned his Ph.D in 1997 from the University of Kentucky in complex analysis. He is interested in undergraduate research, in non-academic careers in mathematics, and in promoting mathematics to the general public. Currently, he co-directs two NSF funded programs: PIC Math, which is a joint MAA and SIAM program that prepares undergraduate math students for careers in industry; and CURM, that supports and trains mathematics faculty to mentor undergraduate students in research. He is a former governor of the MAA Intermountain Section, a Fellow of the AMS, a Fulbright Scholar, and a recipient of a 2010 MAA Haimo Teaching Award. He is married with five daughters. In any free time he has, he enjoys travelling, reading, running, and baking (but not eating) cheesecakes.

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Friday Banquet Address

The Symmetric Group and Fair Division:  Does Knowledge Matter?

Sports drafts and divorce settlements are examples of situations where players take turns selecting indivisible goods.  Like other topics in   division, the situation is made more interesting because people may value the goods in different ways.  In this talk, we focus on the case of two players, where the machinery of permutations is surprisingly applicable.  How many possible outcomes are there?  In what circumstances do both players get their best possible outcomes?  How can one best take advantage of knowing the other's preferences?  What happens when a player's motivation switches from greed to spite, the common good, or selfless altruism?  In this colorful talk, we'll sample some applied algebraic combinatorics and address these issues along with the provocative question of the title.

Speaker Biography:

Brian Hopkins is a professor of mathematics at Saint Peter's University in Jersey City, New Jersey, and has taught game theory and  fair  division at New York University as an adjunct in the department of politics.  He is also active in teacher professional development, especially with the Institute of Advanced Study's Park City Mathematics Institute.  Research interests include combinatorial number theory, Ramsey theory on the integers, and mathematics applied to social sciences.  Hopkins is the editor of  The College Mathematics Journal,  received the 2015 Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished Teaching of Mathematics, and was a visiting scholar at Bangkok's Mahidol University International College last semester.

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Saturday Keynote

Mathematical Celebrity Look-Alikes

Who is your celebrity look alike? LeBron James? Jackie Chan? Adele? Rihanna? Vectors norms enable us to discern what celebrity looks most like a selected individual. Linear algebra allows us to explore what linear combination of celebrity photos best approximates a selected photo. Would you describe yourself as a cross between Ben Stiller and Hugh Jackman or possibly Marilyn Monroe and Jennifer Aniston? In this talk, we learn how to answer this question using linear algebra and on the way get a sense of how math aids in facial recognition.

Speaker Biography:

Dr. Tim Chartier is Vice President of the MAA and a Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at Davidson College, who specializes in sports analytics.  He frequently works on data analytics projects with groups such as ESPN's Sport Science program, NASCAR teams, the NBA, and fantasy sports sites.   He, along with a team of about two dozen student researchers, supplies analytics to Davidson College sports teams.  Dr. Chartier is a recipient of the Alder Award and his research and scholarship were recognized with an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship. He authored the book "When Life is Linear: From Computer Graphics to Bracketology,” which won the Beckenbach Book Prize as a distinguished, innovative book.  Dr. Chartier also authored "Math Bytes: Google Bombs, Chocolate-Covered Pi, and Other Cool Bits in Computing”.  Dr. Chartier serves on the Editorial Board for Math Horizons. He was the first chair of the Advisory Council for the National Museum of Mathematics.  He has also worked with Google and Pixar on their K-12 educational initiatives.  Dr. Chartier has served as a resource for a variety of media inquiries, including appearances with Bloomberg TV, NPR, the CBS Evening News, USA Today, and The New York Times.

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