Fresno Pacific professor shares joy of math with students during Global Math Week

By wayne.steffen on October 4, 2017 @ 5:01pm

What can you do in a week—how about exploding myths about math?

That’s the goal of Global Math Week, which starts October 10, 2017. Leading the charge locally will be Christopher Brownell, a Fresno Pacific University faculty member who will spend that day with students at Rio Vista Middle School, 6240 W. Palo Alto Ave., Fresno.

Over 750,000 K-12 students in more than 100 countries are registered to participate by doing 15 minutes of math using Exploding Dots. “This has the potential to change a child’s understanding of and competency in mathematics,” said Brownell, Ph.D., associate professor of mathematics and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education at Fresno Pacific University and outreach coordinator at AIMS Center for Math and Science Education. “It allows you to understand some of the most basic units of mathematics, and use them to investigate advanced, doctoral-level concepts,” he added.

Exploding Dots is a hands-on and visual activity that assumes little knowledge of math. Created by James Tanton, Ph.D., a former high school math teacher turned author and researcher, Exploding Dots promotes thinking, conceptual understanding and joyous doing over rote memorization. “Our complex society demands of its next generation not only mastery of quantitative skills, but also the confidence to ask new questions, explore, wonder, flail, innovate and succeed,” Tanton states on his website, G’Day Math! (gdaymath.com/courses/exploding-dots/)

Rio Vista Middle School is part of Central Unified School District. “My goals will be to encourage the students to develop a sense of play about mathematics, and a certain facility with this technique so that perhaps they can make use of it in their future,” he said.

Global Math Week is sponsored by the Global Math Project (theglobalmathproject.org/). For more information, contact Brownell at chris.brownell@fresno.edu or 559-453-2046.