MESA Undergraduate Speaker Series: Dean Stevenson

On Tuesday, January 31st, Dean Stevenson (current PhD student in Mathematics Education at UGA) gave his talk titled:

A, B, C, D, and F: Meaningful Grades or Random Letters?

To watch the talk, please go here! If you have comments, questions, or would like a copy of the slides from the presentation, please contact Dean directly.

“Johnny is failing my class. He would have an ‘A’ but he won’t do his homework. He gets an ‘A’ on every test, he just won’t do what I ask him to do.”
-High School History Teacher, 2013, Parent/Teacher Conference

Based on this quote, what grade do you think Johnny deserves? An “F”? An “A”? Something in between? Contemplating the answer to this and similar questions is the premise of this professional development session. By attending, it is my hope that you will critically reflect on the way you approach both assessment (how you determine what a student knows) and grading (how you communicate what a student knows). The presentation will include several activities, a handful of thought provoking questions, and a brief outline of Standards-Based Grading.

Dean Stevenson is a former high school mathematics teacher in Virginia and was part of a team that lead professional development sessions on assessment practices. Dean is hoping to incorporate Standards-Based Grading (SBG) into his research while at UGA to see how SBG impacts both teachers and students.

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Colloquium Announcement: Dr. Michael Oehrtman

We are excited to announce that Dr. Michael Oehrtman from Oklahoma State University will be visiting next week and giving a colloquium!

When: Tuesday, January 31st 4pm
Where: Aderhold Room 229
What: The talk title and abstract will to be sent later this week

Dr. Oehrtman is also available to talk with students and faculty outside of the scheduled colloquium. Please send us an email to let us know if you would like to join Dr. Oehrtman for lunch, dinner, or discussion outside of the scheduled event.

We look forward to seeing you next week.

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Colloquium Announcement: Dr. Jeffrey M. Rabin

Monday, January 9th, 4pm Room 229, Aderhold Hall

Double negative: Two classroom episodes, two analytic frameworks, and two pedagogical recommendations concerning negative number operations


The teaching and learning of negative integer operations brings into play many important issues in mathematics education. These include the generalization and revision of prior knowledge about natural numbers, the teaching of material that is conventional rather than provable, the use of patterns as a form of justification, and the acceptance of “numbers” whose mathematical reality stems from an axiomatic system rather than a concrete physical model. Anna Sfard has written that “learning about negative numbers involves a transition to a new, incommensurable discourse.”

I will present a tenth-grade classroom episode introducing negative integer exponents, analyzing the teacher’s strategies and the students’ reactions in the framework of the Necessity Principle of Harel’s DNR system, which states: In order for students to learn what we intend to teach them, they must have a need for it, where “need” means intellectual need, not social or economic need. This will be compared and contrasted with a similar episode on negative integer multiplication analyzed by Sfard in terms of her own “commognitive” framework. I will suggest reasons why pattern-based justifications may not address students’ intellectual needs, and alternative pedagogical strategies for promoting student reasoning about new mathematical conventions.

The talk is based on joint work with Evan Fuller and Guershon Harel.




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Principals’ Panel – Tuesday, January 10th at 6:30PM

You are cordially invited to what promises to be one of the best events of the year: The Principals’ Panel. The event will be on Tuesday, January 10th, at 6:30PM in Aderhold Hall (Room 229). Here is information on what to expect:

A panel of principals (secondary and middle grades) will be in Aderhold Hall to take questions about their perspectives on a variety of issues, including the culture of their particular school, what is expected from mathematics and science teachers, and what the school expectations are regarding teacher collaboration and professional development, to name a few. Additionally, those who attend will have the opportunity to ask questions and will have some time to meet individually with the panel participants.

Current attendees include:

Philip Brown, Ph.D., Principal – North Oconee High School
Al Darby, Ph.D., Principal – Winder-Barrow High School
Ted MacMillan, Principal – Clarke Middle School
Melanie H. Sigler, Principal – Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School
M. Marie Yuran, Principal – Clarke Central High School

We hope to have an additional two principals present with at least one from Barrow County. This promises to be a great event so we hope to see you there!

The link to the Facebook event can be found here.

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Colloquium Announcement: Dr. Rochelle Gutiérrez

Please join us for a colloquium with Dr. Rochelle Gutiérrez on Tuesday, October 25th 11:15am–12:15pm in Aderhold Hall Room 520.

Rehumanizing Mathematics: Should That Be Our Goal?

Mathematics has always been a human endeavor, a way in which we make sense of the world around us and come to appreciate its beauty and our interconnectedness with others, including humans, plants, animals, rocks, and other living beings.  But, school mathematics often presents a different view of this activity and our efforts to get students to do mathematics can be viewed as dehumanizing.  In this talk, I will discuss the subtle (and not so subtle) ways in which mathematics teachers, parents, learners, and researchers can be complicit with dehumanizing practices.  I will also share some of the ways we can heal through reimagining mathematics with an alternate vision.

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Dr. Elise Lockwood – Colloquium

This past Thursday, September 8, 2016, we had the pleasure of hosting Dr. Elise Lockwood from Oregon State University for our first fall colloquium! The video of her talk can be found here. Details on Dr. Lockwood’s talk are below.

Dr. Elise Lockwood introducing her colloquium on September 8, 2016Dr. Elise Lockwood giving the introduction to her fantastic talk
to UGA students and faculty

Investigating Students’ Generalizing Activity: Two Contrasting Cases from and Undergraduate Combinatorial Context

Dr. Elise Lockwood provides two contrasting cases of students who solved a series of combinatorial tasks that were designed to facilitate generalizing activity. In these cases, each student generated what externally appeared to be the same representation – a general outcome structure that both students spontaneously developed. However, upon further examination, the ways in which the two students’ understood and subsequently used the general representation differed significantly. Lockwood seeks to explain these differences by identifying two types of relating that emerged in the study, and by connecting this relating to Piaget’s notion of reflective abstraction. By comparing and contrasting these students, we gain insight into the kinds of activity that promote both efficacious generalization and robust combinatorial reasoning. Lockwood concludes with implications and directions for further research.


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Begles Potluck

Thanks to Dr. Jim Wilson and his lovely wife for opening the doors of their home to host our first Begles gathering this year. If you have a favorite dish you would like to share, please bring it, and together we will create a memorable evening. To RSVP, please sign up on this google sheet! If you are not bringing a dish, that is okay, just leave that part blank! Please spread the word to other MESA members and Mathematics Education faculty, staff, and students.

We hope to see you there!

Mathematics Education Students & Faculty, as well as family and friends

Friday, September 23, 2016
5:30 – 8:30 pm

290 Hampton Ct, Athens, GA
(Dr. Jim Wilson’s house)

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Welcome Back!

This is Dean Stevenson, the President of MESA for the 2016-2017 school year. On behalf of MESA, welcome back to UGA this fall! We hope you are ready for some great speakers and events that MESA will be hosting this year! Please browse the pages above for important dates and information.

We are currently selling memberships for both new members and those looking to renew memberships from now until August 26th (next Friday). The price is $10 for undergraduates and $15 for all others! Take a look at our “Membership” page for more information and to sign up!

On Saturday, August 20th, we will be hosting our bi-annual Faculty vs. Student Kickball game at Sandy Creek Park. The festivities start at 9AM and all are welcome (MESA and non-MESA members alike). Take a look at the “Calendar” page to get the details! We hope to see you there!

We hope to have links to last year’s colloquia talks on our website soon! In the mean time, our YouTube channel should have most, if not all, of those talks!

If you have any questions, you can contact any MESA officer by using the “Contact” page! Have a great week!

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Dr. Goldin Colloquium resources

Hi all!

We’d like to thank everyone who attended Dr. Gerald Goldin’s colloquium earlier this week. He would like to thank everyone who came. He has also provided resources that might be of interest if you are interested in his line of research. We will upload the video as soon as we can.

Goldin 2014 Perspectives on Emotion proofs for Pekrun & Linnenbrink, Intl-Handbook

Goldin Epstein Schorr Warner 2011 ZDM 43(4) 547-560

Goldin 2003 Developing Complex Understandings

Goldin 2002 Meta-Affect and Belief Structures

DeBellis Goldin 2006 Affect and Meta Affect

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Dr. Gerald Goldin Colloquium Announcement

We are happy to have our second colloquium with Dr. Gerald Goldin from Rutgers University. Here are the details of his colloquium:

Goldin Banner

Some Perspectives on Affect and Engagement in Mathematics Teaching and Learning

Monday, October 5, 2015; 12:00NN-1:00PM, Aderhold 116

The affective domain is receiving increased attention as researchers focus on obstacles and affordances of student engagement with mathematics. In this talk, I shall discuss some important affective constructs which relate directly to mathematical teaching and learning.  Among the ideas considered are the importance and function of emotional feelings during mathematical activity, the idea that information important to learning is encoded affectively (interactions with cognition), the essential and transformative role of meta-affect (affect about affect, affect about cognition about affect, and the monitoring and regulation of affect), beliefs about mathematics and self-efficacy beliefs, students’ (longer-term) motivational orientations, various “in the moment” motivating desires that can foster (or inhibit) students’ mathematical engagement, and several proposed “engagement structures.” Some broader implications are suggested for mathematics teacher preparation, for our own teaching, and for the wider mathematics community.

Light refreshments will be served.

Meet and Greet with Graduate Students for Lunch on October 5

Please email if you would like to go to the Meet and Greet.

If you have any questions, feel free to email us.

We hope to see you there!

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