Teaching Geometry with Transformations and Geogebra

Transformations play the key role in determining congruency and similarity of figures and in this course you will see how to use Geogebra to explore geometry through this lens.  Using a “transformations first” approach unifies many ideas in Euclidean Geometry and helps to tie together the coordinate and synthetic treatment of geometric topics.  This fundamental shift in emphasis is a central tenant of the Common Core Curriculum in Geometry.  Come and look at ideas from a new perspective — re-immerse yourself in geometry like you were a student — find new ways to teach topics — make symmetry have a […]

Geogebra Symmetry

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Coding and Mathematics

The Greater New Orleans area math symposium held on February 25, 2014 @ Metairie Park Country Day School was devoted to opening a dialog about coding and computer science ideas in the current curriculum.  Linda Lawrence (Country Day) led off with a power point presentation about the Hour of Code.   Jim Marsalis (St. Martins (ret)) then led a discussion of possible places that coding and programming can be put into the curriculum — you can find his materials here. I am sure that we will have some follow-up sessions to discuss this important idea in future symposia.  Our next […]


Revitalize your Teaching with a Tablet PC

Tablet laptops and the associated software are opening up new and exciting ways to study and teach. Take this course to get a glimpse of what it is like to teach with a tablet. We will take an in depth look at the organizational structure available through Microsoft OneNote, and how to synch your notes with student computers. We will also learn how to use OneNote to teach in color, draw on digital graph paper, add autoshapes, search all class notes for content, and post class notes for students to review outside of class. In addition to OneNote, there will […]

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Topics from recreational mathematics, mathemagic and more

Participants in this course will examine numerous topics from the field of recreational mathematics, including algebraic and geometrical puzzles, mathematical magic tricks, paper-folding, number theory, and mathematical chess problems. We will discuss how this material can be used with all students to enrich the high school curriculum and foster a life-long interest in mathematics. The TI-84 graphing calculator and the Geometer’s Sketchpad will be used to support our work but participants are welcome to use their preferred devices or software. This course will be led by Ron Lancaster a Senior Lecturer at the University of Toronto. He has over 20 years of experience teaching middle and […]


Labs, Activities and Projects to Enhance math courses from Algebra to Calculus

This course will look at projects, labs and activities that can be incorporated within your curriculum to move it forward and are not just enrichment. The activities help the students’ understanding and make them think about the mathematics in a new way. They can be used within a regular schedule or in schedules with extended periods. This course will be led by Karen Bryant who has taught high school mathematics for twenty-four years, eighteen of them at St. Mark’s School. She has been the department chair at St. Mark’s for twelve years. Karen has a BA in Mathematics from University of California, San Diego and […]

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Statistics, Functions and Trig-An Alternative to Precalculus

There are many students who finish Algebra II and want to take more math but are not ready to be (or don’t want to be) on the PreCalculus/Calculus track. This course will look at an alternative class for those students. We will do many of the activities from the course, which is modeled on a class designed by Nils Abel of Deerfield Academy. Topics include modeling univariate and bivariate data, function transformations, probability and statistics. This course will be led by Karen Bryant who has taught high school mathematics for twenty-four years, eighteen of them at St. Mark’s School. She […]


Intro to Geogebra and Other Free Math Tools

Technology, like many things worth arguing about, is a double-edged sword. A teacher can be forgiven for being skeptical about the litany of gadgets and software purporting to be solutions to education challenges. This course focuses on tools that have proven their worth many times over in my high school math classes. 1. Geogebra — We will explore GeoGebra for beginners/intermediate users. Geogebra is a free, dynamic math software that allows teachers/students to visualize and explore concepts quickly and easily in all math subjects from Algebra to Calculus. This course will be geared towards users with no prior experience with GeoGebra, but participants who […]

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Where Does Algebra Live in 2014

Algebra is taught at many levels to students with a wide variety of mathematical ability. How can students get a foundation in algebra that allows them to succeed throughout their mathematical careers? In this course we will explore algebra in a manner that will bring excitement and joy into our students’ lives. We will look at good problems, good technology, and some great mathematics. Bring your excitement and your joy of discovery! This course is led by Dan Butler who has taught mathematics for twenty-eight years; 9 years in middle school and 19 years in high school. In addition, he teaches an enriched and accelerated […]


Just A Bunch of Good Geometry Labs

By the time students get to precalculus, a great deal of their geometry know‐how has gone the way of the slide rule. Let’s bring some excitement back into geometry through great problems and great explorations, and rediscover how geometry really lies at the heart of mathematics. This course is led by Dan Butler who has taught mathematics for twenty-eight years; 9 years in middle school and 19 years in high school. In addition, he teaches an enriched and accelerated course for middle school students at the University of Minnesota. He has been involved in professional development workshops for the past 25 years, including ten […]

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Implementing Common Core in Grades 6 -9

The focus of the Common Core is for students to understand mathematics as opposed to following an algorithm in order to do mathematics. It is not as “revolutionary” as many would have us believe. It is a common sense approach to thinking about the mathematics. The goal is to have students develop the habit of establishing an internal dialog by reflecting on mathematical processes and concepts. During our week together we’ll explore Depth of Knowledge (DOK) levels through the use of discovery and problem solving. Teachers will be given a free digital copy of the presenter’s book, Pedagogy and Problem […]


Physics for Math Teachers

Historically, the basis for a good deal of secondary mathematics stems from the development of physics. In fact, Isaac Newton invented the calculus in order to solve problems relating to the gravitational force produced by extended bodies in space (namely, the Earth). Our focus here is very basic. Participants will gain a conceptual and mathematical understanding of the physics used in the secondary curriculum. The course is a basic physics college class with mathematics teachers in mind. No previous physics education is necessary. If you had physics a long time ago and remember little to nothing or have never had […]

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Ron Lancaster

Using max/min problems to provide students with a big picture view of mathematics

Transform optimization problems using technology and physical models into amazing opportunities for students to view mathematics as a unified subject that is dynamic, practical and artistic.  Experience a variety of topics from algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus being used to solve the same problem.  Compare solutions that are obtained when a problem is started in different ways.  Study the dynamic relationship between the solution to a max/min problem and its initial conditions.  Use color and sound to represent solutions in remarkable ways. This course is led by Ron Lancaster who is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Toronto. He […]


Introduction to Sensible Calculus – A Thematic Approach

Using the outlines presented in most texts to make sense of the material in a calculus course can be a challenge. This course will provide participants with three powerful themes for organizing calculus that connect all the major concepts, skills, and applications of calculus: modeling, approximations, and differential equations. Examples (using Winplot and GeoGebra) and exercises will allow participants to see how these themes connect all important topics covered in a one year course in calculus: differentiation, integration, infinite series, and applications. No experience with Winplot or GeoGebra is assumed. This course is led by Martin (“Flash”) Flashman who holds a […]

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Mapping Diagrams

Exploring Functions with Mapping Diagrams

Mapping diagrams provide a very illuminating tool to visualize functions that complement the more commonly used graph. This course will give a thorough treatment of the use of mapping diagrams for the study of functions. The coverage will connect to the mathematics curriculum from beginning and int. algebra through to trig and college algebra with some references to calculus. The course will provide examples with GeoGebra that illustrate the power of mapping diagrams. No experience with GeoGebra is assumed. This course will be led by Martin (“Flash”) Flashman who holds a BA, MA, and PhD in Math from Brandeis. He has […]


Using the iPad to support student learning and improve teaching practice

Examine how students can use the iPad to experience mathematics and communicate their understanding in new ways.  Consider the impact that the device can have on the teaching of mathematics and the resulting benefits for students.  Focus on apps that students can use to create multimedia explanations to mathematical problems; tinker with equations and study related patterns; document mathematics encountered outside of the classroom; create and curate mathematical questions about the world; collect data using scientific probes and participate in mathematical field trips. This course will be led by Ron Lancaster a Senior Lecturer at the University of Toronto. He has over […]

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Sratch that Itch

July of 2013 marked the beginning of an effort to help more students explore their creativity and interests in computers by learning how to program using the programming language Scratch!  Scratch was developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to help younger people develop skills at programming in a user friendly environment. To begin that effort, Andy Talmadge of Metairie Park Country Day and Jerome White of Lusher Charter School hosted a one-week summer camp called Bits and Bytes on the Bayou for students in middle school.  In our efforts we were aided by Country Day rising junior Harrison […]


Flipping for Math

Karen Norfleet (Metairie Park Country Day) and Jerome White (Lusher Charter School) have already flipped!  What’s more is that on Monday, September 23 in the Bright Library at Country Day,they let us know how they did it without getting injured! In the first of this year’s Greater New Orleans Area Math Symposia Karen and Jerome shared what they are doing to “flip” instruction in their classroom.  Flipping is a general term used to describe the idea of taking content that is usually presented in the classroom and making it available to students via the web and then using classroom time […]

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2008 MSI attendees and presenters

2014 Summer Institute (July 14-18)

Come and explore mathematical issues and ideas relevant to middle and secondary school teaching and learning in the technologically-sophisticated 21st century. Each participant chooses two “courses” that meet throughout the institute (9 hours of contact each). Institute Dates: 14 – 18 July 2014 (Monday through Friday) Courses meet for 2 hours each day Monday through Thursday, and for 1 hour on Friday Non-course sessions are offered in 45-minute format from Monday through Thursday Housing and meals are provided by Tulane University Wi-Fi connectivity provided by Tulane University Sessions are punctuated with breaks and refreshments; social outings, evening programs, and sightseeing events […]


Previous Institutes

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Welcome to MSI’s new website

Please be patient as we make the transition to our new website format.  The 2013 Summer Institute and previous institutes can be accessed through the website: http://msi-no.org/index.html by