Problems in the four journals of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) can be used as a professional development tool. A course in mathematical problem solving was central to a project to develop teacher-leaders to do mathematics-based professional development programs in their schools. The typical participant had adequate formal background in mathematics but had not been actively doing mathematics for several years. One of the main objectives of the course was for them to relearn the habits of the mind that most mathematicians use in solving problems.
In addition to doing shorter problems that could be completed within a day, participants selected one recent problem from the MAA journals and worked on it as a long-term assignment during a two-week summer institute. The speaker will discuss the use of MAA problems in problem solving courses for undergraduates and graduate students and address the challenges, difficulties and successes that were encountered in this particular setting. In addition, the impact of this activity on the teachers’ attitudes toward student learning will be discussed.
The course was part of Building Regional Capacity (BRC, a joint venture of Education Development Center and the University of Massachusetts Lowell), with funding from the National Science Foundation.
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