Union to offer summer school for math educators

This summer, Union College’s Division of Science and Mathematics is doing its part to improve mathematics education in Lincoln. So far, eighteen instructors from 11 Lincoln private schools along with teachers from Adventist schools throughout the United States will receive two semester hours of college credit for only $50. From a grant through the Brookhill Foundation, and in cooperation with the office of Education at the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists, Union College is offering two weeklong seminars for elementary, middle and secondary mathematics teachers to discuss new methods for teaching mathematical concepts to students.

At each workshop, the participants will gain experience with instructional technology such as PowerPoint, Interwrite School pads, interactive white boards, TI-83/84 display panels, tablet computers, and document cameras while furthering their understanding of elementary mathematics methodology. The week highlights Parker and Baldridge’s Elementary Mathematics for Teachers, a textbook designed for use in conjunction with five primary-grade books on the Singapore Math series.

Larry Ray, professor of mathematics, planned the workshops last summer at a national mathematics convention in Washington D.C. with Joe Allison, chair of the Division of Human Development. At the convention, the National Mathematics Advisory Panel reported findings on the condition of mathematics education in the United States. “After two years of intense study, the panel’s in-depth report began by admitting that US mathematics education is in dire need of being fixed,” Ray said.

The Advisory Panel challenged the attendees to increase the mathematics scores in their regions and to implement a detailed plan to achieve their goals. Union College takes the call for action seriously.

“At Union College we are interested in education at all levels. We see the benefits of providing a forum where kindergarten through college-level teachers are engaged in collaborative learning and planning,” Ray said. “When teachers themselves move to a thorough conceptualization of mathematics, they are empowered to lead their students to the depth of understanding needed for success at the college level.”

The workshop geared toward Lincoln private schools will be held June 8-12; a separate workshop for teachers in Adventist schools across North America will be June 22-26.

For information on this and other workshops held by the Division of Science and Mathematics, visit http://www.ucollege.edu/K-12workshops.