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SIGMAA Activities

BIG SIGMAA, the SIGMAA on Business, Industry and Government

Themed Contributed Paper Session: Connecting Introductory Mathematics Courses to Students’ Intended Majors and Careers

Friday afternoon, July 28

This session explores the many ways in which introductory mathematics courses can be created or renewed to meet the needs of the partner disciplines and lay the groundwork for students' future careers. For example, talks may share novel activities, examples, or projects suitable for introductory mathematics courses that showcase how mathematics is used in the partner disciplines or in specific careers. Presentations may describe curricular innovations, such as courses or pathways, which were designed or revised to support students from specific majors or on specific career paths. Talks may describe successful course-embedded strategies that help first-year students discern their major or career path. Presentations may report on models for collaboration between mathematics faculty and faculty from other departments or people from industry on the introductory mathematics curriculum. Each talk should address some aspect of how introductory mathematics courses can be aligned with external needs of students’ intended majors or careers.

Rebecca Hartzler, University of Texas-Austin
Suzanne I. Dorée, Augsburg College
Susan Ganter, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Thomas A. Hoft, University of St. Thomas

BIO SIGMAA, the SIGMAA on Mathematical and Computational Biology

Themed Contributed Paper Session: Undergraduate Research Activities in Mathematical and Computational Biology

Friday afternoon, July 28

This session is dedicated to aspects of undergraduate research in mathematical and computational biology. First and foremost, this session would like to highlight research results of projects that either were conducted by undergraduates or were collaborations between undergraduates and their faculty mentors. Of particular interest are those collaborations that involve students and faculty from both mathematics and biology. Secondly, as many institutions have started undergraduate research programs in this area, frequently with the help of initial external funding, the session is interested in the process and logistics of starting a program and maintaining a program even after the initial funding expires. Important issues include faculty development and interdisciplinary collaboration, student preparation and selection, the structure of research programs, the acquisition of resources to support the program, and the subsequent achievements of students who participate in undergraduate research in mathematical and computational biology. Finally, the session also welcomes the presentation of materials and project ideas that can be used to help get students started in research in mathematical and computational biology.

Timothy D. Comar, Benedictine University

HOM SIGMAA, the SIGMAA on the History of Mathematics

Themed Contributed Paper Session: Euclid and the Mathematics of Antiquity in the 21st Century

Saturday afternoon, July 29

Euclid's Elements is a fundamental text of mathematics in the western tradition. Geometry, number theory, logic, and the axiomatic method: all bear Euclid’s stamp. Moreover, the Elements was considered a central text of every liberal arts education well into the nineteenth century, more than two millennia after its writing.

The recent centennial of the MAA provides a fitting occasion on which to revisit the influence of mathematics's past on future mathematics and culture. We seek contributions that relate the work of Euclid or other mathematicians of antiquity to modern mathematics or the modern undergraduate curriculum. Original research, unique expositions, descriptions of courses with a significant integration of the mathematics of antiquity, and curricular materials are all welcome.

Elizabeth T. Brown, James Madison University
Edwin O'Shea, James Madison University

IBL SIGMAA, the SIGMAA on Inquiry-Based Learning

Business Meeting

Thursday, July 27, 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m., Salon A-2

Themed Contributed Paper Session: Writing Across the Curriculum in Mathematics

Friday afternoon, July 28

Many institutions have adopted “Writing Across the Curriculum” programs and implemented first-year writing seminars. Even when such programs are not in place, instructors are becoming increasingly aware of research that has identified writing as a high impact practice for enhancing student learning. In particular, writing-based assessments help students to shift focus from grades to deep learning and to develop skills that transcend any one subject area. In all levels of math courses, writing assignments can be used to develop critical thinking skills, provide a better understanding of logical argument, and engage students who may otherwise be left behind. This session invites talks on all aspects of writing in mathematics, especially those pertaining to Writing Across the Curriculum programs. We also welcome presentations on the implementation of Writing to Learn principles in math courses, training of students in discipline-specific skills such as proof writing, and interdisciplinary writing initiatives.

Anil Venkatesh, Ferris State University
Benjamin Gaines, Iona College
Victor Piercey, Ferris State University

Themed Contributed Paper Session: Writing Across the Curriculum in Mathematics

Saturday afternoon, July 29

The goal of Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL) is to transform students from consumers to producers of mathematics. Inquiry-based methods aim to help students develop a deep understanding of mathematical concepts and the processes of doing mathematics by putting those students in direct contact with mathematical phenomena, questions, and communities. Within this context, IBL methods exhibit great variety.

Activities can take place in single class meetings or span entire curricula for students of any age; students can be guided to re-invent mathematical concepts, to explore definitions and observe patterns, to justify core results, and to take the lead in asking new questions. There is a growing body of evidence that IBL methods are effective and important for teaching mathematics and for fostering positive attitudes toward the subject. This session invites scholarly presentations on the use of inquiry-based methods for teaching and learning. We especially invite presentations that include successful IBL activities or assignments, that support observations about student outcomes with evidence, or that could help instructors who are new to IBL to try new methods.

Brian P. Katz, Augustana College
Victor I. Piercey, Ferris State University

SIGMAA MCST, the SIGMAA on Math Circles for Students and Teachers

Themed Contributed Paper Session: My Favorite Math Circle Problem

Friday afternoon, July 28

A math circle is an enrichment experience that brings mathematics professionals in direct contact with pre-college students and/or their teachers. Circles foster passion and excitement for deep mathematics.

Papers in this session highlight either a favorite problem from a math circle, or favorite collection of problems used together for one or two sessions of a math circle. Contributed papers should describe the launch of the problem, what happens during the circle, and ways of ``wrapping up'', even if that doesn't involve answering the problem.

Bob Klein, Ohio University

Math Circle Demonstration

Saturday, July 29, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m., Salon C-1

A math circle is an enrichment experience that brings mathematics professionals in direct contact with pre-college students and/or their teachers. Circles foster passion and excitement for deep mathematics. This demonstration session offers the opportunity for conference attendees to observe and then discuss a math circle experience. While participants are engaged in a mathematical investigation, mathematicians will have a discussion focused on appreciating and better understanding the organic and creative process of learning that circles offer, and on the logistics and dynamics of running an effective circle.

Paul Zeitz, University of San Francisco

Math Wrangle

Saturday, July 29, 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Salon C-1

Math Wrangle will pit teams of students against each other, the clock, and a slate of great math problems. The format of a Math Wrangle is designed to engage students in mathematical problem solving, promote effective teamwork, provide a venue for oral presentations, and develop critical listening skills. A Math Wrangle incorporates elements of team sports and debate, with a dose of strategy tossed in for good measure. The intention of the Math Wrangle demonstration at the Joint Math Meetings is to show how teachers, schools, circles, and clubs can get students started in this exciting combination of mathematical problem solving with careful argumentation via public speaking, strategy and rebuttal.

Doug Ensley, Mathematical Association of America
Ed Keppelmann, University of Nevada, Reno
Philip B. Yasskin, Texas A&M
Paul Zeitz, University of San Francisco

POM SIGMAA, the SIGMAA on the Philosophy of Mathematics


Thursday, July 27, 5:30 – 6:00 p.m., Salon A-5

Guest Lecture

Philosophical Implications of the Paradigm Shift in Model Theory

Thursday, July 27, 6:00 – 7:00 p.m., Salon A-5

John Baldwin, University of Illinois at Chicago

Traditionally, logic was thought of as `principles of right reason'. Twentieth century philosophy of mathematics focused on the problem of a general foundation for all mathematics. In contrast, the last 70 years have seen model theory develop as the study and comparison of formal theories for studying specific areas of mathematics. For example, in a rough sense, algebraic geometry is the study of the first order definable subsets of the complex numbers. Moreover, syntactical information about the theories for different areas can uncover common strains. Thus, Abraham Robinson found a common framework for the Artin-Schreier theory of ordered fields, Hilbert's nullstellensatz and differentially closed fields. Shelah's stability theory leads to a classification of such theories that makes more precise the idea of a `tame structure'. Thus, logic (specifically model theory) becomes a tool for organizing and doing mathematics with consequences for combinatorics, diophantine geometry, differential equations and other fields.

SIGMAA QL, the SIGMAA on Quantitative Literacy

Reception and Business Meeting

Thursday, July 27, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

SIGMAA TAHSM, the SIGMAA on Teaching Advanced High School Mathematics

Reception and Business Meeting

Thursday, July 27, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m., Salon A-4

Join your fellow SIGMAA TAHSM members at our annual reception and business meeting. Some SIGMAA business will be discussed, but mostly this is a time to communicate with your colleagues while enjoying some light hors d’oeuvres. We will also be recognizing the 2016 Edyth May Sliffe award winners.

WEB SIGMAA, the SIGMAA on Mathematics Instruction Using the WEB

Themed Contributed Paper Session: Online Assessment: Where We Have Been, Where We Are and Where We Are Going

Saturday afternoon, July 29

Online assessment is now a common part of the academic experience for faculty and students. The technology has been around long enough to evolve substantially from early implementations. The purpose of this session is to allow faculty to share what is new, what they are hoping for in the future, and what have we learned from present and past implementations of the systems. We also invite contributions regarding pedagogical issues surrounding the use of these resources.

We are seeking expository talks on what resources are available, demonstrations, and innovative ideas as well as scholarly talks about the effectiveness of online assessment resources. Talks on online homework, placement testing, just in time resources, and other forms of online assessment are welcome.

Barbara Margolius, Cleveland State University
John Travis, Mississippi College