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Outcomes

The paper, “Computer SCIENCE and Mathematics in the Elementary Schools” by Mike Fellows, is essentially a manifesto for this conference.

  • Elementary school students deserve to experience profound and imaginative mathematical ideas. Such ideas shouldn’t be reserved for graduate students.
  • Open unsolved problems are the creative drivers for mathematical activity, but children are taught a version of mathematics based almost entirely on correct answers.
  • Mathematics itself is an “interdisciplinary powerhouse.” The pursuit of mathematical ideas will open doorways and raise interesting questions in the sciences and humanities.

Mathematics popularization is a research area of basic interest. Exciting mathematical ideas will not find their way to children and their teachers without an effort on the part of mathematicians to communicate about them in accessible ways.

It is quite uncommon for a world class research scientist also to be heavily involved in popularizing basic principles in their discipline to K-12 children.

Mike Fellows, an Australian Professorial Fellow and Professor of Computer Science, is one of these rare scientists, and one of the organizers of this conference.

In the 1980s, Fellows started a project called MEGA-Math, with funding from the Computer Applications and Research Group at Los Alamos National Laboratory (US). His plan was to develop materials based around modern research in computer science and mathematics and have these materials used to make early education more exciting and engaging. Mike attributes his early popularizing efforts to volunteering in the elementary classrooms of his children at Apple Blossom Family School in Moscow, Idaho. Mike recalls hurrying from his job at the university to the primary school. He had just been teaching a topic on sorting in a graduate class, and decided to teach the same topic to the children. It was a huge success.

MEGA-Math ultimately led to Computer Science Unplugged! with Tim Bell, Mike Fellows and Ian Witten. Tim and Mike are Keynote speakers at the conference.

Our goals are the following:

Outcomes available to download (pdf 130kb)

Goal 1arrow

Create a professional development program for all to take home to their home communities and schools

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Goal 2arrow

Produce holistic, whole-body, storyfull math activities that show the ‘both-ways’ and 21st Century Competencies philosophy, and incorporate computational ways of thinking in all subjects. These will be incorporated into the PD plans.

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Goal 3arrow

Design a new, innovative master's degree program in mathematical science communication, to be offered by an international partnership of universities. Provide sample research projects.

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Goal 4arrow

Establish for the first time, creative mathematical sciences communication as a respectable research area. This conference will establish a new international conference series in mathematical sciences communication.

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Goal 5arrow

Create a new journal for this new research area.
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Bring to the conference:

Copies of relevant and related journals and publications, such as from: NCTM, AAMT/MERGA, Scholastic MATH Magazine, Newtons Window Math Magazine, Plus magazine, Dorling Kindersley workbooks, DK Children Marvel Heroes Math Made Easy, Sylvan Learning, Spectrum Math, TIME For Kids, and others.

Data comparing print journal versus website publication in terms of cost, readership, and other issues.