The Fields Institute Turns Twenty-Five 170725 Final book with covers - Page 175

A Low Floor + High Ceiling 153
Megumi Harada ( McMaster ) investigated the geometry of a sphere ; Brett Stevens ( Carleton ) pondered Latin squares and Sudoku ; Peter Taylor ( Queen ’ s ) contemplated telescopes and parabolas ; and Linda Wahl ( Western ) explored growth patterns in biology . The goal of the project was to provide students , parents , and teachers with insights into mathematics and into the thinking of mathematicians .
The more recent technology trend is getting kids to learn to code : computational thinking . Historically , especially through Papert ’ s work and conceptually regarding the importance of abstract thinking , there are strong links between coding and math education . Again , as Papert stated , “ My basic idea is that programming is the most powerful medium of developing the sophisticated and rigorous thinking needed for mathematics , for grammar , for physics , for statistics , for all the ‘ hard ’ subjects ... In short , I believe more than ever that programming should be a key part of the intellectual development of people growing up .”
Part of our contribution is to learn from past Logo research , such as the work two other Fields Symposium speakers , Celia Hoyles and Richard Noss from the University of London in the U . K . We want to focus not only on technology itself , but also on rich math ideas — that offer conceptual surprise and insight — as well as pedagogical practices that afford students opportunities to engage as young mathematicians . Personally , I spend 50 to 60 days each year in elementary school classrooms , collaborating with teachers to design cool ways of engaging young children with big math ideas and using computers and coding to support their thinking and their what-if investigations . Although I have a computer science background and love programming , my work in schools puts mathematics first , with coding as a tool to enhance mathematical exploration and conceptual development . Fields has also funded several outreach activities , supporting
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