Imagine a golf coach who never plays golf. An English Literature teacher who doesn’t enjoy reading books. A lifeguard who can’t swim. Pretty absurd, right?
Now imagine a math teacher who doesn’t do math.
Unfortunately, this is often the case. Now I’m not talking about the math in the textbook. Of course, math teachers do that all the time. I’m talking about recreational math. Math just for the fun of it.
Our students will not learn to have fun with mathematics if we ourselves never have fun with mathematics.
I propose we math teachers need to engage in more recreational mathematics…just for the fun of it. Simply because we love math and love doing math.
Now…let me introduce you to Math Teachers’ Circle.
Math Teachers’ Circles are professional communities of K-12 mathematics teachers and mathematicians. Groups meet regularly to work on rich mathematics problems, allowing teachers to enrich their knowledge and experience of math, while building meaningful partnerships with other teachers and mathematicians.
Go to their website to find a Math Teachers’ Circle near you: https://www.mathteacherscircle.org/
In my hometown of Merced, we have a local chapter: Merced Math Teachers’ Circle.
MMTC connects K-12 mathematics teachers, college and university mathematics professors, and all mathematics educators and enthusiasts in the Central Valley area of California centered around Merced. They meet regularly to
- engage in fun, creative, and meaningful problem solving activities;
- share and (re)-experience the excitement of doing mathematics so that we may bring that enthusiasm into our own classrooms;
- design and discuss interesting problems to run Math Circles for our own students;
- strengthen and form connections among all mathematics educators and enthusiasts.
While you are looking for a local Math Teachers’ Circle, try some of these fun problems from @whiterosemaths. These problems are intended to be solved using some sort of a bar model (tape diagram). Do you best to avoid fancy, schmancy algebra.