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455 N. Woods Mill Road
Chesterfield, MO 63017
Phone (314) 415-8100
Mathematicians in Residence (MIR) Program
The Mathematicians in Residence (MIR) Program was a partnership between the Saint Louis Public School District, the Parkway School District, and Maryville University. The program was federally funded through a Missouri Mathematics and Science Partnership Grant and provided intensive job-embedded professional development for mathematics teachers in grades 6 through 8. For the Project Abstract and Documentation, please visit www.pkwy.k12.mo.us/mir
In addition, the program included the MIR Summer Academy, which involved nearly 200 students and a nationally recognized team of consultants. This project was a unique opportunity for diverse groups of teachers and students to increase their mathematics content knowledge and apply the most current teaching and learning theories. MIR Summer Academy was held in June of 2008, 2009, and 2010.
Students were invited to participate in the MIR Summer Academy based on the following three criteria:
- Students must live within the attendance boundaries of either the Parkway School District or the Saint Louis Public School District
- Students must be entering grade 6, 7, or 8
- Students must fit within a certain score range on their most recent MAP test for which we have data (2009). This range is set by the cutoff score that distinguishes a score of Proficient from a score of Basic. Students invited to the Academy scored either at the top of the Basic range or at the bottom of the Proficient range. Practically speaking, had students in the Basic range answered a few more answers correct, their designation may have changed to Proficient. Similarly had students in the Proficient range missed a few answers, their designation may have changed to Basic.
What did a day in the MIR Academy look like for students?
June 24, 2009 Update, 8:00 am
As the third day of the 2009 MIR Academy begins, our aspiring mathematicians are finishing breakfast and moving into their classrooms. They are engaged in challenging mathematics problems related to geometry and measurement.
Some of the classes are exploring how many different ways in which a company can pack 24 oranges. How many different boxes could be constructed to hold them? For example, we can arrange them in 2 rows, 2 columns, and 6 layers. But is there a systematic way we can mathematically determine that we have all of the options? Our aspiring mathematicians have been answering this question for the first two days, exploring whether the 2 x 2 x 6 box is the same as a box with 2 rows, 6 columns and 2 layers. Looking ahead, once we know how many options there are, which box would be the best for actually shipping them, taking into consideration the cost of boxing materials? Our aspiring mathematicians are learning the importance of mathematizing situations, the relationship between dimensions and volume, and the power of factors.
The other classes have been challenged to determine the relationship between where a person stands near the edge of a canyon and how far he or she can see down on the other side of the canyon. As with the oranges problem, our aspiring mathematicians are learning how to mathematize the situation, using the context as a means for students to systematically explore this mathematical relationship. They have so far discovered attributes of similar triangles as well as the challenges of measuring accurately and with precision. Looking ahead, they will further their learning to determine the "blind spots" and range of vision in various contexts.
In all of their work, our aspiring mathematicians are engaging in the context and making conjectures about solutions to the problems. They are submitting their solution methods and strategies to their fellow mathematicians, allowing for the scrutiny of their mathematical community. By justifying their conjectures and evaluating the proofs and explanations of others, students are truly aspiring to the work of mathematicians.