Mathematician Aimee Johnson Awarded
Grant to Help Middle School Math Teachers
by Alisa Giardinelli
Professor of Mathematics Aimee Johnson recently received a grant to develop a training program for middle school math teachers. The goal is to establish a Philadelphia Area Math Teacher's Circle, modeled on a program of the American Institute of Mathematics (AIM).
"Our mission is to form a community where middle school math teachers can engage in creative and intensive mathematics," Johnson says. "By fostering the confidence to tackle open-ended math problems, teachers become better equipped to initiate student-centered, inquiry-based learning in their classrooms. The community will encourage and support the teachers' engagement and passion for mathematics and help them remember that, first and foremost, math is fun."
The program will begin in earnest with a summer immersion program in July. Participants there will engage in various open-ended problem-solving activities and continue during the academic year via monthly meetings. Johnson says Swarthmore students who are interested in teaching mathematics at the middle school level are welcome to participate.
Johnson researches dynamical systems that originally arose in the study of systems of differential equations and were used to model physical phenomena. Her work for the math circle, done in collaboration with colleagues at Haverford College, the University of Pennsylvania, and two area school districts, is supported by AIM, Verizon, and the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute.