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CROCHETING MATHEMATICIAN TO SPEAK AT BARD COLLEGE ON THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8 Master of Arts in Teaching Program Welcomes Cornell University Mathematician Who Uses Crocheted Objects to Teach Students Advanced Geometry

Darren O'Sullivan
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The Bard College Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Program is hosting a lecture on Thursday, December 8, by Daina Taimina, a Cornell University math scholar who uses crocheted objects to teach advanced geometry. Taimina, whose work has attracted attention from both the math and art worlds, will speak about creativity, math, and education. Her talk, which is free and open to the public, takes place at 4:30 p.m. in room 106 of Albee Hall on the Bard College Campus. Taimina began crocheting objects in 1997 as a way to help her students visualize hyperbolic space, which is an advanced geometric shape with constant negative curvature, something that is useful to many professionals, including engineers, architects and landscapers. Her work has since attracted the attention of scientists and mathematicians, as well as artists, filmmakers, and crocheting enthusiasts. In her lecture, “Creativity, Mathematics, Education,” Taimina will share her thoughts about mathematical ways of thinking. Do we teach mathematics in ways that support creativity? Can creativity be taught? Taimina will also discuss how she came up with the idea to crochet hyperbolic planes and what has happened since making her first one in 1997. Taimina, a visiting scholar at Cornell, is the author, with David Henderson, of Experiencing Geometry, a classic text on Euclidean and non-Euclidean space. Her work on crocheting hyperbolic surfaces has helped to inspire a worldwide movement of "math-craft," and her models have been acquired by many mathematics departments as pedagogical tools. They are also included in the Smithsonian Institution's American -continued- Mathematical Model collection and in the exhibition “Not the Knitting You Know” at Eleven Eleven Gallery in Washington D.C. Her work has been supported by a grant from The Institute for Figuring . Taimina is currently writing a book about hyperbolic geometry and crochet. Bard’s Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Program, which takes a year for students to complete, was established in 2003 to address critical issues in the training of teachers of grades 7–12. The program emphasizes subject-matter mastery for teachers, integrated clinical training, and the ability of new teachers to advance and implement innovative teaching methods in the classroom. Many secondary school teachers in the United States do not hold an undergraduate degree in the subject they teach, and rarely in the course of their training are prospective teachers asked to integrate subject matter and pedagogy courses in a clinically meaningful way, or to research and practice new approaches to teaching. The MAT Program builds on Bard’s long history of innovation in education, from its Institute for Writing and Thinking teacher-training programs to the groundbreaking Bard High School Early College (BHSEC) in New York City. The core of Bard’s yearlong MAT Program is an integrated curriculum leading to a master of arts degree and teaching certificate in adolescent education in one of four subject areas: English, mathematics, biology, or history. In future years the program will be expanded to include certification in other fields, including art, physics, chemistry, foreign languages, and music. Applicants must have completed an undergraduate degree in liberal arts with a major in the elective discipline. Bard MAT students are required to complete four graduate level courses in their elective discipline, while taking education courses that challenge them to apply the results of research and pedagogical analysis to classroom teaching. In each phase of their MAT experience, students must pursue a research question that engages them in the kind of reflective practice that is essential to teaching effectively and growing professionally. Linked to advanced study in their field, the education curriculum helps MAT students to consider how they learn, and how alternative approaches to teaching and learning provide broader access to academic competence. Throughout the 12-month program, all courses are closely integrated with teaching experiences, beginning in the summer as tutors, followed by extensive field experience. Bard has partnerships with mentor teachers in local public school districts, including Red Hook, Chatham, Onteora, Poughkeepsie, and Kingston, as well as six Autonomous Zone schools—a group of experimental public middle and high schools in New York City. Unique to this program, the MAT mentor teachers in the public schools are active partners for school change, engaging in their own classroom research as part of their sustained involvement with the MAT Program. Through a grant from The Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation, the MAT Program offers full fellowships to select students who are committed to working in New York City public high schools. The Petrie fellowships are part of the MAT Program’s research and training partnerships with New York City public schools. Petrie fellows must commit to work in New York City public high schools for five years after graduating from the MAT Program. In addition, the program offers fellowships to returning Peace Corps volunteers. For more information on Taimina’s lecture, please call Cecilia Maple at 845-758-7145 or e-mail Prospective applicants should contact Ric Campbell at 845-758-7145 or for information and application materials. Visit the Bard College MAT Program website at # # # (10/24/05)


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This event was last updated on 12-08-2005