Points and Angles Online
March 2001

    Table of Contents:

A Multimedia Fractal & Chaos Presentation
that will Infuse You With Amazement
Monica Neagoy
Mathematics Consulting Services

Rare is the student who is not fascinated by the beauty of fractals, or the teacher who is not captivated by the surprises of chaos.  Multiple media will be used to illustrate the interplay between fractals and chaos, and their connection with mathematics and our world.

Monica Neagoy was educated in France, Asia and the U.S. with her Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Maryland.  Her exposure to many cultures, her mastery of several languages, and her professional involvement in both the arts and sciences give her a unique perspective on the learning and teaching of mathematics.  She is a  national mathematics consultant (ie., The Annenburg/CPB Channel, The American Association for the Advancement of Science, PBS) and the head judge for MATHCOUNTS organization. Since 1985, she has worked with in-service teachers independently and through Georgetown University.   She is also a professional actor and is the artistic co-director of the professional LE NEON Theater in Washington, D.C.

This will be an exciting evening with Monica Neagoy on March 9, 2001.

There is a very important development for this meeting.  The first one hundred paid admissions through the door will receive a $10.00 discount off of the price of the dinner.  This is a gift from Rita McGuire  of Prentice Hall.


The reasons behind the push toward standards for “quantitative literacy” are good ones.  The economy and the development of the country depend on the presence of a certain proportion of technically savvy citizens.

Source: Dorothy Wallace, The Many Roads to Numeracy, Learning Mathematics for a New Century, NCTM 2000 Yearbook, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Reston VA, 2000, p. 28.

A. Whoosh B. Ascent C. Lavish D. Leibniz E. Astrocyte
F. Cogs G. Equality H. Move I. Attrition J. Nod off
K. Year-end L. Refresh M. Overshot N. Antecedent O. Depth
P. Student Q. Tonne R. Octave S. Nappe T. Underneath
U. Midpoint V. Epiphany W. Recorde X. Ashlar Y. Corn-fed
Z. Yocto


Application Deadline:  March 19, 2001

Name:__________________________________________  Date:_________________




School Address:________________________________________________________


Home Phone:(____)___________________  School Phone:(____)________________

Sponsoring Teacher (Must be MMC member):_________________________________

Please complete the following:

Overall Grade Point Average:_________  (A = 4, B = 3, C = 2, D = 1, F = 0)

 Mathematics Courses       Grade          Mathematics Courses       Grade

___________________      _____         __________________      _____

___________________      _____         __________________      _____

___________________      _____         __________________      _____

___________________      _____         __________________      _____

Extracurricular Activities:____________________________________________



In addition applicants must also send:

1.  A letter of recommendation from the sponsoring teacher, who is a member
     of the Metropolitan Mathematics Club of Chicago: **

2.  A current transcript for seven semesters of high school.**

3.  An essay not to exceed 400 words on:  “Why I would like to teach

Please send all information to:  Conrad Wayne, Mathematics Department, Rich South High School, 5000 Sauk Trail, Richton Park, IL  60471  (708.747-5500, x220)
**(Letters of recommendation and transcripts may be sent by separate mail.)
(Photocopy as needed)

Deadline Nears to Join Doctoral “Chicago Cohort Group” in Math Education

May 1, 2001 is the deadline for enrolling in the Illinois State Math Department’s 2nd Doctoral Cohort Group for Chicago area teachers.  GRE and other application materials must be complete by October 15, 2001.  AY classes will be Monday nights in Chicago (150 N. Michigan Ave) beginning Fall 2002; summer courses and one semester residency are at ISU.  Graduation date is projected for May or August, 2007.  This effort is timely, as this year 50% of all math educators in doctoral-granting institutions are eligible to retire; the number will increase to 80% within 6 years.  Illinois State has a strong math education faculty and currently is the largest group in the nation.   For details, contact Dr. Carol Thornton (309/452-8636, night; thornton@ilstu.edu) OR Dr. Norma Presmeg (309/438-7990, days; npresmeg@ilstu.edu)

Points from the Interior

If you missed last month’s meeting, you missed out on a wonderfully exciting experience.  In addition to John’s excellent talk (which is reviewed elsewhere), the camaraderie with over 130 mathematics educators was overwhelming.  John discussed the importance of being involved professionally.  Sharing ideas, hopes and disasters with our fellow teachers at an MMC meeting provides each of us with an opportunity to refresh ourselves.  Opportunities beyond the meeting were also announced.  George Pryjma announced the next meeting of the AP Calculus group at Niles.  Toni Seidelmann encouraged everyone to look into the Ph.D. program offered through Illinois State University.  She is about to complete her degree and another program is about to begin.  Mary Wiltjer announced a walk in Oak Park to visit homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright; and there were additional announcements about summer learning opportunities.  Your fellow MMC members are continually involved in exciting, educational experiences.  Our monthly meetings provide a wonderful, relaxing opportunity to exchange information; but other means also exist.  Don’t ever get too busy to review the excellent articles in the Illinois Mathematics Teacher and in NCTM’s Mathematics Teacher.  One of my favorite places for ideas is in CoMAP’s Consortium newsletter.  Our students consistently ask, “How can I use this?” or “What is this good for?”  An answer of “Passing the next test.” is probably sufficient for most students, but is not very satisfying.  Each issue of the Consortium contains a pull-out section with activities related to high school mathematics.  Additionally, information concerning the USA Mathematics Talent Search can be found. Our March meeting provides another exciting opportunity for us to relax and enjoy some good mathematics.  Monica Neagoy’s presentation should be of interest to us as individuals and as educators, regardless of the level of our students.  Additionally, there will be a special discount to the first 100 people registered.  I hope to see you there.  Bring yourself, bring a friend, and especially, bring your student teachers.  It is time they became professionally involved.

Pushing the Envelope Reflections on the Difference
Between Good Teaching and Really Good Teaching

John Benson—2/16/01

MMC had the occasion to “Pack the Place” as one of our own inspired us.  John began his talk quoting from a T-shirt, “You cannot fly like eagles if you have been taught by turkeys”.  Each table had numerous puzzles for us to play with and learn from, something that he does with his classes.  Teaching is a “work in progress”.  His ideas of what makes a good teacher presented in this talk are current, and would be different from those of three years ago or from those he would have three years from now.  The list of some current ideas follows.

Good Teachers:

Competent teachers:

Really Good Teachers:

“If you’re not fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm.”—Vince Lombardi
“People who never get carried away, should be.”—Malcom Forbes
“Better to burn out than to rust out.”—Neal Young
“You can’t be burned out unless you were once on fire.”—Lola Mae

When a student is absent and asks, “Did I miss anything?”, we are usually offended.  The answer is definitely YES.  The class interaction and thinking is not replaced by reading the text.  In a RGT’s class the student will miss something he may never have the opportunity to see again.  Good things happen when you get the math right, and bad things happen when you don’t.  RGT make certain that the math they teach is valid for advanced work.  Good problems instruct.  It is vital to give good problems that are worth the time to do.  If all that students are asked to do is repetitive exercises, it is not worth doing.  To move toward being a RGT, make a list for yourself!  Be a lifelong learner.  Do math.  (John is never bored—there are always some neat math problems in his head.)  Share the math you’re doing.  Get involved, but make up your own mind.  Take risks!  You need to fail, fall flat on your face, have things not work at all, and then try to fix it.  If you’re not making mistakes, you’re just not doing it!  John shared with us his own experiences in working with colleagues, his own educational experiences, and his willingness to take risks.  John fired us all with his enthusiasm.  The thunderous applause was our way of saying  ‘Thanks” for helping us be even better.  There will be more Really Good Teachers after this evening!  With thanks, Joen Flener

Thank you to Kristin Sweet of McDougal Littell for the gift certificates she raffled off at the February meeting.

This month’s puzzle is submitted by Leona Mirza.

Two friends, one who lives in an east coast state and the other who lives in a west coast state, were talking to each other on the phone.  They noticed that the time on their clocks, which were both correct, was the same.  How could this happen?  In what states did the friends live?  What time was it?

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