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Information for teacher participants

Here, we provide a general overview of InterMath workshops for participants. Each instructor creates a unique syllabus for his or her course, so participants should be sure to look under Workshop Materials to learn about their instructor's particular requirements (e.g., assignments, grading, credit, etc.). Use the following links to gain a general overview of InterMath.

Workshop Content
InterMath includes materials to enhance a teacher's understanding of middle-grades mathematics. We have selected materials that span the key mathematical strands identified in Georgia's Performance Standards and the Curriculum and Evaluations Standards for School Mathematics (NCTM, 1989). (NOTE: The InterMath curriculum is meant to engage teachers and is intended to deepen teachers' understanding of mathematical concepts related to the middle school curriculum. Because of this, many of the InterMath investigations would need modifications to be used in the middle school classroom. There are a few that are simply not appropriate for middle school students.)

The InterMath materials are organized into four key mathematical strands (Number Sense, Algebra, Geometry, and Data Analysis). Under these 4 strands, there are 13 units: Fraction and Decimals, Integers, Ratios Proportions & Percents, Quadrilaterals, Triangles, Polygons, Probability, Statistics, Solids, Circles, Graphs, Patterns, Functions & Equations. The InterMath problem set is comprised of open-ended investigations which are problems that have at least one of the following attributes: multiple solutions, multiple approaches to solving them, and multiple entry points. We have selected a small number of investigations as representative for each unit. These are included under Recommended Investigations. We have also included many more investigations to choose from under Additional Investigations. We used the following seven criteria to select the Recommended Investigations:

  • Multiple cases can be investigated using technology.
  • Pre-Algebra students rely on technology to investigate the situation.
  • The investigation promotes generalizability or can be used as a springboard for further exploration.
  • Multiple methods can be used to explore the situation.
  • Multiple solutions are possible.
  • The investigation, based on middle school mathematics, is easy to start exploring.
  • The investigation can be modified for use in a middle school classroom.

Each of the Recommended Investigations addresses at least four of these criteria. Many of the Additional Investigations also meet at least four of the criteria!

Major Components of InterMath
InterMath has two primary components:

  • workshops
  • website

The workshop is a face-to-face experience that includes approximately 50 hours of seat time supported by the InterMath web site. During the course, teachers will work on a number of investigations and complete a write-up for each. Participants will also develop lesson plans as a way of exploring how to use investigations in their own classrooms.

The website is a rich resource for both the teacher participants and for their students. In addition to the investigations and sample lesson plans, the website includes a dictionary, a constructionary, and a variety of resources to help you use the website.

  • Dictionary: The dictionary is the only part of the website developed for middle grades students. It includes definitions to all of the terms included in the Georgia Performance Standards. It also includes everyday examples, interactive quizzes to assess comprehension, and links to external resources about the concepts as well as links to investigations related to the term.
  • Constructionary: This is a tool designed to support teachers in learning how to construct a variety of shapes for use in the investigations. The constructionary assumes that the user has some experience with the software.
  • Lesson Plans: This is a small collection of carefully selected lesson plans to serve as exemplars of InterMath-inspired middle school lessons. They use the Backward Design model, consistent with the state's recommendation for implementing the Georgia Performance Standards.
  • Tutorials: These are tutorial developed by other sources that the InterMath team has linked to as a resource for teachers to use as they learn the various software.
  • Workshop Materials: Many of the materials here are more relevant to instructors than participants, however there are three key pieces here participants will find helpful. First, there are syllabi for both active and previous courses available here. Next, there are templates to support the development of participants' electronic portfolios. Finally, in the Instructors' Section, there are links to matrices that show the concepts that each of the investigations can be used to address.

Workshop Procedures
Each participant will be provided with file space on the InterMath website. Beginning with the first class meeting, the participants will build their personal webpages which will be developed over time to include write-ups, final projects, lesson plans, and other items of personal interest such as useful links) to compile an electronic portfolio.

Write-ups will be submitted electronically for workshop credit. The purpose of a write-up is to communicate and synthesize investigations involving exploration, solving a problem, or working with an application. The key points in any write-up include a statement of the problem, an initial strategy for addressing the investigation, a narrative of how the investigation was actually approached, and a statement of the findings. In many cases the write-up will also include an extension or lesson plan idea.

Consistent with the InterMath philosophy that the best way to learn about mathematics is for a participant to engage in sense-making activities, the InterMath workshops are conducted in a way that maximizes the participant's role. Participants will find that the course instructors serve a different role than in traditional classrooms. In an InterMath workshop, the facilitator will demonstrate a problem and lead a discussion of the mathematics of interest. Then, the instructor will provide one-on-one support to participants as they work on their own investigations. Occasionally, the facilitator may provide direct instruction on issues and topics that arise out of the investigations course participants are engaged in.

Credit for Participation
InterMath credit options include graduate credit and Professional Learning Units (PLUs). Because of the arrangements InterMath makes with the sites offering the courses, the credit offered is determined at the site and not overseen or determined by the InterMath team.

Want more information? E-mail us at intrmath@uga.edu