Surprising Connections

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Dear Math Teachers’ Circle Network,

What connects leisure-seeking ancient Romans with two children on a playground with a single stick of sidewalk chalk? Tic-Tac-Toe! The cover article connects Tic-Tac-Toe to “Gobblet Gobblers,” which introduces a challenging twist on the familiar game that your MTC will enjoy exploring and analyzing, not to mention playing!

Throughout this issue, we explore ways of building on the community of your MTC to make new connections. For example, “Circling to Connect” describes programs and opportunities that are a relatively easy “next step” for MTCs whose members want to become more deeply engaged. We also celebrate the retirement of Gloria Brown Brooks, who was a founding member of the first MTC in 2006 and has been a true inspiration to all of us in the Bay Area MTC community as well as a leading advocate for mathematics and social justice nationally. Gloria eloquently describes how participating in MTCs can lead to a deeper understanding of the value of diversity in problem solving: “We are all the same, but we all think differently. It really opens your mind to see that. There is definitely a real-world lesson there.”

This fall, we’d like to challenge your MTC to try out something new together! Take a page from “Circling to Connect” and commit to organizing a Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival (JRMF) for your students and their families. Or help a local school start a Math Monday program so that more students can experience games as the “literature of mathematics,” as Math Monday founder Scott Kim describes it. Explore the living history of mathematics through doing a Math News Snapshot (MNS) as a Math Teachers’ Circle, then share the MNS with your students to ignite their mathematical imaginations. Consider forming teams to carry out scholarly or practitioner-focused projects, such as developing inquiry-oriented classroom materials that double as MTC sessions (like the group in “Circles of Inquiry“), or writing an article for the new Journal of Math Circles. Be inspired by the example of Gloria Brown Brooks and pledge to keep each other accountable as advocates for equity and social justice in your daily work.

We look forward to hearing about your experiences!

Brianna Donaldson, Director of Special Projects

This article originally appeared in the Autumn 2019 MTCircular.


Tic-Tac-Toe 2.0

New Takes on an Old Classic

Catherine Pullin Lane and Lynne M. Pachnowski

Circling to Connect

Five Programs Building Math Joy on the Foundation of Math Teachers’ Circles

Circles of Inquiry, Julia Robinson Math Festivals, Math Monday, Math News Snapshots, Journal of Math Circles

A Better World Through Math

Gloria Brown Brooks Is Retiring, But She’s Not Slowing Down

Interview by Jessa Barniol

Math Teachers’ Circle Small Grants Awarded


A Note from AIM

Surprising Connections


Dispatches from the Circles

Local Updates From Across the Country