PIMS Mathematical Education Circle


PIMS Mathematical Education Circles is a monthly gathering open to all math educators interested in enhancing their teaching practices by sharing opinions and experiences with their peers. Each session is composed of two parts: Topic in Focus – An educational topic related to the practice of teaching mathematics at the senior high school and the university/college first-year levels. Examples include, learning objectives; technology in the math classroom; assessment; managing a diverse math classroom; transition from secondary to university math, etc. The Lighter Side of Mathematics – A mathematical topic or activity that may not be directly related to teaching mathematics, but that may be used in communicating and promoting mathematics. Examples include, puzzles; games; math trivia; hands-on math, etc.


The last Saturday in September, October, November, February, and March

9:30 - 10:00 Registration, coffee
10:00 - 10:50 Topic in Focus – Presentation
10:50 - 11:00 Break
11:00 - 11:50 Topic in Focus - Discussion
11:50 - 12:30 Lunch
12:30 - 1:30 The Lighter Side of Mathematics


UBC and SFU campuses


Strengthening the community of the BC math instructors through social and professional interactions; Creating a forum in which math instructors across BC can discuss the educational topics of common interest and share their experiences and resources; Raising awareness about the community side of mathematical education; Sharing love for mathematics with like-minded friends and colleagues


High school, college, and university math instructors from across British Columbia, as well as aspiring math teachers, graduate students, and post-doctoral fellows


Free events; Coffee and light lunch provided; Registration required


  • Melania Alvarez (PIMS/UBC)
  • Veselin Jungic (SFU)


These events are sponsored by the Pacific Institute for Mathematical Sciences (PIMS).



Session 1: Saturday, February 23rd, 2019 (9:30am - 1:30pm)

Room: PIMS, UBC, Earth Science Building, 2207 Main Mall, Room 2012


  • Topic in Focus: Admission and Placement in Math Courses - Allyson Rozell and Michael Nyenhuis, Kwantlen Polytechnic University
    One topic that comes up regularly in math departments is that of mathematical admission requirements and how to place students in courses. This has come up at Kwantlen because of talk of elimination of high school grades, talk of improving success rates in introductory math classes at KPU, and the recent influx of international students. We will describe how admissions and placement is currently done at Kwantlen, and we will discuss other possibilities for placing students in math courses.
  • The Lighter Side of Mathematics: Pi Day and Other Borrowed Activities – Nora Franzova, Langara College
    We will discuss ideas for celebrating Pi Day and in the second part of the session I will dare to ask participants to join me in a few hands-on activities, that I never dared to ask my students to do, (but I always wanted to).


Session 2: Saturday, March 30th, 2019 (9:30am - 1:30pm)

Room: PIMS, UBC, Earth Science Building, 2207 Main Mall, Room 2012


  • Topic in Focus: Open education resources in university classrooms – Kseniya Garaschuk, The University of the Fraser Valley
    In this session, we will discuss the process in adapting and customizing various open access resources using local examples of teaching and learning with freely available materials. I will describe a variety of resources (such as open source textbook, open access online homework system, online graphing software) and how they are used in universities.
  • The Lighter Side of Mathematics: Mathematics and Juggling – UBC Grad Students



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