The Mississippi Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM) is a professional organization for mathematics instructors across the state of Mississippi. They held their annual conference October 13 and 14 at Germantown High School in Madison. The conference theme was, “Math Instruction: Make it Count!” All four mathematics faculty members from the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, Lauren Zarandona, Kishan Patel, Shae Koenigsberger, and Philip Benge, served as session presenters at this year’s conference.

Ms. Zarandona provided an overview on the teaching website called Desmos, which features a collection of free digital activities designed to encourage students’ mathematics exploration. MSMS recently purchased a classroom set of iPads to give students access to Desmos to reinforce mathematics instruction. All mathematics faculty at MSMS have incorporated Desmos into their lesson plans. The remainder of the MSMS mathematics faculty members each presented on a specific aspect of Desmos to show other math teachers around the state how to incorporate additional technology into their classroom instruction.

Dr. Benge discussed how to leverage Desmos to encourage students to develop mathematical reasoning skills in addition to rote mathematical content knowledge. He highlighted the importance of inquiry-based learning as an essential component in fostering student curiosity and exploration.

Ms. Koenigsberger led a session on Desmos activities for pre-calculus instruction. She provided interactive demonstrations for two Desmos activities entitled Water Line and Introduction to Inverse Functions. Water Line focused on reinforcing graphing skills to illustrate variable changes over time. Introduction to Inverse Functions highlighted the symmetry behind inverse functions. Both of these activities have been instrumental in how Ms. Koenigsberger approaches teaching pre-calculus.

Mr. Patel focused on activities that lend themselves well to the discipline of differential calculus. He spotlighted specific Desmos activities to introduce specific calculus topics and facilitate casual mathematical discourse among students before formal mathematical language is used. Mr. Patel led AP Calculus teachers through a simulation of each activity from a student perspective. He concluded his session with a discussion on the pros and cons of each activity and suggestions for how to incorporate them into classroom instruction.

The Mississippi Council of Teachers of Mathematics is the foremost professional organization for mathematics teachers in the state of Mississippi. Each year, the MCTM conference seeks to promote the cooperative study of problems relating to teaching of mathematics across all levels of instruction and create a forum for best practice sharing across the state. MSMS is proud of our mathematics faculty for not only attending the conference, but also for sharing their innovative strategies for encouraging student interest in mathematics.

MSMS is excited to host the 2018 MCTM conference on our campus here in Columbus. Stay tuned for more information.