In a Math Teachers’ Circle, teachers experience open-ended problem solving firsthand in lively discussion sessions facilitated by mathematicians. By enriching teachers’ own experience of mathematics, the Math Teachers’ Circle program hopes to affect their classroom teaching so that it includes more problem solving, a key component in student learning and engagement in mathematics.
The Math Teachers’ Circle program began at the American Institute of Mathematics in August 2006, when 25 middle school mathematics teachers and 5 professional mathematicians from the San Francisco Bay Area came together for an intense week of work at AIM. Monthly meetings followed, both at AIM and at the home schools of some of the teachers. Based on the sustained success of the original Circle, AIM sought to create Math Teachers’ Circles throughout the U.S.
There are now 125 Math Teachers’ Circles across the country. Participating teachers say that MTCs “enable them to see deeper connections between mathematical topics, expose them to fields of mathematics that they were previously unfamiliar with, and help them envision doing mathematics as a more collaborative and enjoyable enterprise.”* The Middlebury Circle is the first Math Teachers’ Circle in Vermont.
The Math Teachers’ Circle program is a project of the American Institute of Mathematics and is sponsored by the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Society of America, the Educational Advancement Foundation, Math for America, the National Science Foundation, and the National Security Agency. For more information about the Math Teachers’ Circle program, please visit www.mathteacherscircle.org.
*Donaldson, B., et al. “Math Teachers’ Circles: Partnerships between mathematicians and teachers.” Notices of the AMS 61.11 (2014): 1335-1341.