Baseball and Not Baseball

What I Learned This Week

2018 Prepping Considerations


Use low floor-high ceiling problems to introduce most lessons

Mindset: Weekly sepnd 5-10 minutes on encouraging a growth mindset. In particular use the opening day activity from MichMATYC (How did you get good at it?)

Theme: Each week summarize how what we have done fits in the major course themes

Mixed practice: Add practice from former lessons to the homework for some interleaving.

Remember that Geogebra, spreadsheets, and Desmos exist and can sometimes make good visiualizations

Consider using Plickers for informal assessment when it makes sense to use Plickers for informal assessment.

Look back at this when designing lessons.

More on AMATYC


I notice I have been off-theme and not writing “not baseball” on each of these.

Here is a quick summary of the rest of AMATYC:

I went to two OER sessions. Both showed no decrease in student success when they switched to OER, so students can save money and not have increased risk of failure. One group talked about how they had to overcome some faculty resistance (which really seemed to be inertia.) They offered a stipend to make the change. It seems to me this is just your regular curricular work, but more power to them if they can get a stipend to do what they are supposed to be doing anyway. They reminded me that I can use Geogebra and Desmos for demonstration software. I have gotten away from that a little bit lately.

I went to a session on apps in math for Liberal Arts, but found it a little slow and the presenter did not seem to know his audience, so I left it and went to a session on BASEBALL. The presenter had some interesting applicable calculations that could be done by students at almost any level. Unfortunately he also offered a total offense statistic that he said improved OPS because the denominators are different in OBP and SLG. What he missed is that when you add as rational expression SLG and OBP you get 1/PA*(Good Linear Weights Formula) + small error. This will correlate with total offense much better than the cleaner version he has because his linear weights do not correlate as well with actual offensive performance. His over-weights extra-base hits.

I went to one session on the new professional development document. In one sentence, it seems they have added mindfulness (Dweck’s work) and utility value to the standards. If I were to have a second sentence I would warn that it is a little stilted. They use the acronym IMPACT (Improving Mathematical Prowess and College Math Teaching) whenever the word impact is used in the text, for instance. PrOwESS is also an acronym (Proficiency, Ownership, Engagement, Student Success). The acronyms themselves seem pretty useful as I recalled these without looking back. I do hope they remove the stilted writing.

A session on training folks to teach QR courses was interesting, but really focused a lot on the Carnegie curriculum they were using.

New Examples of Linear Equations for class had a hand out that made it look like it could have been new in 1975 so I went to Projects in Liberal Arts Math. I have a couple ideas from hearing other attendees describe their projects.

I’ll write one more post with my goals for 2018 soon.

Reflections on OER

An Oregon (PCC) school adopted OER in Math. I have detailed handwritten notes (see me if interested). Their most important advice is to understand colleagues concerns. 

Some things- look me campus-wide team building we are already doing. 

Other things- generating buy in- we do not have to do as Michael Nealon and TB have bought in already. 

They also say their notes will be in the proceedings. They are not there as of 11-10-2017. 

OER at Baltimore City Community College

Scott Saunders reported on the experience of Baltimore City Community College. They phased in OER through developmental courses starting at the lowest level. Students saved (a little less than) 90% of the cost and success rates were not significantly changed. They still used software.

Based on costs and their claim to have had one software product through the whole chain of courses I think they were Pe4rson based. (The 4 is in case Pe4rson trolls the web looking for their name.)

Their numbers are small, but the results are encouraging.

This is Session 064 in the conference proceedings.

This became a round table after 20 minutes or so. That was interesting,

Promoting Persistence and Placement Round Table

During one session Friday afternoon I went to a student persistence session. It sort of was just obvious things we should all do (learn names quickly, encourage small positive changes, …) My handwritten notes are in my notebook, but I do not think we have many novice teachers right now who would benefit from this. I left after 20 minutes

I went to the placement round table. Lots of changes are taking place. Much discussion centered on using ALEKS, and whether self-reported high school GPA is an appropriate instrument. Some other discussion centered on how long any placement measure should be considered valid. There was brief discussion about non-cognitive tests. SB was at the entire session so he may have more to add if any of you at HFC are interested.

AMATYC’s Attended

I am posting this here because I finally figured it out and want to just be able to reference it. 

Modern Times Critical Band IPA

This is very citrusy. It reminds me of M-43, or maybe Boxer from Old Nation. 

AMATYC: Removing Barriers to Success in Front Door Mathematics Courses

Valencia College is creating interventions for students using Dweck’s work on growth mindset and utility value (learning has a value for me).

Growth Mindset:Students write essays to persuade other students after reading an article on growth mindset and answering some open ended reflections.

Utility Value: Students write paragraphs several times about the math they are learning and how they- or someone else could use it. The goal is eventually to have students give specific math and specific applications eventually. (They are sorted binarily based on specific, or not in each category.)

Growth Mindset

They measure how students, in their essays, describe things like help-seeking, malleability, . . . Students fit into three groups:

Low group: They did not put much effort in (GPA 2.02)

Growth only: Trying hard increases performance (GPA 2.04)

Growth and strategy: They also talked about help-seeking and processes for getting better at math (GPA 2.38) NOTE: DID NOT CONTROL FOR WRITING ABILITY- DID CONTROL WITH RANDOMIZATION FOR OTHER FACTORS. The presenter brought this up withou me asking which makes me take this much more seriously.

Control GPA: 2.11 (all courses)


Baseline Men 59%, Women 68%

After intervention Men 72%, Women 64% (Not significant for women)

Utility helps most at-risk it seems.

More data is coming!


AMATYC: Non-STEM Developmental Math Course and Medieval Math

I scanned the handout from the first session. The course does not include algebra which made it not quite what I thought and not quite what we need so I left. Let me know if you are nonetheless interested in the hand out.

The session next door was about the development and preservation of math in the Medieval period. It was interesting. It was probably not worth $100 for the College. I might use the history from time to time to introduce topics- if the hand out is made available in the proceedings.

Global Numeracy, Global Change

Some QR projects are at:

These are worth a look as they include more ideas for exponential projects and expansions like delayed exponential growth (essentially Fibonacci-like), logistics ad delayed logistics.

They will need some work to use, however, as the algebra notation will probably need to be changed to match our curriculum and I would make the spreadsheet instructions less exact so the students need to think some about how to model. I’ve only looked at one unit so the scaffolding on Excel may decrease over time.