Don Steward ATM session: 5 thoughts

I’m trying a new kind of post. I went to the ATM/MA Don Steward presentation on Saturday. It was excellent, and if you get a chance to see Don speak, go. Don has uploaded his slides here. Rather than the daunting task of writing a full follow-up, I thought I’d just write my thoughts down in a quick bullet-point format.

  • It was nice to do some maths.
    Part of the session involved doing some of the activities that Don had devised. It was nice to sit with fellow professionals and actually just do some maths. Lots of interesting conversations were had.
  • Don is a master of task design
    I love the way that Don designs tasks, in both meanings of the word. His worksheets are always beautifully presented, but also very well designed to introduce concepts of generality. I love the way he might introduce something simple like

    and twist it like
    this was in an introduction to the difference of two squares.It was nice to see these tasks introduced by Don, though. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell what someone means from a task by looking at it.
  • I was struck by the importance of subject knowledge.
    Don’s activities go off on interesting tangents, often only made possible because of Don’s subject knowledge. Subject knowledge is always something to work on. We’re all always learning.
  • Sometimes, a nice visual is useful. Here’s a lovely one showing the (n-2) \times 108 rule.