Proceedings from the 21st ACMS Conference

The Association of Christians in the Mathematical Sciences (ACMS) is pleased to announce the publication of Volume 21 of the ACMS Proceedings which can be found at the www.acmsonline.org webpage or at https://acmsonline.org/conferences/ (or click the image below).

The 21st biennial conference for the Association of Christians in the Mathematical Sciences was held at Charleston Southern University in May 2017.

 This is the first time the ACMS Proceedings have been refereed. The 22nd biennial conference will be held at Indiana Wesleyan University May 29-June 1, 2019. A call for papers for the 2019 conference will be announced in May 2018.

(My own contribution can be found at the end of the Proceedings“Cultivating Mathematical Affections through Engagement in Service Learning.” You can find my presentation here).

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John Roe (1959-2018)

At the end of March I was saddened to learn of the passing of John Roe, a professor of mathematics at Penn State University whom I had gotten to know through the Association of Christians in the Mathematical SciencesJohn moved from England to the United States in 1998 to join the math faculty at Penn State University.  Even while he was still in England, John was a ACMS member, but after his move to the US, he became increasingly active, attending the summer conferences, serving as a Board member, and speaking at one of the joint meetings receptions.
From the opening lines of his obituary:
John Roe — mathematician, teacher, rock climber, theologian, activist, and follower of Jesus — has departed from family and friends as well as the pain of cancer and has begun “a more focused time of peace and joy” with his Lord.
I felt blessed every time I interacted with John. Below is an excerpt from a post on the 20th ACMS Conference:
20th ACMS Conference Day 2

The day began with another excellent devotional from John Roe (who has graciously contributed his thoughts on GodandMath.com in the past). Personally, I feel blessed after every time I hear John Roe speak – he just has a way about him that seems infused with grace and deep spiritual understanding. John led us through Ephesians 3:14-19 with particular focus on the four dimensional analogy used by Paul:

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Some of John’s points:

  • When thinking of the love of God, don’t think in abstractions. Think of the concrete. Think of the cross.
  • Wideness – if you fold your arms across your chest this is the typical position of religion; inclusive and safe. If you stretch your arms wide open this is the position of Christ on the cross.
  • Longness – (a dimension of time perhaps) God’s patience and love are endless. God’s love wins because it endures more than we do.
  • Highness – The son of Man was lifted up. Christ does not shrink from being on display in that shameful place; He doesn’t hide.
  • Deepness – How deep Christ went – down to earth, down to the grave. How deep in our own hearts are the places that He can reach. He went there and He proclaimed freedom there.

To me, John Roe was a concrete example of the love of Christ. He will be missed here on earth but we rejoice in knowing that he is in the presence of his savior.

All to the glory of God
Succeed at home first
Communicate every day
Seek the heart of worship
Move out of the comfort zone
Teach from the heart
Prepare the ground for insight
Start with what matters most
Love alone endures

 

You can read John’s post as a guest contributor to GodandMath regarding his interest in the mathematics of sustainability: “Creation Care as a Focus for a General Mathematics Course.”

Here he is live and in person in a TEDx talk.

Mathematics for Sustainability will be published by Springer in May 2018.

ACMS 2017: Cultivating Mathematical Affections through Engagement in Service-Learning

Here is some information on my talk at the 21st ACMS Conference (2017) at Charleston Southern University.

Abstract:

Why should students value mathematics? While extensive research exists on developing the cognitive ability of students, very little research has examined how to cultivate the affections of students for mathematics. The phrase “mathematical affections” is a play on the affective domain of learning as well as on the general notion of care towards something. Mathematical affections are more than a respect for the utility of the subject; the term is much broader and includes aesthetic features as well as habits of mind and attitude.

This paper will analyze the findings from a research project exploring the impact of service-learning on the cultivation of mathematical affections in students. This was a qualitative case study of high school students who recently completed a service-learning project in their mathematics course. Data was gathered from student interviews, reflection journals, and field observations. The framework for the analysis follows the definition of “productive disposition” offered by the National Research Council (2001) as well as the concept of formative “cultural liturgies” offered by the philosopher James K.A. Smith (2009).

The major themes that emerge from the data indicate that through service-learning students see math as sensible, useful, and worthwhile. This supports the potential of service-learning as a pedagogical tool that can be utilized to develop a productive disposition in students; addressing at a practical level how the affective objectives of national policy documents can be achieved.

PowerPoint:

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References:

Goldin, G.A. (2002). Affect, meta-affect, and mathematical belief structures. In G.C. Leder, E. Pehkonen, & G. Törner (Eds.),  Beliefs: a hidden variable in mathematics education? Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 59-72.

Hadlock, C. R. (2005). Mathematics in service to the community: Concepts and models for service-learning in the mathematical sciences (No. 66). Mathematical Association of America.

Krathwohl, D.R., Bloom, B.S., & Masia, B.B. (1964). Taxonomy of educational objectives: Handbook II. Affective Domain. New York: Longman.

National Research Council (2001). Adding it up: Helping children learn mathematics. Washington D.C.: National Academy Press.

Smith, J.K.A. (2009). Desiring the kingdom: Worship, worldview, and cultural formation. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

Wilkerson, J. (2015). Cultivating Mathematical Affections: The Influence of Christian Faith on Mathematics Pedagogy. In Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, 67(2), 111-123.