Mathematics Awareness Week (April 21-27, 1996) will be here
before you know it. Have you started to plan? It's time to
get ready now.
The theme for 1996 is "Mathematics and Decision Making." The
Joint Policy Board for Mathematics selected this all-
encompassing theme which includes many exciting subthemes
such as forecasting, prediction, uncertainty, probability,
and risk assessment and analysis. Think of all the
directions possible for events highlighting this theme.
At the planning meeting for MathConn 96 (the eighth
mathematics awareness day for seventh and eighth grade girls
and their teachers at Cedar Crest College in Allentown, PA)
the advisory board members were inspired and offered many
suggestions. Invite a meteorologist from a local TV station
to discuss forecasting, prediction, and probability with
weather. Students and all of us want to know if it is going
to rain or snow, or if there are hurricanes coming. On what
basis are weather predictions made?
Consider risk assessment and analysis and think of financial
planning, college admissions, insurance companies, and
actuaries. Budgeting and investing are important to people
of all countries and cultures. Invite a Representative or
someone from the Congressional Budget Office. What powerful
examples of mathematics in the real world! Invite an
actuary, an analyst, or a financial planner to illustrate
how their companies make decisions that affect all of us in
our daily lives.
Uncertainty leads to fuzzy logic, which is being used in
Japan for applications from washing machine design to public
transit systems. Students are intrigued by the term "fuzzy
logic" and would enjoy learning what it is and how it is
In planning MathConn 96, we invited as special presenter
Dean Ted Hartz of the College of Business at Kutztown
University; he will present a futuristic view into the
changes and advances brought about by technology as we enter
the twenty-first century. Kirstin Border, Miss Pennsylvania
1994-95, will be the keynote speaker for students. Kirstin
uses mathematics to make decisions in the course of her work
as an advertising account executive at White, Good and
Company where she manages fashion, retail furnishings, and
publishing accounts. Carla Schultes, Assistant Professor of
Mathematics and Computer Science at Salisbury State
University, will present the keynote address for teachers
about decision-making related to teaching students. Other
presenters include the marketing director of the Lehigh
Valley Mall, an investment and retirement planner from Dean
Witter Reynolds Inc., a senior engineer from the National
Security Agency, the director of the Delaware State Police
Crime Lab, and many engineers and statisticians from Air
Products and Chemicals, Inc.
At MathConn 95, the special presenter was Doris
Schattschneider (Moravian College), First Vice President of
the MAA and winner of one of the first MAA Awards for
Distinguished Teaching of College or University Mathematics.
The 1995 MAW theme was "Mathematics and Symmetry," and the
logical choice for speaker on this theme was Doris. She
sounded the theme throughout the day, beginning with an
enthusiastic presentation on "Symmetry: It's All around Us."
This included slides illustrating a variety of symmetries
which in turn were also demonstrated by Cedar Crest College
Dancers to show isometries in three-dimensional space --
truly symmetry in motion. Doris emphasized how symmetry is
"a pervasive and powerful mathematical concept that shapes
our understanding of all we see and make." Doris then
engaged the students in a Symmetry Treasure Hunt to find
instances of translation, rotation, glide-rotation,
reflection, glide-reflection, and rotary-reflection in the
building. At the end of the day, prizes were given to the
winning schools in the Symmetry Treasure Hunt. Throughout
the day, many presentations included symmetry as a main
theme. Some of these were: "Symmetric Construction,"
"Symmetry around and inside Us," "Architectural Symmetry,"
and "Statistical Symmetry." But Doris was the symmetry star
of the day.
Johanna Miller, a MathConn 89 alumna and senior at Southern
Lehigh High School, presented "Beyond Algebra" as a keynote
address for students. Dana May Latch, Program Director for
the NSF Division of Computer and Computing Research,
presented "Opportunities for Junior High School Mathematics
and Computer Science Teachers Available through NSF," the
keynote address for teachers.
We hope that you enjoy the 1996 Mathematics Awareness theme
and bring "Mathematics and Decision Making" alive in your
-- Regina Baron Brunner, RCBRUNNE@ccc-s.cedarcrest.edu.
Back to MathConn 96