A Visit from a Mathematician

With classrooms nationwide currently being held online, the American Institute of Mathematics has been offering schools the opportunity to receive a virtual visit from a mathematician, furthering educational enrichment and experience for their students. I’ve had the opportunity to visit ten different classrooms this fall, each time providing students with a math activity that feels unique and engaging.

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Visits start by introducing the activity to the students, then working to solve challenging problems. For younger students, we work together as a class throughout the whole visit. Older students go into breakout rooms where they can work with their classmates to solve problems at their own pace. These activities were adapted from Math Circle lessons, and focus on developing mathematical concepts and strategies while being fun and accessible to students of all backgrounds. Virtual manipulatives created by AIM allow students to explore and collaborate on activities in a virtual meeting application as they would in a normal classroom setting.

The presentation and experience with Mr. Javier Haro was wonderful! The Desmos lesson using "logic puzzles" on Gerrymandering was thought provoking and my kids LOVED the challenge. Our district does not allow Zoom, so we had to find a way to make it work and Mr. Haro was so flexible and a problem solver. What an excellent model for our mathematicians!
4th Grade Teacher
Las Vegas, Nevada

We offer these visits to schools identified as serving low-income communities. Before each classroom visit, we communicate with teachers in setting up a date and time that works best with the class’s schedule and set up a virtual meeting (through Zoom or their preferred meeting application). Teachers are able to choose from a selection of activities they would like to see presented to their class. 

Students showing two different solutions to a problem.​

The classroom visits have not gone without technological hiccups, but they have not stopped us from continuing to support teachers in these difficult times and have been successful. Teachers as well as their students have liked the challenging puzzles.

We had a great time. Students were very challenged and want to have more time to work with this puzzle. They would also love to do another visit with a new puzzle.
5th Grade Teacher
Hayward, California

We are still taking sign-ups for free virtual classroom visits for the current school year. All Title 1 funded schools are eligible to receive a visit. Please fill out the form here to request a visit!

About The Author

My journey as a mathematician led me to teach students of all ages! I have a bachelor’s, single-subject secondary teacher credential, and a master’s degree in mathematics from San Francisco State University (SFSU). I got to teach students at the high school level in the credential program and college students as a graduate student teacher and lecturer at SFSU. Afterwards, I started teaching elementary students for San Francisco Math Circle. To learn more about math education and learning theories, I took courses at San Diego State University (SDSU) and returned to the Bay Area to work with AIM! As an educator during this pandemic, I continue to learn how to best support students in their mathematical development and learning online through interactive virtual classroom visits!

Javier Haro on Zoom with a class from Morrill Middle School in San Jose, CA.

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