Future Planning of the USAf Teaching and Learning of Mathematics Community of Practice

Professor Rajendran Govender from the University of the Western Cape presented the objectives and future plans of the Universities South Africa (USAf) Teaching and Learning of Mathematics Community of Practice (TLM CoP) at the 2-day meeting at the University of Johannesburg, 29 – 30 August 2018

R Govender

  • In accordance with the principles guiding a community of practice, the TLM CoP provides an opportunity for academics and relevant other university staff members to collaborate, network and share knowledge on issues of common interest or concern.
  • The objectives of the TLM CoP are to promote and strengthen the teaching and learning of Mathematics in public universities in South Africa by:

1.Developing and recommending strategies for the sector to ensure improved access and success in the teaching and learning of Mathematics, thus contributing directly to the transformation needs of South Africa. (session dedicated to this at the next meeting)

2.Providing a shared, common platform from which successful initiatives may be disseminated.…

By | September 6th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Radically transforming mathematics learning experiences: Lessons from the Carnegie Math Pathways

Siyaphumelela Conference 2017, The Wanders Club, Johannesburg

Andre Freedman, Capital Community College

Bernadine Chuck Fong, Carnegie Math PathwaysWhatsApp Image 2017-06-27 at 19.00.43 WhatsApp Image 2017-06-27 at 19.00.23 WhatsApp Image 2017-06-27 at 19.00.15 (1) WhatsApp Image 2017-06-27 at 19.00.15 WhatsApp Image 2017-06-27 at 18.59.54 WhatsApp Image 2017-06-27 at 18.57.16 (1) WhatsApp Image 2017-06-27 at 18.57.16 WhatsApp Image 2017-06-27 at 18.38.22 WhatsApp Image 2017-06-27 at 18.37.57 WhatsApp Image 2017-06-27 at 18.37.41 Andre Freedman and Bernadine Chuck Fong

Workshop goals:

  • Learn about the design, goals, implementations of Carnegie Math Pathways
  • Experience Pathways lessons
  • Engage in design tasks to improve student success in maths and college
  • Engage in conversations about professional learning to address issues and concerns that are specific to local contexts

Faculty had to learn new ways to teaching maths, there had to be ‘buy in’ for it to be successful.

How to radically transform outcomes for all mathematics students?

  • Completion
  • persistence
  • quality of learning (e.g. students can explain what a function is years after taking a maths course)
  • identities of learning (students see themselves as someone who can do maths).

Make maths a Gateway not a Gatekeeper.


  • Acceleration: Rather not have 3 developmental courses (pre-algebra, algebra1, 2) before taking the required course
  • Problem-centered curriculum
  • Student-focused, collaborative pedagogy
  • ‘Productive Persistence’ interventions / practices to give students belief that they can succeed
  • Language and literacy supports
  • Train faculty so they can feel comfortable about the new approach
  • Use networking to support staff to get running and sustain change
  • Keep cohort together for 2 semesters in classes of 30 – 40, or as one institution did teach the 2 semesters in one term (quarter of a year) with about 5 hours a day and one other course -success rate was very high at 78%.
By | September 5th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Shuttleworth Postgraduate Scholarship Programme


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By | August 23rd, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Is MAM1000W Making You Anxious?

Hello, my name is Jeremy :-)

I am new to the MAM1000W team of tutors – if you want to read more about my background you can take a look at my bio in the MAM1000W document on Vula. In short, I returned to UCT last year to do my second undergraduate degree, a BSc in Applied Maths and Computer Science, at 25 years old, after not doing any maths for seven years. In the beginning, I found MAM1000W really hard; the pace of the content and the tutorials made me anxious and when test one came around I scored 50%. More anxiety. Luckily I have a great support system (inside and outside the Math department) and with some good advice and determination, I was able to figure out a new, way of studying and managing my time that worked better for me. When it came time for test 2, despite being super stressed out, I scored 81%.…

By | July 22nd, 2018|Uncategorized|1 Comment

The Recamán sequence

In case you have watched the following video about the Recamán sequence.

and want to play around with it in Mathematica. Here is my code for doing so:

nums = {0};

For[i = 1, i < 66, i++,
If[nums[[-1]] – i > 0 && Position[nums, nums[[-1]] – i] === {}, nums = Append[nums, nums[[-1]] – i],
nums = Append[nums, nums[[-1]] + i]]

{{#[[1]], 0}, #[[2]]} & /@ Partition[Riffle[Mean[#] & /@ Partition[Riffle[nums, nums[[2 ;;]]], 2],
Abs[Differences[nums]]/2], 2];

Table[Graphics[Circle[%[[i, 1]], %[[i, 2]], {(i) \[Pi], (i + 1) \[Pi]}]], {i, Length[%]}], ImageSize -> 1000], Plot[0, {x, 0, 91}],
Axes -> True]

(You may have to copy this by hand rather than copy/paste.)

This produces the following rather beautiful graphic (and answers the question posed in the video):

RecamanEvidence away my dear Watson…evidence away.

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By | June 14th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

PDE: Physics, Math and Common Sense. Part I: Conservation Law

Source: CFDIinside blog


The course of Partial differential equations (PDEs) usually is a tough one. There is a number of factors contributing to this toughness:

  • PDE course combines the knowledge from calculus, algebra, ordinary differential equations (ODEs), complex analysis and functional analysis. Simply put, there is a lot that you need to know about!
  • PDE methods often (or should I say, mostly?) come from physics, but this aspect is not always emphasized and, as a result, the intuition is lost.
  • There is lots of abstraction in the PDE course material: characteristics, generalized functions (distributions), eigenfunctions, convolutions and etc. Many of these concepts actually have simple interpretations, but again, this is not emphasized.
  • PDEs themselves are tough. In contrast to ODEs, there are no general methods for all kinds of PDEs. The field is young and a bit messy.

This series of posts aims to demystify PDEs and show some general way of handling PDE problems by combining physical intuition and mathematical methods.…

By | May 21st, 2018|Level: intermediate, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Advice for MAM1000W students from former MAM1000W students – part 4

In high school, as I believe was the case for many students, there wasn’t much incentive to work very hard regularly on math – concepts were easy to grasp first hand in class. That’s the kind of attitude I brought towards MAM1000W last year (2017). Unfortunately things didn’t turn out as anticipated…by as early as April I had already started playing “catch-up” for I hadn’t been putting in any practice on the staff done in class. Tests were nightmares. With every course demanding its share of my attention, I found myself crying the other day alone in my room, asking myself, “what went wrong?”. Well, the answer was pretty simple – EVERYTHING.

Eventually, I figured a way to potentially get back on my feet – I became a very good friend of my WebAssign voluntary quizzes. In combination with past papers (WHICH I HIGHLY RECOMMEND) and the daily uploaded ‘practice questions and solutions’, I was able to gain back some bit of confidence.

By | May 9th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Advice for MAM1000W students from former MAM1000W students – parts 2 and 3

Part 2:

So one thing that really helped me was having a partner in tuts. We would do the tuts as far as we could and we would then try to help one another in the tuts and ask the tutors for help if there was a difference in opinion.

Another thing that helped studying, going through past papers and tuts were so important.

If I was ever stuck and couldn’t really understand the textbook I would go on YouTube and watch a guy named Professor Leonard.  He’s videos are super long but extremely helpful and worth your time.

And last but not least, it’s important that you try your best to work everyday with maths because once you fall behind its difficult to catch up. Even if you do just one problem a day I promise it will help In the future.

and part 3:


I would suggest to MAM1 students that they should not fall behind the maths syllabus if they have tests in other subjects because it is very difficult to catch it up and requires much more effort than one thinks.…

By | May 8th, 2018|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Advice for MAM1000W students from former MAM1000W students – part 1

This is the first in a series of posts where I will be putting up the sage words of advice of former MAM1000W. Often, these students struggled their way through the course, before making a breakthrough in their study methods. I hope that maybe it will be easier to listen to students who have been through the struggle, than the advice of lecturers who seem to know it all (though I promise you, we do not!).

Here is the first:


As an Actuarial Science student I was aiming for 70% last year. I clearly remember that at orientation I asked some of the older ActSci students at orientation what they had done when they scored below what they needed to. I was so shocked, and a little scared when the group I asked said they never had. I wasn’t worries at this stage though because I thought I’d done well at maths at school, and I’d do well at maths here.…

By | May 8th, 2018|Uncategorized|3 Comments

Hypatia, The Life and Legend of an Ancient Philosopher – by Edward J. Watts, a review by Henri Laurie

Review written by Henri Laurie.

This is an important book for anybody interested in the history of mathematics and in the history of women intellectuals.

To recap very briefly: Hypatia is well-known as the mathematician/philosopher who was murdered by a Christian mob in 415 CE in Alexandria. She is one of the best-attested woman philosophers in the Greek tradition.

Watts turns this on its head: he tells the story of a life, one of singular achievement, and one in which the manner of death is not the most important part. The picture he paints is of a very remarkable woman, who became the head of her father’s school at a relatively young age and came to dominate the scholarly activity of her city, at the time one of the three most important centres of learning in the Mediterranean.

It is important to realise that although women did study philosophy at the time, and therefore also mathematics, which was seen as preparation for philosophy, very few of them were able to continue well into adulthood.…

By | May 6th, 2018|Uncategorized|2 Comments