Research: Learning algebra from Instagram

Stock photo of a student working a math problem on a blackboardCan students learn algebra from Instagram and video games?

SMU teaching researcher Candace Walkington thinks so. And her new study, funded by the National Academy of Education, will test the idea.

“In previous work, I found that students draw upon rich algebraic ways of reasoning when pursuing their out-of-school interests in areas like sports, social networking and video games,” says Walkington, an assistant professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development. “Making connections to these topics in algebra class can improve long-term understanding of algebraic ideas.”

The new study asks pre-algebra middle school students in the Dallas Independent School District to author their own algebra stories based on their personal interests. They will describe how linear relationships approximate what they encounter in their everyday lives, such as how they accumulate followers on Instagram or score points in a video game over time, says Walkington, whose research focus is evidence-based effective teaching. About 200 pre-algebra students in eight classrooms at DISD schools are participating in the study.

Based on results from earlier research, Walkington hypothesizes that authoring the stories will elicit students’ interest in the content to be learned by drawing on their knowledge about home and community.

Algebra is a gatekeeper to many careers and to higher-level mathematics, making it critical for students to master, Walkington says – but students struggle to understand the abstract representations.

“Students often can’t see the connection between their world and algebra,” she says. “Exploring ways to connect math to their lives, experiences and knowledge is critical for making it accessible and captivating. That’s especially true when considering students from diverse backgrounds.”

A pilot version of the study begins in spring 2015. The full study starts in fall 2015.

Walkington was awarded the grant as part of the Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship Program of the National Academy of Education. The $55,000 grant supports early career scholars working in critical areas of education research.

Written by Margaret Allen

> Read the full story at the SMU Research blog

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Sports: Rachel Nicol posts nation’s fastest breaststroke time, named AAC Women’s Swimmer of the Week

nicolWomen’s Swimming and Diving: Senior Rachel Nicol and sophomore Tara-Lynn Nicholas swept the breaststroke heats to help lead the women’s swimming and diving team to a third-place finish at the 21st annual SMU Classic on Saturday, Oct. 18 in Lewisville, Texas. Nicol received the season’s first American Athletic Conference Women’s Swimmer of the Week after posting the nation’s top time in the 100-yard breaststroke, winning the event with a time of 1:00:18. She also won the 200-yard heat with a time of 2:10.11, which is good for second in the nation. . The Mustangs also closed the event with a win in the 200-yard freestyle relay. SMU closes out the month against Rice on Friday, Oct. 31 at 7 p.m. CT at the Mansfield Natatorium.

Men’s Soccer: The men’s soccer team dropped their first American Athletic Conference match of the season in a 1-0 loss to Tulsa on Wednesday, Oct. 22. The Golden Hurricanes scored early, leaving SMU with plenty of time to equalize the game, but the  Mustangs could not capitalize. Freshman goalkeeper Michael Nelson made a season-high eight saves. SMU continues their road trip in Storrs, Connecticut against UConn on Saturday, Oct. 25 at 6 p.m. CT.

bryceclarkFreshman Bryce Clark (pictured right) and junior Idrissa Camara (pictured below) earned league honors for their efforts in an exciting, 2-2 draw between No. 21 SMU and No. 24 South Florida at Westcott Field on Saturday, Oct. 18. Clark was named Rookie of the Week, and Camara landed a spot on the Weekly Honor Roll. soccerThe Mustangs had to come from behind on two occasions after sophomore USF midfielder Marcus Epps netted two goals in the 21st and 63rd minutes. SMU was silenced until the 61st minute, when Clark scored the equalizer on a 30-yard free kick. The Mustangs, who outshot the Bulls 11-2 in the second half, scored on another free kick off the head of Camara. He leads the team with six goals this season. Neither squad was able to find the golden goal in overtime, and both left the field with a point in the standings.

dishkova,vernerWomen’s Tennis: Junior Hristina Dishkova and senior Holly Verner (both pictured left) had their run at the ITA Texas Regional end in the semifinals of the doubles draw on Sunday, Oct. 19, as they fell to TCU’s Seda Arantekin and Stefanie Tan; 6-4, 6-2. Dishkova, junior Vaszilisza Bulgakova and sophomore Dasha Sharapova all had their singles runs end in the round of 32. The Mustangs will return to action on Friday, Oct. 31 at the Houston Invitational.

kasjievsMen’s Tennis: Senior Arturs Kazijevs (pictured right) and junior Nate Lammons each won two matches at the USTA-ITA Texas Regional Championships on Sunday, Oct. 19 in College Station, Texas. Kazijevs began the tournament as the No. 9 seed, and reached the round of 16 before his tournament run ended in a three-set loss to Texas Tech’s Felipe Soares. The Mustangs compete again in the Larry Easley Memorial Classic in Las Vegas that begins on Saturday, Nov. 1.

Volleyball: Senior Caroline Young (pictured left) showed that she has returned to form with her second double-double in as many games in a 3-0 win over East Carolina at Moody Coliseum on Sunday, Oct. 19. Young recorded 11 kills and 10 digs just two weeks after an ankle injury removed her from a match against Memphis. youngJunior Abbey Bybel finished the match with 10 kills and 12 digs, posting her ninth double-double of the season, and junior Avery Acker tallied 38 assists and a team-high 13 digs for her team-best 15th double-double of the year. SMU is now 16-4 on the year, with an impressive 10-1 record at home. The Mustangs begin a four-match road trip against Temple on Friday, Oct. 24 at 6 p.m. CT in Philadelphia.

souzaCross Country: The cross country team finished 23rd in a highly competitive 38-school field at the Wisconsin Invitational in Madison, Wisconsin on Friday, Oct. 17. The race featured 22 teams ranked in the latest USTFCCCA poll. Sophomore Agnes Sjöström (20:29) and junior Shanoah Souza (20:46; pictured left) both recorded personal best times and finished in the top 60 of the 265-runner field. The Mustangs finished ahead of four ranked teams including No. 23 Providence, the defending national champions. SMU takes a week off before the American Athletic Conference Championships on Friday, Oct. 31 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Mustangs seek their fourth consecutive conference title and their sixth of the past seven years.

NCAA Football: Cincinnati at Southern MethodistFootball: SMU dropped its sixth straight game in a 41-3 loss to the Cincinnati Bearcats at Ford Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 18. The 0-6 start is the program’s worst since they went 1-11 in 2008. Cody Rademacher’s 29-yard field goal late in the first quarter cut the Cincinnati lead to 6-3, but SMU surrendered 22 points in the second quarter. The Mustangs host the Memphis Tigers on Saturday, Oct. 25 at 11 a.m. CT as part of SMU Family Weekend. The game will air on ESPNews.

JACOBSWomen’s Soccer: Missed opportunities plagued the women’s soccer team in a 2-0 loss to East Carolina on Sunday, Oct. 19 in Greenville, North Carolina. Sophomore Kelsey Gorney’s shot in the 20th minute missed wide, followed by a shot ripped by midfielder Paige Jacobs (pictured left) from 25 yards out in the 28th minute that deflected off the crossbar. In the 42nd minute, freshman Diana Kay Manley, who made her first appearance of the year, fired a shot towards the upper right corner, but Pirates goalkeeper Erika Lenns made a diving, one-handed save.

The problems continued in a 2-1 loss to Tulsa at Westcott Field on Thursday, Oct. 23. Senior Olivia Elliott, playing forward for the first time this season, sent in a threatening cross in the fifth minute that barely missed the outstretched foot of Gorney. Elliot also missed wide right on two shots in the 11th and 12th minutes. Down 2-0 in the 84th minute, Elliot finally found the back of the net on a header. SMU pressured in the final minutes, but could not level the score. The Mustangs host Memphis in their season finale on Sunday, Oct. 26 at 1 p.m. CT.

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$1.5 million gift establishes SMU endowed chair in the legal rights and protection of children

Jack D. Knox

Jack D. Knox ’60, ’63

A $1.5 million gift from North Texas business leader Jack D. Knox ’60 ’63 will establish a new endowed professorship in SMU’s Dedman School of Law.

The Jack Knox Chair in the Rights and Protection of Children will support teaching, research and publishing on legal issues related to protecting the welfare and legal rights of children.

“Jack Knox’s gift will enable the law school to further its teaching and scholarship on children’s rights,” said SMU Judge James Noel Dean and Professor of Law Jennifer M. Collins. Dean Collins joined the Law School in July 2014 as an academic leader and nationally recognized scholar on the intersection of family and criminal law. “Endowment gifts like this provide critical support for our commitment to excellence in the classroom and continued cutting-edge, impactful work by our faculty.”

“We are deeply grateful to Mr. Knox for his gift, which not only will make a difference in the lives of children but also will advance the academic offerings of one of the nation’s top law schools,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Our law graduates will be more aware of the important social and personal issues affecting children and will be trained in protecting their legal rights.”

Knox, a native of Weatherford, Texas, received a B.A. degree in English from SMU in 1960 and a J.D. degree from what is now Dedman School of Law in 1963. In 2011, Knox was honored with the Robert G. Storey Award for Distinguished Achievement, the highest honor bestowed by the Law School. He is general partner of Six Flags Over Texas Fund Ltd., a private limited investment group overseeing real estate assets of Six Flags Over Texas. He also is owner of Café Pacific Restaurants Inc., parent company of the popular restaurant, which has been based in Dallas’ Highland Park Village for 34 years.

“It’s an honor to help my alma mater empower the next generation of legal professionals by providing them with a strong understanding of what the issues are and the knowledge and drive to develop better laws and policies to protect children’s welfare and rights,” Knox said.

The Jack Knox Chair counts toward the $1 billion goal of SMU Unbridled: The Second Century Campaign, and advances the campaign’s goal to reach 110 endowed faculty positions. To date the campaign has raised more than $902 million to support student quality, faculty and academic excellence and the campus experience.

Written by Denise Gee

> Read the full story from SMU News

 

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Gerald J. Ford to speak at SMU’s 2014 December Commencement on Dec. 20

Blue mortarboards at SMU December Commencement 2013. Photo by Guy RogersThe SMU community will celebrate the graduation of more than 600 students at its 2014 December Commencement Convocation on Saturday, Dec. 20. Entrepreneur and SMU Trustee Gerald J. Ford ’66, ’69 will give the address.

Ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m. in Moody Coliseum with a student and faculty procession. Doors to the staging area in the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports open at 8:30 a.m., when formal portrait sessions will begin. Processional groups begin forming at 9:15 a.m.; doors close at 9:40 a.m.

Prior to the ceremony, there will be a faculty breakfast at 8:45 a.m. in the Miller Champions Club, Moody Coliseum. The Champions Club is located inside the new wing of Moody on Binkley Avenue. The faculty should assemble in academic dress no later than 9:45 a.m. in the Champions Club. RSVP for the Faculty Breakfast online or call 214-768-3417.

> Complete information for December Commencement candidates, guests and faculty from the SMU Registrar

The December Commencement Convocation is a formal ceremony open to degree candidates from all of SMU’s schools and professional programs. All participants must wear academic regalia; students without regalia will be directed to the SMU Bookstore to rent a cap and gown. No honor ribbons or other decorations or adornments may be worn to this ceremony, including messages or images on mortarboards.

Find complete rules for regalia at the University Registrar’s homepage

Gerald J. Ford

Gerald J. Ford

Gerald J. Ford is chairman of the board and principal shareholder of both the Diamond A Ford Corporation and Hilltop Holdings Inc., a Texas-based diversified financial holding company. He also is the co-managing member and principal investor in Ford Financial Fund II LP, a private equity firm.

Ford also is an owner of thoroughbred horse breeding and racing operations in Kentucky and California, and a working ranch in New Mexico. He is the former chairman of the board, CEO, and a principal shareholder of Golden State Bancorp Inc., and its wholly owned subsidiary, California Federal Bank FSB, a Federal Savings Bank that merged with Citigroup in 2002.

In October 2013, Ford and his wife, Kelli O. Ford, and The Gerald J. Ford Family Foundation committed $15 million as the lead gift to construct an SMU research center. The new state-of-the-art building will support research facilitated by SMU’s high-performance computing capabilities, among other projects. Previously, Ford has provided gifts for Gerald J. Ford Stadium, the Circle of Champions Centennial Challenge, and the Gerald J. Ford Research Fellows Program, which annually honors outstanding faculty members with funding to support their research and creative endeavors.

He is a member of the SMU Board of Trustees and a former Board chair, a member of the Executive Board of Dedman School of Law, a member of the Campaign Leadership Council and currently is the convening co-chair of SMU’s Second Century Campaign.

Ford earned a B.A. degree in economics from Dedman College in 1966 and a J.D. degree from what is now the Dedman School of Law in 1969. He was honored with SMU’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1995 and the Mustang Award in 1997 recognizing significant philanthropic contributions to the University. He received the Dedman School of Law’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2002.

> Learn more about Gerald J. Ford

The ceremony lasts about two hours. No guest tickets are required, and free parking will be available throughout the campus. Find more information for students and guests at SMU’s December Commencement homepage: smu.edu/DecemberCommencement.

Faculty participation information
Complete instructions for candidates
Information for guests, including maps, travel discounts and more
Information for guests with disabilities
December Commencement simulcast and photo information

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Faculty in the News: Oct. 7-20, 2014

George Holden, SMU Professor of Psychology

George Holden, SMU professor of psychology

George Holden, Psychology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, was featured in The Christian Science Monitor in an article examining corporal punishment. The article appeared on Oct. 20, 2014.

Bernard Weinstein, Maguire Energy Institute, Cox School of Business, published a news article regarding Canada’s recent increase in oil exports to the Star-Telegram. The article appeared Oct. 16, 2014.

Benjamin Phrampus, Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, discussed the possible relation of gas explosions and the Bermuda Triangle with LifeScience. The article appeared on Oct. 14, 2014.

Cal Jillson, Political Science, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, provided commentary for The New York Times in an article entitled “An Ad With a Wheelchair Shakes Up the Texas Governor’s Race.” The article appeared Oct. 13, 2014.

Bruce Bullock, Director of the Maguire Energy Institute, SMU

Bruce Bullock, director of SMU’s Maguire Energy Institute

Will Power, Theatre Artist-in-Residence, Meadows School of the Arts, received 11 AUDELCO nominations for his production Fetch Clay, Make Man. As part of the New York Theatre Workshop, Power’s production tells the story of Cassius Clay as the heavyweight boxing champion forms an unlikely friendship during the days leading up to one his most anticipated fights. News of Power’s nominations were features on Backstage Pass with Lia Chang on Oct. 12, 2014.

Bruce Bullock, Maguire Energy Institute, Cox School of Business, was featured in an article in The New York Times discussing the technology of liquid gas. The article was published on Oct. 7, 2014.

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SMU faculty, staff to join Interfaith Housing Coalition for 2014 Stampede of Service Nov. 7

Interfaith Housing Coalition Dallas logoTo kick off the weekend that precedes Homecoming 2014, SMU faculty and staff members will participate in a volunteer day as part of the University’s annual Stampede of Service.

Volunteers will meet at United Way partner agency Interfaith Housing Coalition (IHC) from 8:30 a.m.-noon Friday, Nov. 7. The SMU group will help perform move-in preparation in IHC apartments for working poor families transitioning out of homelessness.

To volunteer, sign up online through SMU’s United Way Day of Impact page. Watch SMU Forum for more information about Stampede of Service 2014.

> Learn more about SMU service opportunities at smu.edu/volunteer

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Meadows Theatre main stage season continues with Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls through Oct. 26, 2014

SMU Meadows Theatre production of Caryl Churchill's 'Top Girls,' October 2014, photo by Kim Leeson

SMU Meadows Theatre presents Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls, directed by Professor of Theatre Rhonda Blair, through Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014. Photo credit: Kim Leeson

Meadows Theatre continues its 2014-15 season with a new production of Caryl Churchill’s 1982 reflection on what it means to be a successful woman, declared by arts writer Mark Ravenhill to be “the best play in 20 years.”

Top Girls, directed by Professor of Theatre Rhonda Blair, will run through Sunday, Oct. 26 in the Margo Jones Theatre, Owen Arts Center. Tickets are $7 each for SMU faculty, staff and students. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early, as there will be no late seating.

> Buy tickets to the Meadows Theatre production of Top Girls online

Set in early-1980s Great Britain (and influenced by Margaret Thatcher’s celebration of individualistic achievement), the story focuses on Marlene, the newly promoted managing director of the Top Girls employment agency. A tough career woman who has buried her own empathy in pursuit of success, Marlene habitually exploits other women to get ahead – including her sister Joyce, who is charged with tending to their family responsibilities alone. Through their opposing points of view, Churchill critically examines a model of women’s achievement built on attributes traditionally regarded as “masculine” and questions whether it is possible for women to enjoy success in both career and family life.

The play features a famous opening sequence in which Marlene meets notable women from history and myth, including Pope Joan, Victorian traveler Isabella Bird, 13th-century Japanese courtesan-turned-Buddhist-nun Lady Nijo, Patient Griselda from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and Dull Gret, the harrower of hell from Flemish folklore. The play also explores the commonalities these historical women have with Marlene and her circle.

> Find behind-the-scenes photos from Top Girls at the SMU Meadows Theatre homepage

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Staff Association presents 2014 Variety Show Tuesday, Oct. 28

SMUSA Variety Show 2014The SMU Staff Association (SMUSA) presents its 2014 Staff Variety Show on Tuesday, Oct. 28, and seats are still available. Hosted by the award-winning Jenna Skyy, the luncheon and performances begin at noon in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom.

The luncheon costs $9.99 per person and features turkey and Havarti sandwiches, house-made parmesan chips, fruit salad, lemon bars, iced tea and coffee. SMUSA is accepting luncheon RSVPs and online payment at this link.

A separate online RSVP link is available for attendees who prefer to pay with cash or check, or who plan to attend the show but not the luncheon.

> Check out the SMU Staff Association’s calendar of events online

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Calendar Highlights: Oct. 22, 2014

15210Contested Spaces of Early America: The William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies presents “Contested Spaces of Early America” Wednesday, Oct. 22 at 6 p.m. in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall. The event will celebrate the publication of Contested Spaces of Early Americaan edited collection of scholarly essays supported by the Clements Center and honoring the pioneering work of David J. Weber (1940-2001), former SMU Dedman History Professor. Although this event is free and open to the public, seating is limited. E-mail the Clements Center to RSVP or call 214-768-3684.

Tower Center Monthly Seminar: As part of the Tower Center Monthly SeminarPaul Avery will discuss “Tempting Fate: Interests, Red Lines and Conflict in Nuclear Monopoly.” Avery is a postdoctoral fellow at the SMU Tower Center for Political Studies, who prior to joining the Tower Center was a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow in the Security Studies Program at MIT. The seminar will take place Wednesday, Oct. 22 at 3 p.m. in 227 Carr Collins Hall. While the event is free and open to the public, attendees are encouraged to RSVP.

Public Lecture on “Jews and Muslims in Christian America”: Sponsored by the Weatherred Memorial Fund and the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute, religious historian Charles L. Cohen will discuss “Jews and Muslims in Christian America.” This event will take place Thursday, Oct. 23, 4 p.m., in 100 Hyer Hall. For more information please contact Richard Cogley or Katherine Engel.

Juan Muñoz, Seated Figure Looking Backwards, 1996

Juan Muñoz, Seated Figure Looking Backwards, 1996

Museum Evening Lecture: Led by independent scholar and consultant Charlie Wylie, Meadows Museum presents “Juan Muñoz, Looking Back” Thursday, Oct. 23 at 6 p.m. in the Bob Smith Auditorium. This lecture will examine Juan Muñoz’s (1953-2001) Seated Figure Looking Backwards (1996), a recent gift from the Barrett Collection.  For more information call 214-768-4677.

Family Weekend 2014: Sponsored by the Student Foundation and organized by the Family Weekend committee, SMU Family Weekend 2014 will take place Oct. 24-26. Family members from across the nation will “Follow the Clues to SMU” for this three-day event to experience campus life. Stay updated with everything Family Weekend by connecting with Student Foundation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Engaged Learning Symposium: SMU’s Fall 2014 Engaged Learning Symposium will feature the work of twenty-five students in research, service, creative and internship programs. The event takes place Friday, Oct. 24, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center.

The Unstoried Life: The Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute’s “The Situated Self” Annual Fellows Seminar presents University of Texas at Austin Professor Galen Strawson in a discussion of “The Unstoried Life.” Taking place Friday, Oct. 24 at 1 p.m. in 233 Umphrey Lee Center, this lecture features the question of: “Should ethically serious people seek unity in their lives?” For more information please contact Elizabeth Fielding or visit the DCII webpage.

Product Quality-Proliferation and Differentiation in Export Markets: Assistant Professor Maia Linask from the University of Richmond will present her recent work in the area of industrial organization and international trade. This event will take place Friday, Oct. 24, 2 p.m., in 303 Umphrey Lee Center.  For more information, please visit the Department of Economics homepage.

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Pony up! SMU TollTags now available from NTTA

SMU TollTag imageSMU fans can now display Mustang spirit wherever they go with a TollTag from the North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA).

The new tags, featuring the University’s popular running-mustang image, are the latest addition to the NTTA’s team and collegiate TollTag series.

“I have been a TollTag owner since 1989 and I am thrilled to have a new SMU TollTag as I travel across Texas,” said Alumni Board Chair Leslie Melson ’77. “I encourage all SMU friends, family and alumni to join me in this great opportunity to show Mustang pride on the road.”

Existing TollTag customers can exchange old TollTags for SMU-branded tags at any NTTA service center for no additional cost. Visit ntta.org for service center locations or call 972-818-6882 to request an exchange.

Anyone who does not yet have a TollTag can get an SMU tag at Parking and ID Card Services, 6116 North Central Expressway, Suite 101, from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. TollTag accounts can be opened for a standard $40, or $20 for infrequent toll-road drivers.

New SMU-branded tags are also available at NTTA service centers.

SMU TollTags can be used for parking at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Dallas Love Field, as well as on any toll road in Texas and Oklahoma, including the new TEXpress Lanes.

Learn more about TollTags at ntta.org

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