All about math department projects and events.

Origami in Japan!

John Montroll's Grasshopper
John Montroll’s Grasshopper

Origami is one of the primary reasons I have devoted my life to mathematics. When I was 5, my parents gave me my first Origami books and I was immediately hooked. I can remember waking up early every morning to fold all sorts of models. The geometry, logic,  necessary dexterity, and focus were all mesmerizing.

Origami has been a constant in just about all of my math courses. We have constructed specific angles in Geometry,  studied complex surface area and volume questions with the help of modular Origami in Multivariable Calculus, and worked on edge connectivity problems in Algebra 2. There are seemingly infinite numbers of ways to work Origami into just about any math lesson! You can read about a recent class module right here: Star Project Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

Star folding!
Star folding!

Not only can Origami be applied almost anywhere in math, it’s incredibly fun. We’re only a few weeks into class and I’ve already had several students approach me to ask about when we’ll be folding. I can’t wait to get started with this year’s students!

Last fall, as part of my quest to learn as much as I can about Origami, I sat down with one of the world leaders of Math and Origami, Dr. Thomas Hull, Associate Professor at Western New England University and author of Project Origami: Activities for Exploring Mathematics. Dr. Hull was, as expected, provided an absolute wealth of information! We spoke about how to best design Origami lessons, how to choose topics, as well as his recent sabbatical trip to Japan. His input was invaluable in helping me design my Williston professional development application to travel to Japan and study Origami!

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-11-04-02-amWilliston accepted my proposal and  I was able to travel to Japan in August to attend the Origami Tanteidan in Tokyo. Needless to say, I had an incredible time!

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Math Resource Center – Fall 2016

This just in from Mrs. Hill:

Hello everyone,

My name is Mrs. Hill, and this year I am coordinating the Mathematics Resource Center. We now have a whole gang of wonderfully helpful, articulate, and supportive math tutors who are ready and willing to help you in the MRC! In fact, we have so many tutors this year that we will be able to offer expanded hours, so that hopefully everyone can make use of this facility. If you have a bunch of questions before a test, or if you just want to feel like you have some support while you get your math assignment done, these are the perfect people to ask.

Also, this year, I will be spending time in the Math Resource Center helping out as well, In fact if you look at the schedule, you’ll see that I will be at the MRC a number of times over the two week cycle. So if you are a little nervous about asking another student for help, you can come find me instead! 

The Math Resource Center is located at the end of the hall on the second floor of the Schoolhouse (room 28), so come by soon,

Mrs. Hill


Ms. Smith is published!

Mia Smith
Mia Smith

This just in from Ms. Smith:

I just found out that the knot theory research and paper I did last summer will be published. It’s my first paper! It is appearing the Journal of Knot Theory and Its Ramifications sometime this winter. If you’re curious, the paper is archived online here. (But no, we did not sneak in any (k)not theory puns.)

Please join me in congratulating Ms. Smith!

Also, while you’re at it, everyone should check out Ms. Smith’s awesome bulletin display now up in the math department hallway:

Two new family members!

The math department is happy to be adding two new members to our family this year!

Please make sure to say hi to them as you see them around campus!

Katy Briedis
Katy Briedis

Katy Briedis joins the Williston faculty from Cushing Academy where she taught math and was a coach and a dorm parent. As a Cushing graduate she knows independent boarding schools. She will coach lacrosse and work in the athletic performance program. Katy has a B.A. in Mathematics from SUNY Potsdam and an MBA from Averett University. Katy lives at 30 Center St.

Mia Smith
Mia Smith

Mia Smith graduated from Williams College this spring with a B.A. in Mathematics. She has been very involved in math communities both at Williams and beyond. She was a member of the Math Student Advisory Board at Williams, and her work also included MathCamps, a summer boarding program for exceptional math scholars around the world. At Williston Mia will teach math, coach cross country and lacrosse, and serve as a dorm parent. Mia lives in Logan House.

Constructing Ellipses

This just in from Ms. Anderson:

My Honors Precalculus class doing an exploration on how the eccentricity of an ellipse affects its shape. As they explored different ellipses with the same ‘a’ value, and determined that an ellipse with an eccentricity closer to 0 looks more like a circle, they had to analyze why that was the case by looking at the value of b as c approached zero.

You can try the activity yourself using this handout!

Solids of Revolution Project

This just in from Mrs. McCullagh:

For the last few days in Calculus, with help from Mr. Roe in the Art Department, my classes built models as part of a project exploring solids of revolution. Partners were assigned an equation, asked to sketch and graph that equation and then find the volume of the solid that would be created by revolving that graph around the x-axis. They needed to sketch and estimate the volume if filled with only four cylinders, then find the estimated volume if filled with eight cylinders using a computer generated model. Using Calculus they were able to find the actual volume and compare it with their estimates. Next they needed to create a three dimensional model of their solid using wire and foam core. On the last day of classes they presented their project to their classmates. The projects were on display in the Reed Center in time for graduation for their families to see.

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All about math department projects and events.