As part a grant supporting the COMMIT Network (NSF-DUE #1925188), we are excited to offer collaborative mini-grants. These collaborative mini-grants can support almost any collaborative activity focused on active learning and equitable teaching. Some examples of possible projects include: classroom visits (including virtual classroom visits), collaborative materials development, reading groups, lesson study groups, etc. Funds can be taken as a stipend and do not need to be related to material costs.
The application is short, but you can also simply email whiten(at)umich(dot)edu with your idea in lieu of the formal application or with any questions!
Below you can see examples of past, funded mini-grants. Feel free to use them as inspiration!
Summer 2021 WorkinG Groups
In 2021, AMiIBL leaders, with the help of outside facilitator Christine Von Renesse (Westfield State University) brought together college math instructors across the state interested in working on collaborative projects together. Four collaborative projects and one solo project came out of this kick off event. Each group was funded like a regular mini-grant. The descriptions of these projects follow:
The members of the Mathematical Critical Skills group came together with a common concern: how can educators effectively engage students in the classroom, foster a deeper understanding of the content, as well as develop interest and identity in mathematics? To tackle those concerns, our group created modules of curated resources and information to equip educators with the tools to incorporate inquiry-based tactics to promote student success and resilience in current and future mathematics courses. The modules appeal to educators at any level on the topics of classroom climate, studying, student identity, and reflection.
Introduction to Proofs
Creating an effective and inclusive classroom is always challenging, especially when teaching courses designed to introduce students to formal mathematical proofs. The four members of this working group met over the summer to share ideas in order to plan teaching introductory proof courses in an IBL format for the first time in the fall of 2021 at three different liberal arts colleges. The group discussed how to use inquiry-based approaches in their classes in a variety of ways, including how to create learning objectives, effectively use student presentations, implement group work, choose assessment strategies, determine how best to introduce students to the IBL environment in the first week of class, and create follow-up activities that can be used to determine the group’s teaching effectiveness.
The book Living Proof contains stories of resilience that can help students see that the struggle is real and has been lived by many mathematicians who continued on a variety of paths in mathematics. These stories can be used for individual and class reflections to help build a sense of community and ameliorate math anxiety. To be able to use the book effectively in class, we got together as a small group, read the book, selected a sample of stories (trying for as much variety as possible), and wrote reflection questions for the selected stories. We also came up with key themes for the stories to help instructors select the readings they would like to use, and added additional resources on these key themes. The result is the following document which you can use in your classroom and share with colleagues. If you would like to leave some feedback, there is a link in the document!
Rolling out Roles
Although group work can improve student learning, students working in groups can unintentionally create inequities. As a result, not all students benefit from group work. As educators, we want to support an inclusive classroom that benefits all students. Since group work is student led, we need to help the students act in inclusive ways in order to have an inclusive classroom. This working group considered using well defined group roles to encourage inclusivity during group work. After some review of literature, the roles developed were three essential roles (facilitator, scribe, skeptic) and two additional roles (resource manager and synthesizer). The facilitator should attend to group dynamics and ensure equitable participation. The scribe should record student thinking and ensure that voices are heard equitably. The synthesizer should ensure that the group reasoning was understood equitably. After having colleagues try out the roles and provide feedback, working group members have planned to implement aspects of these roles in their classrooms.
OTHER FUNDED MINI-GRANTs
Summer 2021 Book Group
During the summer of 2021, several members of AMIIBL read and discussed Harris and Winger’s Asked and Answered: Dialogues on Advocating for Students of Color in Mathematics. This is a book which records conversations between the two authors about questions they receive regularly in discussing how to advocate for students of color in mathematics. The book is organized into five dialogues:
Dialogue 1: An Introduction
Dialogue 2: Why Do You Want to Do this Work?
Dialogue 3: How do I even start?
Dialogue 4: What do I do when … ?
Dialogue 5: Who do you want to be?
Each dialogue includes reflection questions (some occurring before the dialogue and others occurring after).
Six members of AMIIBL participated regularly and discussed the book over six meetings between May and August of 2021. The conversations involved a great deal of personal sharing and vulnerability, and each participant left with a commitment to improve our practices both in the classroom and in the mathematics profession.