Sharing Mathematics Conference

About the conference

Sharing Mathematics started as a tribute to Jim Totten who spent 28 years writing weekly math puzzles and reaching out to elementary and high school students with puzzles and problems. The conference is open to anyone who has an interest in mathematics, teaching mathematics, or playing with mathematics.  Elementary and high school teachers as well as parents are encouraged to come.

For more information about the conference, please email Jennifer Hyndman at

Past abstracts

In the fifth Sharing Mathematics Conference we explored games and puzzles, how we can engage students in research, and how we assess students. You can find the abstracts from this past event below.

Jean Bowen

Math Play

Math Play is a tool I am developing to help me evaluate the attitudes of primary school students towards mathematics.  Math Play consists of games and toys students can use to explore and develop mathematical concepts and skills without the intimidating element of testing. My hypothesis is that Math Play will positively impact students’ attitudes towards mathematics.  I invite you to participate in some Math Play activities and discuss the current research on students’ feelings towards mathematics.

David Casperson and Jennifer Hyndman

Teaching the Concept of Research through Games

Many people think all mathematics has already been done and cannot imagine what mathematical research is. Exploring games can be used to illustrate the concept of mathematical research. Participants will engage in activities and discussion that illustrate this approach.

Lisa Dickson

A Five-Finger Guide to Effective Assessment

In this session we will explore some "student-centred" principles of assessment, focusing on five key areas: creating safe spaces for learning; matching assessment to outcomes or goals; getting ourselves out of the way; creating dynamic assessment models; and valuing struggle. We will work through some scenarios to generate ideas and strategies for creating effective assessments and learning environments.

Gary MacGillivray

Research with Undergraduates

What outcomes should one expect when doing research in mathematics with undergraduate students?  How does one pick a problem?  How does one know if it is at the appropriate level? What learning outcomes should be expected?  How is progress measured? How is it managed?  We shall suggest of possible answers to these questions, and hope members of the audience will also offer answers for discussion. A number of recent research projects with undergraduate, and their outcomes, will be presented.

Susan Milner

Finding a way into mathematical thinking via puzzles and games

Workshop participants will try out a selection of puzzles that have had met with great success with students of all ages. The puzzles can be taken directly into the classroom for hands-on differentiated learning. Participants will also have the opportunity to sample some commercial games with mathematical aspects.

These puzzles and games are more than fun - they involve deep mathematical thinking. We’ll consider the connections to mathematics and also discuss ways to use puzzles to enrich our teaching and encourage our students to think mathematically.

Paul Ottaway

Games for ages 8 to 88

We will examine how games as a mathematical construct can be incorporated into the mathematics curriculum spanning mid-elementary school grades through to graduate level research. We will briefly look at the intrinsic and extrinsic motivations for playing mathematical games. Through a series of hands-on activities, we will see how mathematical sophistication can be developed. The talk will be interactive and the audience will be encouraged to learn and play games and to discuss strategy. A particular focus will be variations on the game of Nim, but other more esoteric games will also be discussed.