Ant Covered Brownies: A Math Education Field Study
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During the summer of 2012, I spent eight weeks in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on the island of San Cristobal, Galapagos, Ecuador. My purpose was to work with the Ministry of Education on a project aimed to prepare the local school system for a mathematics curricular reform that will take place during the 2013-2014 academic year. The new curriculum will emphasize the importance of problem solving through experimentation and the use of mathematical models to represent and interpret problems. Through a series of math workshops based in modeling and investigation, I hoped to introduce local high school math teachers to a portion of the new curriculum and assist in developing the necessary tools to effectively teach the new curriculum, the Bachillerato General Unificado (BGU). When selecting this project I understood the risks involved. My project was heavily dependent on external factors. Without the support, participation, and open-mindedness of teachers, principals, and the curricular director of the school district my project would be unsuccessful. I was prepared to modify my project, although I was not fully anticipating the challenges I would face. I expected to change my original lesson plans or schedule. I did not anticipate the cultural challenges or the lack of participation which prevented the completion of my project. The day I prematurely terminated my workshop series only one of nine participants attended. It was his birthday and I brought brownies to share. After two hours I had no workshop, and a plate of ant covered brownies, an image that accurately depicts my experience. The following is an account of the development of my project, its implementation, and an assessment of the successes and failures experienced while working in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.