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Megan S. Candelaria

Meet the Science Posse

PhD Candidate in Mathematics Education

Coordinator of the EE Nano GK-12 Program

Former Science Posse Program Coordinator

Consultant, bby Publications, University of West Alabama



M.S. in Mathematics from the University of Wyoming
        Thesis Topic: Reconstruction of Conductivity in Circular Networks.

B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Wyoming
         Undergraduate Research
              - Multi-Prime RSA
              - Prime Number Theorem

Teaching experience:

* - Problem Solving (Math 1000)
* - Finite Math (Math 1050)
* - Algebra II (Junior High level)
* - College Algebra (Math 1400)
* - Wyoming Cryptography School
* - Number and Operations for Elementary School Teachers (Math 1100)
* - Geometry and Measurement for Elementary School Teachers (Math 1105)
* -Algebra and Data for Elementary School Teachers (Math 2120)

Current Research:

As related in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, the United States consistently ranks outside the top ten when it comes to average mathematics scores. Perhaps more worrisome, between 1995 and 2007, while the top six countries greatly increased their average scores, the United States showed little change. One hypothesized reason for this is the continued decline of American's perception and attitude towards mathematics, that is the idea that only those naturally gifted at it can do math, and perhaps even more dangerous, the idea that it is ‘ok' to be bad at math. This poor math attitude is perhaps a significant factor in the comparatively low math achievement of students in the United States, which limits students' education and career options and makes it harder for the United States to compete an increasingly global world.
How, however, is this devaluation of mathematics passed on from generation to generation? When is it that children develop a fear of mathematics? Perhaps it is something that is passed on at the earliest levels of education, from teacher to student in the elementary classroom. My research focuses on trying to discover what, if any, attitudes towards mathematics are passed down from teacher to student and how that transference affects the mathematical experience which consists of both a students beliefs and attitudes towards mathematics as well as their mathematical achievement or aptitude of the students.

Lesson Plans Megan has developed:

Was Bluebeard Just a Lucky Pirate?: A Lesson on Vectors

Topics Megan can bring to your classroom:

You Can Never Escape Math

Why We Need Math in Everyday Life

Vector Arithmetic

Making and Breaking Codes

Global Positioning Units (GPS)

Compass Use and Triangulation

The most exciting phrase to hear in science – the one that heralds the new discoveries – is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny….' Isaac Asimov

I grew up in Sundance, Wyoming, where I swore I would never attend the University of Wyoming; however thanks to a scholarship, that is exactly where I found my self in the fall of 2002, and I have never regretted it. Although I came to UW as a pre-law major, reading my first law brief quickly dissuaded me of that idea and I eventually fell into a physics/mathematics major. I love teaching math a subject with a traditionally bad reputation. Because I love the subject, I am enthusiastic, and I attempt to pull students away from their "I-hate-math" attitudes with a fun example, a hands-on activity, or even a bad math joke. I feel those who are truly passionate about a subject are best able to pass on not only an understanding of the subject, but also to share the joy they find within the subject. It is this enthusiasm and excitement I bring to the Science Posse as I try to impart some of my ‘mathematical mania' to Wyoming teachers and students.

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