[ICMI-News] ICMI News 18: June 2011

J Carvalho e Silva jaimecs at mat.uc.pt
Mon Jul 11 22:54:57 CEST 2011

ICMI News 18: June 2011
A Bimonthly Email Newsletter from the 
ICMI-International Commission on Mathematical 

Editor: Jaime Carvalho e Silva, Dep. Matematica, 
Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal


1. Editorial: The greatest calamity in the history of science
2. ICME-12: 2nd announcement
3. ICME-12: Discussion groups deadline extended
4. ICME-12: Topic Study Groups are sending Call for Papers
5. ICMI Digital Library: The first five ICMI Studies are online
6. ICMI elections: the Nominating Committee is working
7. XIII CIAEM - Inter-American Conference on Mathematics Education
8. ICMI book for study 18 was launched
9. International Colloquium - A Hommage to Michèle Artigue
10. Calendar of Events of Interest to the ICMI Community
11. Publications of Interest to the ICMI Community: IACME 50 years
12. Subscribing to ICMI News


1.  Editorial: The greatest calamity in the history of science

The greatest calamity in the history of science 
was the failure of Archimedes to invent 
positional notation.
- Carl Friedrich Gauss

   Although it has increased in the past 20 years, 
the number of mathematicians in the United States 
who devote large amounts of time to thinking 
about mathematics education below the college 
level is rather small. As a consequence, there is 
no standard set of activities that define the 
occupation. Teacher preparation and professional 
development are obvious areas for work, but at my 
university, we don't have an education school, 
and no courses specifically for training 
teachers. So, I have had to figure out for myself 
what I might do to improve mathematics education 
(besides serving on committees and attending 
workshops, of course!).
   What I have mainly done is, try to think about 
the mathematics of elementary school: what it 
involves, and what is needed to develop it 
robustly - the kinds of ideas that might go into 
writing a set of standards for mathematics 
education. I have found this to be a serious 
intellectual challenge. It is this challenge that 
has kept me thinking about mathematics education.
   After reading the book Knowing and Teaching 
Elementary Mathematics by Liping Ma, and serving 
on the committee that produced Adding It Up, I 
had the sense that place value was a topic that 
needed more attention in US math instruction. As 
part of a series of workshops at the Park City 
Mathematics Institute, whose goal was to have 
mathematicians attend to and discuss aspects of 
the elementary curriculum, I undertook to write 
an essay about place value. Accordingly, I 
sacrificed a substantial part of a visit to the 
wonderful Newton Institute in Cambridge, England, 
to produce Taking Place Value Seriously (joint 
with Susanna Epp; available online at 
(Not to complain too much - I also wrote a 
research paper.)
   One of biggest surprises of that project was 
the realization that there was no standard short 
name for the basic building blocks of the decimal 
system, the numbers like 2 and 70 and 300 and 
4,000, that have only one non-zero digit. Such a 
number can be described as a "digit times a power 
of 10", but this is rather cumbersome; also, it 
assumes the concept of "power of a number", while 
one would like to draw student attention to these 
numbers before that concept is available.
   So I gave them a name. In the first draft of 
the essay, I called them "very round number"s. 
However, some of my Park City colleagues found 
this insufficiently dignified, so the term that 
survived to the essay is "single place number".
   After writing the essay, I took every 
opportunity I had to advocate more attention to 
place value in US math education. (I found that 
Singapore does a much better job with place 
value, which reassured me that I was not crazy to 
emphasize it.) But I gradually realized that I 
was not communicating what I wanted to, and that 
the reason was connected to the lack of a name 
for a "digit times a power of 10". Place value in 
the US is treated as a vocabulary issue: ones 
place, tens place, hundreds place. It is 
described procedurally rather than conceptually. 
Place value is treated as the rule that tells you 
how to read a number, not as the idea of 
expressing any number as a sum numbers of a very 
special form:"digit times a power of 10".
   It is this idea that gives place value notation 
its amazing power. Not only can we write very 
large numbers efficiently, we can compute with 
them by simple algorithms, based on two 
fundamental principles:
   1) know how compute the sum or product of two 
"digit times a power of 10"s (in addition, only 
worry about the case when the powers of ten are 
the same); and
   2) combine the results of 1) using the Rules of Arithmetic.
Because of the particular nature of the special 
numbers (they are "digit times a power of 10"s!), 
step 1) largely boils down to knowing how to 
compute with digits: the addition facts and the 
multiplication facts. This small amount of 
memorization gives one the potential to do an 
infinite number of computations.
   But talking about place value procedurally 
prevents us from saying this. It takes the focus 
away from the nature of the special numbers and 
what we are doing with them, and turns it to the 
question of how to read numbers. This is of 
course very important, but it is only the very 
beginning, the first step in understanding the 
marvelous conceptual leap that place value 
   So my plea to the mathematics education 
community is: let's talk conceptually about place 
value, and help teachers think conceptually about 
place value. And as an enabling first step, let's 
find a short catchy standard name for "digit 
times a power of 10"!

Roger Howe, Member-at-large, ICMI-EC, howe at math.yale.edu


2. ICME-12: 2nd announcement

The LOC has published its 2nd announcement on ICME-12 website.
Please distribute it on local mailing lists and distribution lists.

The 2nd announcement includes in particular 
information on accommodation; it is important to 
notice that there will be available 900 beds in 
university dormitories with prices form 12 to 30 
USD per night and a lot of low budget hotels with 
prices ranging form 50 to 80 USD per night, all 
accessible by subway.

The registration fee is 400 USD if the 
registration is made before April 1, 2012.

Starting with ICME-8, a special ICME Solidarity 
Fund, built by setting aside some 10% of the 
total amount collected through the registration 
fees and also some donations, has provided grants 
in order to support and increase participation 
from less affluent regions of the world to the 
ICME congresses. The same will happen with 

There will be Workshop and Sharing Groups 
proposed freely by participants that will not 
include formal presentations, whose deadline is 
the 30th of November 2011.

All information is available on the webpages of ICME-12 and ICMI:
http://www.icme12.org/ and http://www.mathunion.org/icmi/

Jaime Carvalho e Silva, Secretary-General of ICMI, jaimecs at mat.uc.pt


3. ICME-12: Discussion groups deadline extended

DG Proposal Submission Deadline Extended!

The IPC of ICME-12 has determined to prolong the deadline for the proposal
submission of a Discussion Group(DG) until the end of July in order to give
ICME-12 potential participants more chance to submit DG proposals. Date of
proposal acceptance notification is same as August 30, 2011. If you have
any question, please feel free to contact the IPC chair:
sungjcho at snu.ac.kr

Hee-chan Lew, Vice Chair of the LOC and Chair of 
the Congress Subcommittee, hclew at knue.ac.kr


4. ICME-12: Topic Study Groups are sending Call for papers

The Call for papers of the Topic Study Groups 
(TSG) for ICME-12 are being announced on the 
ICME-12 webpage as they are ready. Go to the 
ICME-12 webpage to see which are already there:
Almost all of the 37 TSGs have already issued 
their Call for Papers that can also be found on
the ICMI website on a special area on the front 
page of the ICMI website. All the
other Call for Papers and announcements will be 
posted there. Please visit the ICMI
webpage and the ICME-12 webpage to be sure not to 
miss this and other important information.

If you want to make a widget to put on your own 
webpage publicizing ICME-12 just put this code 
into your webpage:

scrolling="no" frameborder="0" 
style="border:none; overflow:hidden; width:292px; 
height:427px;" allowTransparency="true"></iframe>

If you want to modify this, you can go to the page


and change the parameters there. You should note 
that the ICME-12 Facebook URL page is 

You can do a similar thing for ICMI if you note 
that the ICMI Facebook URL page is 

If you have trouble building this widget you can contact me.

Jaime Carvalho e Silva, Secretary-General of ICMI, jaimecs at mat.uc.pt


5. ICMI Digital Library: The first five ICMI Studies are online

Digital versions of the first five ICMI Study 
Books, published by Cambridge University Press, 
are available to download for free to members of 
the ICMI community. You just need to go the 
corresponding ICMI webpage and access CUP from 


Each link on the ICMI webpage will take you to 
the corresponding CUP page where you can download 
the PDF versions of these five Study volumes.
We encourage every member of the ICMI community 
to recommend to their libraries the purchase of 
the paper version of these volumes. ICMI thanks 
Cambridge University Press for this service to 
the community.

Jaime Carvalho e Silva, Secretary-General of ICMI, jaimecs at mat.uc.pt


6. ICMI elections: the Nominating Committee is working

The International Commission on Mathematical 
Instruction (ICMI) Nominating Committee was 
formed, according to the present procedures for 
election, with the purpose of presenting the 
slate of nominations for the ICMI Executive 
Committee (EC) in preparation for the ICMI 
elections done at the ICMI General Assembly (GA).
The Nominating Committee consists of seven 
people, each with full voting rights. None of its 
members shall be eligible for nomination for the 
ICMI EC. The present ICMI Nominating Committee is 
chaired by Bernard HODGSON (Canada) and includes 
the President of ICMI William (Bill) BARTON (New 
Zealand) and the President of IMU Ingrid 
DAUBECHIES (USA). Two other members were chosen 
at random from nominees of ICMI/IMU member 
countries, and they are Shobha MADAN (India) and 
Dirk SIERSMA (Netherlands). The other two persons 
were chosen by the IMU EC and by the core members 
of the ICMI Nominating Committee; they are Jill 
ADLER (South Africa) and NGUYEN Chi Thanh 
This Nominating Committee shall analyze the 
proposals sent by the Adhering Organizations and 
will produce, by March 2012, a nomination slate, 
to be called the "ICMI Nominating Committee 
slate". This slate shall consist of a unique 
candidate for each of the four ICMI officers 
(President, Secretary-General, and two 
Vice-Presidents), plus at least seven nominees 
for the remaining five members 
("Members-at-Large") of the ICMI EC to be 
elected. When forming this slate, the ICMI 
Nominating Committee is authorized to nominate 
any duly qualified person for each position.
Two months prior to the ICMI GA, the 
Secretary-General of ICMI will send to the 
Adhering Organizations and member representatives 
to ICMI the ICMI Nominating Committee slate, 
accompanied by a CV for each of the candidates on 
the slate, plus a list of all nominations 
submitted to the ICMI Nominating Committee in due 
From the floor of the General Assembly, delegates 
may present additional nominations from the list 
of previously proposed candidates that satisfy 
some additional conditions that can be found in 
the procedures for election.

Jaime Carvalho e Silva, Secretary-General of ICMI, jaimecs at mat.uc.pt


7. XIII CIAEM - Inter-American Conference on Mathematics Education

The 13th meeting of the the CIAEM/IACME, an ICMI 
Affiliated group that includes all countries of 
Noth, Central and South America, ended June 30th 
with the general satisfaction of all the 
participants. More than 1800 math educators, 
mathematicians and teachers from 33 countries met 
for five days (June 26-30) and could follow 5 
plenary talks, 4 plenary round tables (one of 
them dedicated to the work of Ubiratan 
D'Ambrosio), 30 parallel talks, 6 parallel round 
tables, and more than 700 contributed papers.
At the closing session CIAEM/IACME President 
Angel Ruiz declared that this Conference was 
unforgettable. He was clearly satisfied with the 
organization and the high level of the 
presentations and discussions. Local organizers 
Rute Borba and Carlos Monteiro were congratulated 
by the CIAEM/IACME Executive Committee and all 
the participants.
In this meeting ICMI Study 18 was launched and an 
update of the Klein Project was presented to the 

The CIAEM/IACME General Assembly met during the 
meeting and elected the Executive Committee that 
will govern from 2011 to 2015. The new Executive 
Committee is

President: Angel Ruiz (Costa Rica)
1st Vice-President: Eduardo Mancera (Mexico)
2nd Vice-President: Patrick Scott (United States)
Secretary: Claudia Groenwald (Brazil)
Members-at-large: Tania Campos (Brazil)
Eduardo Bassurto (Mexico)
Hugo Barrantes (Costa Rica)
Gustavo Bermudes (Uruguay)
Jhony Villa (Colombia)

The next CIAEM/IACME meeting will be in Mexico in 
the State of Chiapas from the 23rd to the 27th of 
June 2015.

Jaime Carvalho e Silva, Secretary-General of ICMI, jaimecs at mat.uc.pt


8. ICMI book for study 18 was launched

For the first time in its history, ICMI launched 
internationally a Study Book and produced a press 
release and an Executive Summary.
The book resulting from ICMI Study number 18 was 
launched internationally at the CIAEM meeting in 
Recife, Brazil.
The Study was organized jointly by ICMI and the 
International Association for Statistical 
Education (IASE) and the resulting Study Book is 
called "Statistics Education in School 
Mathematics: Challenges for Teaching and Teacher 
Education" and will be available for purchase at 
Springer: http://alturl.com/p5sqx
Please be aware that members of the ICMI 
community can purchase this and other ICMI Study 
books at a substantial discounted price:


The presentation of ICMI Study number 18 in 
Recife was made by Study co-chair Carmen 
Batanero, ICMI past-President Michèle Artigue and 
ICMI Secretary-General Jaime Carvalho e Silva. An 
Executive Summary of this study was produced; to 
get a copy please click here:


Translation of this Summary into several 
languages was made: German, French, Mandarin, 
Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. They are 
available clicking here: http://alturl.com/furx7

ICMI encourages that you distribute these 
Executive Summaries as widely as possible.

Jaime Carvalho e Silva, Secretary-General of ICMI, jaimecs at mat.uc.pt


9. International Colloquium - A Hommage to Michèle Artigue

First Announcement -- International Colloquium 
The Didactics of Mathematics: Approaches and 
A Hommage to Michèle Artigue (Professor Emeritus 
of the University Paris Diderot, Past President 

Place: Paris, Dates: May 31 to June 1, 2012, 
Languages: French, English, Spanish. Provision 
will be made to facilitate the participation of 
those expressing themselves in any one of these 
three languages.

Motivation: The scientific contribution of 
Michèle Artigue is important, both within the 
didactics of mathematics in a strict sense as 
well as within research strands in the broader 
framework of "mathematics education". The 
colloquium will relate to current work 
representative of the main themes of her 
contribution, while also constituting a "memory" 
of her contribution to these themes over the last 
forty years.

Scientific activities: The conference will 
include roundtables, plenary or semi-plenary 
lectures, workshops and a session of poster 

Plenary Lectures

The Mathematicians' Viewpoint
Daniel Perrin, Benoît Rittaud (in parallel)

Digital representations of mathematical objects
Chronis Kynigos, Ivy Kidron

International collaborations in mathematics education
Jill Adler, Li Shiqi, Angel Ruiz

Epistemology, history and didactics
Michael Otte, Christine Proust

Round Tables

The Evolution of Theoretical Frameworks in Didactical Research
Marianna Bosch, Maria Alessandra Mariotti, Marie-Jeanne Perrin, Luc Trouche

Theoretical Frameworks in Didactics and Research in «Mathematics Education »
Abraham Arcavi, Paolo Boero, Jeremy Kilpatrick, Luis Radford

The Researcher in the Wider Community
Bill Barton, Celia Hoyles, Jean-Pierre Kahane, Nicolas Saby

Becoming Researchers: The « School » of Michèle Artigue

Poster communications: A call for communications 
will be made on October 15, 2011 with the second 
announcement, with submission by January 31, 
2012. The communications will be related to a 
workshop and written in one of the languages of 
the conference. Research contributions, but also 
other types of experience related to a topic of 
the workshop, will be welcome. The second 
announcement will specify the objectives of each 
workshop and the method of submission.

Scientific Committee co-chairs: Bernard Hodgson 
(Quebec), Jean-Baptiste Lagrange (France)
Organising Committee chair: Alain Kuzniak (France)

Organization: The colloquium is organised by the 
Laboratoire de Didactique Andre Revuz Université 
Paris-Diderot (LDAR), in association with the 
IREM chief executive assembly (ADIREM).

Web site http://www.lar.univ-paris-diderot.fr/colloque/artigue


10. Calendar of Events of Interest to the ICMI Community

Ankara, Turkey, July 10-15, 2011

ICTMA 15: 15th International Conference on the 
Teaching of Mathematical Modelling and 
Melbourne, Australia, July 14-19, 2011

FAMA - Family Math for adult learners 
international conference: "Family and communities 
in and out of the classroom: ways to improve 
mathematics' achievement", Barcelona, Spain, July 
23, 2011

CIEAEM 63:  "Facilitating access and 
participation - Mathematical practices inside and 
outside the classroom" / "Faciliter l'accès et la 
participation - Les pratiques mathématiques à 
l'intérieur et à l'extérieur de la classe",
University of Barcelona, Spain, July 24 - July 29, 2011

Prague, Czech Republic, August 21-26, 2011

16e Ecole d'été de didactique des mathématiques - 
Association pour la Recherche en Didactique des 
Carcassonne (Aude), France, August 21-28, 2011

The Mathematics Education into the 21st Century 
Project 11th International Conference, Turning 
Dreams into Reality: Transformations and Paradigm 
Shifts in Mathematics Education, Rhodes 
University, Grahamstown, South Africa, September 
11-17, 2011

ECER 2011 - European Conference on Educational Research,
Berlin, September 13-16, 2011

ICMI Study 21 Conference
São Paulo, Brazil, September 16-20, 2011

ATCM 2011 - 16th Asian Technology Conference of 
Mathematics, 'Integration of Technology into 
Mathematics Education-past, present and future',
Abant Izzet Baysal University, Bolu, Turkey, September 19-23, 2011

3rd International Realistic Mathematics Education Conference
The Design and Use of Learning Progressions in Mathematics Education
University of Colorado at Boulder, USA, September 23 - 25, 2011

MathTED 2011 - the 2011 Biennial Conference of 
the Philippine Council of Mathematics Teacher 
COLUMBAN COLLEGE, Olongapo City, Philippines, October 21-22, 2011

ICREM5 - The 5th International Conference on 
Research and Education in Mathematics
Institut Teknologi Bandung, Indonesia, October 22-24 2011

CARN Conference 2011 (Collaborative Action Research Network)
Bringing a different world into existence
Action research as a trigger for innovations
Vienna, Austria, November 4-6, 2011

Volcanic DELTA 2011, Eighth Southern Hemisphere 
Conference on the Teaching and Learning of 
Undergraduate Mathematics and Statistics,
Rotorua, NZ, November 27 - December 2, 2011

Creating Balance in an Unjust World Conference on 
Math Education and Social Justice
Mission High School in San Francisco, CA, USA, January 13-15, 2012.

Seventh International Conference on Science, 
Mathematics & Technology Education: 
Transformations through Science, Mathematics and 
Technology Education - Towards an Innovative and 
Sustainable Society,  Muscat, Oman, February 
12-15, 2012
d.fisher at smec.curtin.edu.au

EMF 2012 - Espace Mathématique Francophone,
Genève, 3-7 Février 2012

ICME-12 - Twelfth International Congress on Mathematical Education
Seoul, Korea, July 8-15, 2012

HPM 2012 History and Pedagogy of Mathematics
The HPM Satellite Meeting of ICME-12
Daejeon (Korea), July 16-20, 2012

EARCOME6 - The Sixth East Asia Regional Conference on Mathematics Education,
Thailand, March, 2013


11. Publications of Interest to the ICMI Community: IACME 50 years

The Editorial Board of the Journal of Research 
and Training in Mathematics Education and the 
board of the Interamerican Committee on 
Mathematics Education CIAEM decided to publish a 
special series of notebooks designed to 
commemorate 50 years of IACME.

We have titled this special series as IACME 50. 
This includes 3 issues of the Journal: 7. 8 and 
9. In them you will find articles and documents 
and central protagonists in the history of CIAEM 
at different times, as well as researchers from 
Latin America who are starting, more recently, in 
the tissues of this new scientific and 
professional discipline is built around Teaching 
and Learning of Mathematics.

The number 7 in this series consists of two 
sections: the History of Early Writings of CIAEM 
and Ubiratan D'Ambrosio. The first section 
contains articles of intellectuals associated 
with the conference and especially people who 
devoted much of their effort to the growth of 
this discipline in the region: Stone, Fehr, 
Santaló, D'Ambrosio, Basque and others, some of 
them pleasant memory. The second section includes 
three articles written in the 50s of last century 
by Ubi D'Ambrosio, a leading figure in the 
American region of major influence in the 
international community of mathematics education.

The number 8 includes articles on an essential 
theme: Media and Hypermedia in Mathematics 
Education. Invoked in a very general work on the 
participation of technologies, videos, history, 
art education in different contexts and different 
approaches. There are implicit assumptions in the 
selection of these works, as the appreciation of 
diversity and integration required of approaches 
or instruments involved in the mathematics 
classroom chores.

The number 9 includes other relevant 
contributions on various aspects of mathematics 
education, but revolving around one central issue 
which is the training of educators, curriculum, 
competencies, evaluation, perception, initial 
training, training ... The focus is on a 
convergence imbricated about the Teaching of 


No. 9 (2011) Curriculum, assessment, teacher training, skills

No. 8 (2011) Media and Hypermedia

No. 7 (2011) History and perspectives. Ubiratan D'Ambrosio: early writings



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