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  • 179 Grace Dodge Hall, Teachers College
  • 10/14/2013, 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM

A year from now, school systems all over the country will be getting ready to begin to teach mathematical modeling as part of their adoption of the Common Core State Standards.  This conference aims to take a concentrated look at the teaching of modeling, with ideas from international and national experts on how teachers can prepare to carry out this new task and fit it into their existing responsibilities, how students can learn modeling, and how everyone concerned can assess how successful the effort has been.   We will also examine how modeling will affect existing relationships between the system of mathematics education and mathematics itself. 

This conference is being held in honor of Professor Henry O. Pollak’s 25 years of service to Teachers College, Columbia University. Henry Pollak is one of the pioneers in the field of applications and modeling in mathematics education. As early as the 1960s, while serving as Director of Mathematics and Statistics Research at Bell Laboratories, he advocated integration of applications and modeling into mathematics teaching. Dr. Pollak’s leadership was evident  also at ICME-3 in 1976 where he gave the survey lecture on “The Interaction between Mathematics and Other School Subjects.” During his 25 year career at Teachers College, Dr. Pollak has taught cohorts of doctoral students and directed more than a score of doctoral dissertations in mathematics education.

The Modeling Octoberfest includes presentations by the following international experts:

Werner Blum, Professor of Mathematics Education, University of Kassel, received his PhD in pure mathematics from the University of Karlsruhe in 1970. He is currently professor of mathematics education at the University of Kassel. His research interests include mathematical modeling and applications, mathematical literacy and quality of instruction, as well as international comparisons.

Rita Borromeo Ferri, Professor of Mathematics Education, University of Kassel, received her master’s degree in primary education in 1999 from the University of Siegen and both her PhD in Mathematics Education and her master’s degree in Secondary Mathematics from the University of Hamburg in 2004, where she also received her Habilitation in Mathematics Education in 2010. Since 2011 she has been a professor of mathematics education for the secondary level at the University of Kassel. Her current research areas include applications and modeling in mathematics education, mathematical thinking styles, and higher mathematics education. 

Sol Garfunkel, Executive Director, Consortium for Mathematics and its Applications (COMAP), received his PhD in mathematical logic from the University of Wisconsin in 1967. He served on the mathematics faculties of Cornell University and the University of Connecticut at Storrs for eleven years and has dedicated the last 25 years to research and development efforts in mathematics education. He has been the Executive Director of COMAP since its inception in 1980.

Alan Schoenfeld, Elizabeth & Edward Conner Professor of Education and Affiliate Professor of Mathematics, University of California, Berkeley. After obtaining his PhD in mathematics from Stanford in 1973, Schoenfeld turned his attention to issues of mathematical thinking, teaching, and learning. 

Hugh Burkhardt, Shell Centre for Mathematics Education and University of California, Berkeley, a theoretical physicist, has always seen modeling everyday life situations as central to a high-quality education in mathematics. Since 1982, he has led a series of assessment projects with US and UK test providers who sought to align their tests with learning goals.  Based at the University of Nottingham’s Shell Center and UC Berkeley, he takes an “engineering” view of educational research and development - that it is about using imaginative design and systematic development to make a complex system work better.  He led the foundation of ISDDE, the International Society for Design and Development in Education, and its e-journal Educational Designer.


9:00 - 9:30                  Registration

9:30 - 10:30                Rita Borromeo Ferri
Teaching Mathematical Modeling: The Teacher’s Responsibility

10:30 - 10:45              Discussion

10:45 - 11:00              Break (refreshments provided)

11:00 - 12:00              Alan Schoenfeld
Mathematical Modeling, Sense-Making, and the Common Core State Standards

12:00 - 1:30                Octoberfest lunch

1:30 - 2:15                  Hugh Burkhardt
Mathematical Modeling: Assessing Student Achievement

2:15 - 3:00                  Werner Blum
Mathematical Modeling: How Can Students Learn to Model?

3:00 - 3:15                  Discussion

3:15 - 3:30                  Break (refreshments provided)

3:30 - 4:30                  Sol Garfunkel & Henry O. Pollak
Mathematical Modeling: The Future of Education

4:30 - 5:30                  Bruce Vogeli & Sol Garfunkel
In Appreciation of Dr. Henry O. Pollak

6:30 - 7:30                  Buffet dinner

7:30 - 9:00                  Colloquium – Alan Schoenfeld
What Counts in Mathematics Classrooms? A Framework for Looking at What Matters and Thoughts about How One Might Use These Ideas for Professional Development

Registration fee: TC students, alumni, faculty, and staff - free! Participants not affiliated with TC - $100

Non-TC students register here:

TC students register here:

To request disability-related accommodations contact OASID at, (212) 678-3689, (212) 678-3853 TTY, (646) 755-3144 video phone, as early as possible.

  • Krystle Hecker
  • (212) 678-3381
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