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Cougar Query: "Math is collaborative and creative"

Name: Amy Tanner

BYU employee since: Fall 2010

My job at BYU is… associate teaching professor in the mathematics education department. I teach mathematics courses for future elementary and secondary teachers, where we learn the “why” behind basic mathematics concepts (for example, why does it make sense to flip and multiply when we divide fractions?). I am also the undergraduate advisor for the math education major.

Currently I’m working on… improving the curriculum for our math courses for elementary teachers, thinking deeply about how grading interacts with student learning and learning more about how math was done hundreds of years ago for my history of mathematics course.

I get most excited about my work when… a student comes up with a solution I have never seen before – even (maybe especially) if it’s wrong! Those unpredictable moments can be challenging as a teacher, but they are also where the real magic and learning can happen.

Amy Tanner

The first mathematical proofs class I ever took …changed the way I view… mathematics because… my professor didn’t tell us how to do anything. Instead, he expected the students in the class to work together to create the mathematics ourselves. I had never thought of math as collaborative or creative, and it made me excited about math in a way I had never felt before.

When I have 30 minutes of free time, you can find me… reading books to my kids or watching a good TV show with my husband.

My go-to BYU Creamery ice cream flavor is… a tie between chocolate chip cookie dough and cookies and cream.

I chose to come to BYU because... of the friendships I hoped I would find. Many of the students I met my freshman year are still some of my closest friends.

On Saturday mornings you’ll find me…on a long run outside, especially when the weather is nice.

Three things that are always found in my refrigerator are… garlic-stuffed olives, Diet Dr. Pepper and a few sticks of butter so that I’m always prepared to make cookies.

One item on my bucket list is… to ride in a hot air balloon. I’m afraid of heights, but this seems much more doable than skydiving or bungee jumping.

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