Pandiscio and Dimmel deliver Balomenos Memorial Lecture at ATMNE conference

University of Maine associate professor of mathematics education Eric Pandiscio and associate professor of mathematics education and instructional technology Justin Dimmel delivered the Richard H. Balomenos Memorial Lecture at the Association of Teachers of Mathematics in New England (ATMNE)’s 2023 Fall Conference, October 12-13 in Portland.

The talk, “Sunshine, Public Art, and Multiplication: The Design of an Interactive Mathematical Sculpture,” covered the invention and development of the SunRule, an interactive sculpture that harnesses the rays of the sun to help users explore multiplication and division. Dimmel and Pandiscio came up with the idea for the sculpture, which was designed and built in collaboration with associate professor of art Greg Ondo and sculpture studio technician Sam Hoey through UMaine’s MIRTA accelerator program.

The Balomenos lecture is named for the former chair of the Department of Mathematics at the University of New Hampshire, who died in a car accident along with his wife in December 1986. Each year, ATMNE selects memorial lecture speakers who exemplify Balomenos’ devotion to thinking carefully and deeply about the improvement of mathematics education.

Pandiscio and Dimmel also hosted a workshop at the ATMNE conference titled “Multiplication by Sunlight.” About 30 educators who participated in the workshop were able to build their own hand-held versions of the SunRule and learn about the design and mathematical affordances of the devices.