K–8 Geometry for Teachers Workshop

August 13, Ohio State University

Pre-Workshop Reading


8:30 – 9:00

Welcome (coffee, tea, bagels, fruit)

9:00 – 9:30

Small groups share favorite activities and then select one to share with all

9:30 – 10:15

Whole group discussion of activities and what they imply about desirable outcomes for geometry course

10:15 – 10:30


10:30 – 12:00

Presentation by Sybilla Beckmann, followed by discussion

12:00 – 1:30

Catered lunch

1:30 – 3:00

Small group breakout session

3:00 – 3:30

Break (tea, coffee, cookies)

3:30 – 4:00

Final comments


During the past year, faculty at OSU have been discussing changes to our math content courses for future elementary and middle-grade teachers. Content for geometry courses was a particularly challenging issue, and over the course of our discussion we started to see a need for this workshop. Weakness in geometry is a broadly-recognized problem in K--8 education, and our hope is that our work together will strengthen the various programs we're all involved with.

We described this effort to Dr. Sybilla Beckmann, who is the author of "Mathematics for Elementary Teachers" and a member of the mathematics writing team for the new Common Core State Standards (additional biography below). Dr. Beckmann has been supportive of our work and agreed to join us for this workshop, both to hear our ideas and to share her expertise with us. Furthermore, everyone on this invitation list is working at a college or university where faculty are using the Beckmann textbook. So, this is a unique opportunity to visit with Dr. Beckmann for a day of discussion, and to have some influence on the next edition of her textbook as we all seek to create a challenging, yet appropriate geometry course for teachers.

Goals and Plan

The main goal of this workshop is to generate stronger problems and activities for geometry courses. We plan to facilitate this in three ways, all of which depend on input and participation from you!


We expect participants to leave with:


There are two ways you can prepare to get the most out of this workshop:

Consider and prepare to describe your best geometry problem or activity (see attached examples).

Consider geometry topics and activities that have been particularly successful in your classes. Come prepared to share one or two of your best ones. We've compiled a list of some examples, drawn from our OSU discussions, but you surely have better ones! This will not be a formal presentation (5-8 minutes, no time to actually do the activity), but we'll collect the activities and make them available to all participants after the workshop. Be prepared to discuss how your activity relates to your goals for your students.

Read the attached outline of possible geometry outcomes, and consider how these compare with your own goals or expected outcomes for your courses, and compare to the activity you brought to share.

Our workshop on geometry content entails a more basic question of what this kind of geometry course should accomplish. What are the outcomes that one wants from this kind of course? This question could easily occupy all of our time and still remain unresolved! Indeed, our experience over the past year has been just that. So our hope is to focus on the more tangible question of geometry content.

To that end, we've compiled a summary of Geometry Outcomes that the OSU group has discussed in one way or another this past year. Although it is not necessarily representative of every idea, and there is not necessarily consensus on the ideas which are presented, we hope it will be a useful outline of the kinds of things many geometry content teachers hope to accomplish. Please read and consider to what extent this outline matches your own goals or intended outcomes.

About Dr. Sybilla Beckmann

Many of us know Dr. Beckmann as the author of our textbook. She has many years of experience as a mathematician and as a teacher, and has been involved with a number of national reports and initiatives on mathematics preparation for future teachers. She has a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania, and is currently Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor of Mathematics at the University of Georgia.

For additional information about her expertise and many accomplishments, see her professional webpage.