Practicing What We Preach

An interesting concept in mathematics is exponential growth. At T2T-I we like to practice what we preach, so we’re first going to provide you with the definition from development at an increasingly rapid rate in proportion to the growing total number or size. Totally clear, right? But now we’re going to show you what exponential growth looks like using a real-world example.

In November 2014, Executive Director Chadd McGlone organized a conference for Guatemalan teachers in partnership with the nonprofit organization Common Hope. Twenty-five attended two afternoons of workshops on student-centered, culturally relevant teaching strategies. It was by all measures a success, but little did we know it was just the beginning.

In November 2015, the same conference was held again and grew from two days to three, six workshops to 34. The number of teachers participating was 256.

We now come to November of this year, with the conference adding one more day and nine more workshops. Most exciting, the number of Guatemalan presenters expanded from one to 15. That means that 70% of our workshop leaders felt empowered by our outreach to offer their expertise on topics ranging from understanding fractions to finding symmetry in nature to combining literacy with mathematics.

That sort of dramatic increase indicates that local teachers are taking ownership of and believing in the teaching strategies they are learning from T2T-I. And they are having fun doing it.

Guatemalan teachers sitting a tables with flowers and pinecones

Workshop participants in Antigua, Guatemala, explore Fibonacci sequences in nature

This picture at left illustrates one workshop led by two presenters from Guatemala City. The teachers are exploring Fibonacci sequences (where every number is the sum of the previous two) in nature using flowers and pinecones.

For 2017, the expected value of this equation will reach the national borders of Guatemala. Given that every region of this diverse country was represented at this year’s conference, we anticipate expanding even further in positive directions. In this picture, teachers are from El Parédon on the Pacific Coast, Alta Verapaz in the highlands, and the Lake Atitlán area nestled among the southern volcanoes.

Any student of mathematics can tell you that, while two points define a line, the third point confirms a definite upward trend. Where will the new points land? Stay in touch as we graph the excitement.


Thank you to Manuela Cea-Poblete, Guatemala Country Director, for her assistance in preparing this piece!

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