Nigel Nisbet transformed the math classroom as a teacher and now is leading content development at the MIND Research Institute to help schools of all sizes do the same. It all started with chocolate. He will share his proven tools and tactics with Greater Minnesota schools  in November at  the MREA Annual Conference: Engaging Students Now.

One of his greatest lessons in teaching came when he used chocolate bars to teach geometry. He did not want to teach math. he wanted them to think – even struggle – to figure out the solutions and learn that math is more than numbers.

It led him to redesign every math class with intriguing puzzles. Test scores soared and 85 percent of students passed math classes that they previously failed. The best part for Nigel is that they discovered a love for math. “Math is the new literacy for the 21st Century,” he said. Watch his TedTalk.

Nigel will close the MREA conference with a keynote on Leading the Learning Revolution: Active vs. Passive Classrooms and give participants early insight during a breakout session on If Rigor Was Easy, We’d All Be Doing It!

Nigel is vice president of content creation at MIND Research Institute. He leads the team that develops new games for all ST Math programs, including middle and high school games that introduce algebraic concepts visually.

Learning Revolution

In order to ensure that we are eliminating inequity and creating a level playing field for all students to succeed, regardless of their socio-economic background, we have to better understand the science behind how students learn.

During this session, Nigel will share 20 years of research to show how the brain processes information and how innovative technology can improve math education for ALL students. He’ll provide conference attendees with a solid understanding of why the transition from a passive environment to an active learning environment is key to deeper conceptual levels of understanding.

Participants will take away how these methods, tools, and insights can support the design of instructional materials that are engaging, effective, and supportive of 21st century learners that are better prepared for success in school and our knowledge-based economy.

If Rigor Was Easy, We’d All Be Doing It!

Rigor in the classroom means that students are engaged in solving challenging problems to which neither the answer nor the solution strategy are in any way obvious. It sounds so simple and yet it is so hard to achieve. And from the perspective of administration, how do you ensure that all students have the opportunity to learn in this kind of rich, challenging environment?

During this breakout session, Nigel will explore tools and best practices to enable system-wide implementation of rigorous, engaging learning opportunities for every student.

More on Nigel

Armed with a degree in mathematics, and early success as a rock musician, Nigel began his education career teaching in rural England. After moving to the U.S., he taught mathematics, physics, and computer science at Van Nuys Senior High, where he pioneered the use of technology in the classroom, and project-based learning.

Leaving the classroom in 2006, he became a Mathematics Specialist for the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest school district in the United States.

A passionate believer in the power of all students to learn mathematics conceptually, Nigel joined the nonprofit MIND Research Institute team as Senior Mathematics Specialist in the spring of 2010, becoming the Director of Content Creation in early 2011. Nigel devotes his time to reaching into the structure and beauty of mathematics, finding ways to build engaging, interactive visual games that teach all students how math really works.

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