Alik Palatnik

Research interests: I study mathematics instruction and students cognition in various learning environments. My dissertation (supervised by Prof. Boris Koichu, Technion) explores instructional and cognitive affordances of project-based learning (PBL) of mathematics and sheds light into the “black box” of the mathematical inquiry project. In the framework of this empirical study, I investigate my students’ engagement in the specifically designed exploratory projects with an overarching mathematical topic- sequences. The questions that I analyse are: What can be learned by middle school students while engaging in complex activity of an exploratory mathematical project? How the projects are navigated by the students?  

The students’ projects became a habitat of several phenomena: insight solutions, algebraic sense-making, feeling of creativity, and more. I attend to them using the theory of shifts of attention by John Mason.   

Recently I started to develop a new research about the possible uses of public-generated mathematical content (e.g. viral videos and comments on them) in teaching intramural mathematics.

In my master thesis (supervised by Prof. Tommy Dreifus, Tel Aviv University) I explored intuitive thinking of high school students when introducing the auxiliary lines in geometry proofs.  

About me:

I love to learn and I love to teach. My favourites are mathematics (I was a high-school teacher almost 15 years) and dancing (ballroom and tango).

I came as a VS to UCB in August 2015. I hope that my loving family – Ruslana, Ariel, Naama and Carmel – enjoy their stay in Berkeley as much as I do. Before this experience I lived in different countries and cities: Odessa (Ukraine), Acco (Israel), Venice (Italy) and Haifa (Israel). If you need a pattern, they are all on the shores of some sea/ ocean.

I’m also an enthusiastic player in Russian team-trivia game “Что? Где? Когда?”


Palatnik, A. & Koichu, B. (2015) Exploring insight: Focus on shifts of attention. For the Learning of Mathematics 35(2), 9-14.

Palatnik, A. (2015) What can be learned from online public-generated mathematical content. The case-study of comments on viral mathematical video. In Proceedings of 9thCongress of the European Research in Mathematics Education

Palatnik, A. Koichu, B. (2014) Reconstruction of one mathematical invention: focus on structures of attention.  In Proceedings of the 38th Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education and the 36th Conference of the North American Chapter of the Psychology of Mathematics Education (Vol. 3 pp. 377-384). Vancouver, Canada: PME.

Palatnik, A. Koichu, B. (2014) What counts for being creative? A mathematically gifted student’s perspective. In Proceedings of the 8th Conference of the International Group for Mathematical Creativity and Giftedness (Vol. 3 pp. 96-102). Denver, Colorado.