Understanding Teachers’ Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching (CAREER)
Chandra Orrill, UMass Dartmouth
National Science Foundation CAREER
April 2011- March 2016
This research project aims to explore a hypothesis about mathematics teacher knowledge formed through work with teachers both in research settings and in professional development. The hypothesis is that being a good mathematics teacher requires not only developing a certain body of knowledge, but also having mapped that content into a coherent and connected understanding of the domain that includes insights into what the content being taught grows out of and where it goes next. Specifically, in this project, we will focus on middle grades teachers’ knowledge of proportional reasoning.
A mixed methods approach will be used in the first phase to develop profiles of understanding that highlight not only the body of knowledge teachers have developed, but also the connections among facets of that knowledge. Once those profiles are complete, phase 2 will focus on looking at teachers’ practice to develop interconnected profiles of understanding that consider not only the ways in which teachers understand the domain, but also how those interconnected understandings manifest themselves in the classroom. The hypothesis is that teachers with more connections in their understanding will have more tools to draw upon in their classroom teaching, thus using their knowledge in different ways from teachers with a less coherent understanding.
Below, you will find some of the resources that have been developed as a result of this project. These include a web-based program called Fractions Bars, as well as activities developed in The Geometer’s Sketchpad, which can also be used on the iPad through the free app Sketchpad Explorer.