Making Mathematical Connections
Making Mathematical Connections: Mathematics Knowledge for Teaching the Common Core is a teacher professional development program funded by a Mathematics and Science Partnerships grant through the US Department of Education. It is a partnership between UW Oshkosh and five Northern Wisconsin school districts, including Medford, Abbottsford, Rib Lake, Prentice, and Colby to provide intensive professional development in mathematics content for 36 teachers in grades four through nine.
Eric Kuennen of the UW Oshkosh Mathematics Department is the project director and co-principal investigator. Laura Lundy, Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Medford Area School District, is the program’s coordinator and co-principal investigator.
The goal of Making Mathematical Connections is to improve student achievement through deepening teachers' mathematics knowledge for teaching. Teacher participants will gain a deep understanding of the Common Core Mathematical Content and Practice Standards in order to effectively facilitate student learning of math concepts and processes, effectively implement the use of rich and engaging mathematical problems in the classroom, understand how students learn math content in order to diagnose and respond to students’ mathematical misconceptions in the classroom, and collaborate vertically between grade levels in order to develop a continuum of developing knowledge and skills.
A similar program was offered through UW Oshkosh in 2009-2012. Participant feedback revealed that a major impact of that project is that many participants want to adopt the teaching methods used by the faculty in the Summer Institute and increase the emphasis in their mathematics lessons on problem-based inquiry, or teaching through problem-solving. For instance one participant reported, “I am 100 percent intending to incorporate the station problems that I have developed over the course of the workshop. Moreover, I think that the foundation provided through the workshop has helped me to see not only the benefits of including such investigative learning practices, but also the necessity for them.” Participants indicated that they have developed more positive attitudes towards the teaching of mathematics. For example, one participant shared, “The workshop made me rethink the way I have been teaching for the last 20 years!” Another participant enthusiastically offered, “If I could have somehow designed a course to help me do what I do in my classroom, this would have been it!”
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