Dr. Stohlmann and colleagues work to demystify notions of mathematical complexity.
Teaching mathematics through the Common Core State Standards is a relatively new area of research. Dr. Micah Stohlmann, Assistant Professor, Ms. Cathrine Maiorca, doctoral candidate, and Dr. Travis Olson, Associate Professor- all from the Department of Teaching and Learning– set out to demystify notions of mathematical complexity and difficulty. In their recent study (Stohlmann, Maiorca, & Olson, 2015a), they examined preservice secondary teachers’ conceptions for teaching mathematics using Modeling-Eliciting Activities (MEAs).
According to Stohlmann and colleagues, research shows that MEAs- activities that seek to construct, evaluate, and review mathematical models- can be difficult for teachers to implement. In addition, teachers are more likely to implement mathematical modeling activities when they have an increased level of self-efficacy with the framework. The current study’s aim was to familiarize participants with mathematical modeling in order to implement within a Common Core State Standards classroom.
Participants were 17 preservice secondary mathematics teachers enrolled in a secondary mathematics methods course. Specifically, participants engaged in a MEA, reflected on their experiences, and discussed how they would implement the mathematical techniques learned into a typical public school classroom. Data were analyzed through cross-case analysis; interpretation focused on group process during the MEA along with general reflections about utility and applicability of the MEA in the classroom.
Findings indicate that it is important to provide mathematical modeling to high school students in the classroom setting. Likewise, it is important to provide training on the implementation of mathematical modeling to secondary mathematics teachers. In order for teachers to implement mathematical modeling techniques effectively, secondary teachers must be taught mathematical modeling while keeping in mind time constraints and Common Core State Standards.
Learn more about Dr. Micah Stohlmann
aStohlmann, M., Maiorca, C., & Olson, T. (2015). Preservice secondary teachers’ conceptions from a mathematical modeling activity and connections to the Common Core State Standards. Mathematics Educator Journal, 24, 21-43.