A Model for Mathematics Education

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.

In the Spotlight: Dr. Nathan Slife

Dr. Nathan Slife, Assistant Professor in Residence in the Department of Educational Psychology and Higher Education, will be presented with the Burns B. Crookston Doctoral Research Award during the Association of College Personnel Administrators (ACPA) Professional Preparation Commission meeting March 6-9, 2016, in Montréal, Canada.

This award recognizes original, journal quality research by a doctoral student that brings greater understanding to the organization and administration of student affairs in higher education. Burns B. Crookston was a key figure of the student development movement and called for a unified focus on learning and the discussion of social and cultural values in higher education. Slife is being awarded for his dissertation research that focused on how values guide student affairs practice.

Slife, a 2014 graduate of the UNLV Higher Education program, stated, “This award speaks to the rigor of our Higher Education program and wonderful faculty.”

For additional information about the ACPA, visit http://www.myacpa.org/who-we-are