- Year 2016
- NSF Noyce Award # 1240046
- First Name Karen
- Last Name Anderson
- Discipline Mathematics
Kathleen McNamara, Stonehill College, KMcNamara@Stonehill.edu
; Eugene Quinn, Stonehill College, EQuinn1@Stonehill.edu ; Timothy Woodcock, Stonehill College, TWoodcock@Stonehill.edu
Jenna Rapoza, Stonehill College, firstname.lastname@example.org ; Karen L. Anderson, Stonehill College, KarenAnderson@Stonehill.edu; Bonnie Troupe, Stonehill College, BTroupe@Stonehill.edu
Although many of our licensure candidates claim to teach mathematics through problem-solving, the ‘problems’ they present to their students rarely reflect the view of problem-solving articulated by the NCTM (1980, 1989, 2000, 2006) and embodied within the standards for mathematical practice (DESE, 2011). One potential reason for this could be that many of the PK-12 classrooms where they “learned mathematics” presented it as “a collection of rules to be mastered, arithmetic computations, mysterious algebraic equations, and geometric proofs” (Van de Walle, 2007, p. 12). Without direct experiences with problem solving – as either a student or as a licensure candidate – making the leap from theory to practice and utilizing problem-solving as an instructional practice is challenging to say the least.
In order to address this issue, Stonehill College developed the NUMB3RS Project. The goal of The NUMB3RS Project is to utilize problem-solving to move the thinking of both our licensure candidates and the PK-12 students they work with in our partner schools and districts, beyond rote memorization to the development of a deeper conceptual understanding of the big ideas in mathematics.
Unlike traditional pre-practicum, where licensure candidates typically follow the lead of their supervising practitioners in terms of curriculum and classroom management, involvement in NUMB3RS Projects provides licensure candidates with opportunities to work in teams (led by members of the Noyce Project Team) to design and then implement mathematical problems within our partner schools and districts.
True to the nature of service learning, both the licensure candidates and the community partners they work with benefit. Students in the schools and districts hosting NUMB3RS Projects receive extended learning time beyond the traditional school day through access to a free, afterschool program with mathematical problem solving at its heart. Licensure candidates receive opportunities, early in their teacher preparation program, to design, implement and reflect upon their own instructional practices.
To date NUMB3RS Projects have been successfully utilized in public and parochial schools in Avon, Brockton, and Easton Massachusetts, in an after-school program at the Fall River YMCA, and with School on Wheels of Massachusetts (nonprofit organization which works with children and families experiencing homelessness).
Preliminary results from this project were shared at the Massachusetts Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (MACTE) Fall Conference in October 2015 in Worcester Massachusetts.