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R & D Activities: Project Details


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Mathematics Content for Teachers

Part of the CPTM agenda is to support the development of mathematics content courses that aim to promote prospective teachers’ understanding of mathematics in ways that are useful and usable in the work of teaching. A group of faculty and doctoral students from the School of Education and the Mathematics Department at the University of Michigan have started an effort to develop a mathematics content course that would offer prospective teachers rich opportunities to develop their mathematical knowledge and that would also help them see and appreciate where and how this knowledge might play out in the work they will be doing as teachers.

Two distinguishing features of the course are the following: (a) The way it conceptualizes the mathematical content as including both concepts (e.g., even and odd numbers, convex polygons) and practices (e.g., mathematical reasoning, notation, language, definitions); and (b) The way it treats the mathematical content by work both on mathematical tasks (like the ones typically found in textbooks) and on applications that connect the content with the work of teaching (e.g., analysis of student errors; interpretation, evaluation, and response to student ideas).

This work is supplemented by an effort to provide prospective teachers a coherent experience between the content and methods courses. There is great overlap between the people who work in the two courses and an explicit attempt to make choices within this sequence of courses strategically so that the opportunities offered to prospective teachers to develop mathematical knowledge needed for teaching are maximized.