This is the summary of a presentation given at the Joint Mathematics
Meetings, January 10-13, 1996, Orlando, Florida.
Problem solving for pre-service elementary teachers:
How to fit mathematics, pedagogy, and technology into 10 weeks
The third of the three math courses required of prospective K-6 teachers at
CSUSB is Problem Solving in Mathematics. My sections include extensive practice
in problem solving, but also cover all the "strands" of mathematics identified
in the California K-12 Mathematics framework, include pedagogical issues, and
introduce students to electronic communications.
Mathematics content. Students work on serious problems and extended
investigations; the only short problems are practice exercises. Other problems,
based on the problems done in class, are assigned as individual homework.
Problems are grouped in units (e.g., Number Patterns) which include several
mathematical topics. Recurrent themes tie the units together. A final portfolio
of each student's selected best work helps students see these connections.
Pedagogy. Most work in class is done in small groups, with short lectures for
introductions to new topics and large group discussions to tie together work at
the end of a unit. Students gain practice in mathematical discourse with their
group members, provide written explanations of their work, and do an oral
presentation to the class. While this is not a math methods course, some
spent discussing the relevance of the problems the students work on to K-6
teaching. Students are asked to adapt some of the class problems to a level
appropriate for children and compile their own collection of 10 problems from
any sources they can find.
Technology. Each student receives a computer account, and learns to send e-mail
to other members of the class and to a penpal, generally a math educator
somewhere in the U.S. Students are also introduced to the World Wide Web via a
Dr. Susan Addington
The Geometry Center
1300 South 2nd Street, Suite 500
Minneapolis, MN 55454