Orlando Meetings: Presentation Summary


Back to Orlando: Pre-Service Teacher Ed


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 time is 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 scavenger hunt.

Dr. Susan Addington
The Geometry Center
1300 South 2nd Street, Suite 500
Minneapolis, MN 55454
addingto@geom.umn.edu



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