This is the summary of a presentation given at the Joint Mathematics Meetings, January 10-13, 1996, Orlando, Florida.
Preparing preservice elementary teachers to teach mathematics through modeling
To most of today's future teachers, doing mathematics in the elementary classroom meant memorizing facts, rules, procedures, and performing calculations on an individual basis to get an answer to some question. Today, in the elementary classroom, we want students to do mathematics by investigating, exploring, formulating, conjecturing, generalizing, and explaining in a problem solving environment. Thus, one of the most important aspects of the development of preservice elementary teachers is for the educational process to include opportunities to experience this new definition of what it means to do mathematics. An effective means for providing this experience is to have preservice teachers experience an interactive problem solving environment in which they do mathematical discovery of concepts through investigation utilizing manipulatives. The focus of this paper will be to provide examples of how this has been accomplished in mathematics content and methods courses for preservice elementary teachers. Illustrations of out-of-class projects and in-class experiments used in groups designed to model an interactive environment will be presented. Student portfolio definition, student evaluation instruments, student achievement instruments, self assessment and group assessment measures will be shared.
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