Making Mathematical Connections
Note: This page describes the Making Mathematical Connections programs that ran from 2009-2012 and from 2015-2017. If your district is interested in collaborating with us to design a professional development program in mathematics for your teachers, please contact Eric Kuennen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Program
Making Mathematical Connections: Mathematics Knowledge for Teaching the Common Core is a teacher professional development program developed at UW Oshkosh. Our first program ran from 2009-2012 and was a partnership with Neenah and ten other school districts in and around the Fox Valley. Our second program ran from 2015-2017 and was a partnership with Medford and four other Northern Wisconsin districts. Both programs were funded by a Mathematics and Science Partnerships grant through the US Department of Education and provided intensive professional development in mathematics content for approximately 36 teachers in grades four through nine.
The goal of Making Mathematical Connections is to improve student achievement through deepening teachers’ mathematics knowledge for teaching. Teacher participants will gain a deep understanding of the Common Core Mathematical Content and Practice Standards in order to effectively facilitate student learning of math concepts and processes, effectively implement the use of rich and engaging mathematical problems in the classroom, understand how students learn math content in order to diagnose and respond to students’ mathematical misconceptions in the classroom, and collaborate vertically between grade levels in order to develop a continuum of developing knowledge and skills.
Teacher feedback revealed that a major impact of that project is that many participants want to adopt the teaching methods used by the faculty in the Summer Institute and increase the emphasis in their mathematics lessons on problem-based inquiry, or teaching through problem-solving. For instance one participant reported, “I am 100 percent intending to incorporate the station problems that I have developed over the course of the workshop. Moreover, I think that the foundation provided through the workshop has helped me to see not only the benefits of including such investigative learning practices, but also the necessity for them.” Participants indicated that they have developed more positive attitudes towards the teaching of mathematics. For example, one participant shared, “The workshop made me rethink the way I have been teaching for the last 20 years!” Another participant enthusiastically offered, “If I could have somehow designed a course to help me do what I do in my classroom, this would have been it!”