Home > Faculty, STE > Research by mathematics education professor featured in Education Week

Research by mathematics education professor featured in Education Week

September 10, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

Dr. Kathy Clark

Dr. Kathy Clark, associate professor of mathematics education, was featured in an article by Education Week regarding an NSF-funded project that she is working on.

Under a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation, Clark and six other university math professors are writing lesson plans around primary sources which they’ll then pilot with students around the country. While this is a common practice in history and English classes, it is rare in the math world. The idea, based on earlier grant-funded work, is that understanding the origins of important mathematical concepts will help students fully grasp and remember them later, and that exploring mathematicians’ motivations will be inspiring for students.

For Clark, who is a principal investigator, the project is about enhancing students’ ability to build their own mathematical arguments. She explains to Education Week that students who are learning Pascal’s triangle and “have gone through the words of the actual authority from 1654, when they go to work on problems based on that mathematical concept, we hope their articulation will be more nuanced because they’ve had this rich experience.”

Before Clark was a faculty member in the FSU College of Education, she taught high school for 12 years. In her work as a high school math teacher, she periodically used primary sources with her students and found them beneficial. “That’s a missed resource in high school teaching today,” she said. “I hardly see math students in high school open a book for anything other than math exercises. It perpetuates this notion that math is just a bunch of exercises you do—you crunch numbers and solve for x.” Through primary sources, students learn to “tear apart the mathematics and the meaning and put it together at the end.”

You can read the full article by Education Week here.

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