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META Math

Paid Opportunity in Curriculum Development

The leadership team of the MAA META Math project (NSF DUE 1726624) invites you to a paid opportunity for participation in curriculum development workshops starting April 1 and running through the remainder of the spring semester. The focus of the work will be on the creation of new lesson supplements (“Connected Lesson Supplements”) in the model of the META Math Annotated Lesson Plans, which are summarized in the open META Math community on MAA Connect and available in full by email request to the project team. 

Current META Math materials are focused on four subject areas -- abstract algebra, single variable calculus, discrete mathematics, and statistics -- and we welcome further development for these courses or branching out into other core mathematics-major courses that enroll pre-service teachers (PST), such as linear algebra, multivariable calculus, and analysis. Since this work is paid by an NSF grant, we have a limited number of slots available and we will restrict participation to faculty members at colleges or high schools in the US and its territories.

To learn more about the META Math project we recommend the article, “Let Us Treat Teaching as a Legitimate Application of College Mathematics", which appeared in the June 2019 issue of MAA Focus. To learn more details about the upcoming workshop, contact Doug Ensley, deensley@ship.edu, or check back on this page in the coming weeks. 

Workshop Plan and Timeline

  1. Through email communication and surveys, we will gather information from all potential participants by March 15. This will allow us to form initial, small working groups in advance of the kickoff workshop.
  2. April 1, 4:30-6:00 EDT: The kickoff (virtual) workshop will articulate goals, clarify expectations, and establish working groups.
  3. April-May: Working groups collaborate as they wish. Leaders of working groups will have an interim check-in with the META Math leadership team.
  4. May 18, 4:30 - 6:00 EDT: Virtual workshop with presentations from working groups. 
  5. We have an expected deliverable of one Connected Lesson Supplement per person, created in collaboration with a working group.

About Connected Lesson Supplements (CLS)

These are short (two-ish pages) write-ups of a classroom activity, or problem set, or homework exercise or investigation that can be readily incorporated into an existing undergraduate mathematics course. These supplements naturally invite students to look both backwards and forwards in their own mathematics learning to see deep connections throughout their broad K-16 schooling experiences. They also help place the topic of mathematics teaching as a valid application of their current work, akin to the applications to engineering, medicine, economics, and such that textbooks typically offer. We will emphasize the following types of connections studied by the META Math project.

Connections to Teaching

(Arnold, E. G., Burroughs, E. A., Fulton, E. W., & Álvarez, J.A. M. (2020). Applications of Teaching Secondary Mathematics in Undergraduate Mathematics Courses. The 14th International Congress on Math. Ed.)

  • (CK) Content Knowledge. Undergraduates use course content in applied contexts or to answer mathematical questions in the course. 
  • (EC) Explaining Mathematical Content. Undergraduates justify the mathematical procedures or theorems and use of related mathematical concepts. 
  • (BF) Looking Back / Looking Forward. Undergraduates explain how mathematics topics are related over a span of K-12 curriculum through undergraduate mathematics.
  • (ET) School Student Thinking. Undergraduates evaluate the mathematics underlying a student’s work and explain what that student may understand.
  • (GU) Guiding School Students’ Understanding. Undergraduates pose or evaluate guiding questions to help a hypothetical student understand a mathematical concept and explain how the questions may guide the student’s learning.

About the Project

How can standard mathematics major courses connect back to high school topics in a way that enriches deeper understanding of both? And how might doing this produce more motivated new teachers as well as more engaged mathematics students? The MAA META Math project addresses these connections by creating curriculum material for math major courses that treat applications to “high school content” as just as valuable as applications to business or STEM disciplines. The use of these materials will, in turn, lift the Mathematical Knowledge of Teachers to the same level of importance of other application areas (such as business or STEM fields) for mathematics within and throughout the standard mathematics curriculum. The initial subject areas for the META Math lessons are:

  • Abstract Algebra
  • Single Variable Calculus
  • Discrete Mathematics
  • Statistics 

META Math will add to the research knowledge base by assessing college students’ understanding of school mathematics from an advanced perspective.The project enhances student understanding of the vertical connections from school mathematics through advanced undergraduate mathematics among all mathematics undergraduates. All undergraduates, not just future teachers, will benefit from the deep mathematical understanding fostered by instructors using META Math modules.

Request Access to META Math Lessons

Project Goal

The goal of the META Math project is to increase faculty capacity to guide undergraduate pre-service teachers in:

  • Making explicit connections between undergraduate mathematics and secondary school mathematics, and

  • Developing deep, sophisticated understanding of mathematics taught in grades 7-12.

Project Objectives

  1. Develop quality instructional lessons that make explicit connections between college mathematics and school mathematics;

  2. Pilot test these materials and pilot a year-long faculty development program to train faculty on the use of these lessons;

  3. Research student learning that results from the use of these lessons, and evaluate the effectiveness of the faculty development program that prepares faculty to use these modules.

Webinar - May 2020 

Explicitly addressing applications to teaching in advanced mathematics courses requires a culture shift. Our textbooks often point out applications to other disciplines—physics, economics, sociology, biology, forensics, and the like. They do this through side-discussions and special exercises. Could there not be examples of applications of this mathematics to school teaching as well? Shouldn’t there be? This webinar featured five presenters representing two different NSF-funded projects, MAA META Math and MODULE(S^2), and is available to watch now.

Watch the Webinar

View Presentation Abstracts

 

Leadership Team

  • Doug Ensley, Shippensburg University

  • Beth Burroughs, Montana State University

  • James Alvarez, University of Texas - Arlington

  • Nancy Neudauer, Pacific University

  • James Tanton, MAA Mathematician-at-Large


Support for this MAA program is provided by the National Science Foundation (grant DUE-1726624).