Principal Investigator: David Carraher
Funders: National Science Foundation
In this partnership led by Tufts University’s departments of Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy, and Education, TERC is joining the Dover, NH school district and eight other diverse partner districts in Massachusetts (Fitchburg, Leominster, Medway, Medford, and Somerville); New Hampshire (Sanborn, and Timberlane); and Maine (Portland) to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics in middle school and build stronger connections between the elementary, middle, and high school math curricula. This project seeks to broaden teachers’ understanding of mathematics and of mathematics education, focusing on how middle school children think and learn to identify, streamline, and re-envision how they teach critical math and physics topics to reach all students. The impact of the project will be evaluated by the multidisciplinary research team.
Building on the collaborative work of Tufts and TERC through The Fulcrum Institute, Early Algebra, Early Arithmetic Project, and The Inquiry Project, the Poincaré Institute will leverage expertise from mathematicians, physicists, educational researchers, and districts to:
- Create graduate level online courses on mathematical content, research in mathematics education, and mathematical knowledge for teaching offered to three cohorts of in-service teachers (grades 5-9) from the nine partner districts;
- Use algebra and the mathematics of functions and modeling for promoting coherence among topics in the mathematics curriculum;
- Implement permanent discussion forums in participant schools, where teachers plan, review (using video technologies), and improve their lessons, drawing on critical mathematical topics and issues of learning and teaching;
- Strengthen and expand partnerships with schools by preparing teachers and researchers in Tufts' graduate programs in Mathematics and in Education, through internships with teacher leaders and participation in educational research;
- Conduct research on teacher development and student learning;
- Support school districts’ efforts to improve their mathematics curricula;
- Disseminate a teacher development model for adoption by other university-school partnerships.
This five-year project will produce courses, materials, and examples of effective teaching that will be free, open source materials, available to schools and universities under Creative Commons licensing. The Poincaré Institute is funded by the National Science Foundation’s Math and Science Partnership Program.