Mathematics Learning Case Study

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This module requires pre-service teachers to conduct a problem solving interview assessment with a student, and conduct a mathematics “getting to know you” interview, OR shadow a student, OR both (preferably with the same student). [In the future, an optional component of this module is PSTs conducting home visits].

Activity 1 has two options. The first option is the Mathematics “Getting to Know You” Interview, where Pre-service teachers conduct an interview with one or more students in their practicum classroom in an effort to become more familiar with the student(s)’ activities and interests, the student(s)’ home and community knowledge base and home and community resources. There are several purposes of this interview. One is to find out more about the student including his/her interests, activities s/he engages in outside of school, and what s/he identifies as activities at which s/he excels. The second is to identify places, locations, and activities in the community that are familiar to the student(s), and to find out what the student knows about potential mathematical activity in those settings. A third purpose is to find out more about the students’ ideas, attitudes and/or dispositions towards mathematics. Finally, PSTs will consider how to use this knowledge in mathematics instruction. The second option is the Shadow a Student Project, where Pre-service teachers are asked to “shadow” a student for a period of time (ideally one full day) in an effort to identify the child’s competencies across contexts. The goal is for PSTs to become more familiar with a particular student in their practicum placement both in terms of their mathematics knowledge and in terms of their interests, culture, and life experiences.

The second activity, Problem Solving Interview Assessment, requires Pre-service teachers to conduct one or more problem solving interviews with one or more students in their practicum classroom. This interview provides an opportunity to practice eliciting, interpreting and assessing students’ thinking about mathematics, with a particular focus on children’s understanding of number concepts. If PSTs conduct only one problem solving interview, that interview should focus on the basic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and/or division). If PSTs conduct additional interview assessments, those assessments might focus on topics such as base ten understanding, more work with the basic operations, or fractions.

The last activity, Connections Across Activities Write Up is designed to cut across the various activities in this module. In this write-up, the PST will reflect across the multiple interviews and/or observations that he/she completed with his/her case study student, and the implications of what was learned for mathematics teaching.

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This project is supported in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation