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Education Research Projects - Mathematics


Faculty Research:


Graduate Student and Faculty Involvement in, and Knowledge of, Mathematics and Science Teacher Preparation
There is currently a great deal of attention being focused on the preparation of elementary and secondary school teachers, especially in the areas of mathematics and the sciences. To become a teacher, a person must study the content they will be teaching and instructional methods appropriate for the students they will teach. Associated with The  National Science Foundation funded Center for Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL,, this work focuses on the roles that graduate students and faculty play in the preparation of school teachers. One goal of the project is to document the different activities and projects that graduate students and faculty are participating in, or have participated in at some time in the past. The other goal is to find out what aspects of the teacher preparation process graduate students and faculty are most familiar with and which aspects they are less familiar with. This information will be used to inform the development of materials and programs to help graduate students and faculty learn more about teacher preparation and the roles they might play in the process.

Video cases for novice college mathematics instructor development
The goal of this project is to develop a set of  video case studies for novice teachers (e.g., graduate teaching assistants (TAs), post-docs, new faculty, etc.) to use as preparation for the teaching of college mathematic courses. The project is funded by the Department of Education, via the Fund for Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE). Based on similar work at K-12 levels, the materials will provide opportunities for novice teachers to examine and learn about instructional practices and student thinking/learning. Materials will also be developed to connect the video cases to research on the teaching and learning of college mathematics. The video cases may be used as a core for college mathematics professional development programs or as a part of an already-established program. PI: Shandy Hauk, University of Northern Colorado, co-PI: David Kung, St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

Teaching Inquiry-Oriented Differential Equations
Very little is known about the factors that shape the instructional practices of college teachers of mathematics. The goal of this project is to examine connections between mathematicians’ knowledge/beliefs and their teaching practices as they interact with students in undergraduate differential equations classes. In particular, the focus of the research is on the influences of pedagogical content knowledge, specialized content knowledge, content knowledge, and beliefs on the ways that teachers orchestrate whole class discussions.

Natasha Speer
Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education
Neville Hall 234


Student Research:

Using Spatial Temporal Rejoining to Understand Connection between Music Education as a Focus Variable toward Mathematical Proof and Justification
By: Adam Barker-Hoyt
This project investigates connections between mathematics achievement and music education via understanding persistence.

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Symbology of Integral Notation and Student Misconceptions in Definite, and Indefinite Integration

By: William Hall, Jr.

There has been considerable interest throughout the Mathematics education community on how students understand limit concepts, Riemann sums, and accumulation as they pertain to integration. However, there has been little to no research on students’ understanding of the anti-derivative and its relationship to the definite integral. A preliminary study has shown that many students tend to view integration, both definite and indefinite, as area concepts. The indefinite integral is seen as a precursor to the definite integral and many students are neglecting the fundamental distinctions between the two concepts.

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Students’ Qualitative Understanding of the First and Second Derivative of a Function

By: Randy Stahley

This thesis research is in cooperation with the Dept. of Mathematics and Statistics NEASC study. This research examines how students, who recently completed MAT 126 (Calculus I), qualitatively understand how to create the first and second derivative of a given graphical function. Exploring this non-arithmetic side of calculus differentiation will allow the mathematics instruction community to better understand how students learn, explain, and retain this process. With this information, calculus instructors and curriculum developers can gouge out misconceptions and concentrate on weaker areas of graphical understanding.

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