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Presented by Dr. Rebecca McGraw from the University of Arizona
A central goal of mathematics instruction is to enable students to apply mathematical concepts and tools to other academic subjects and daily life. However, transfer of mathematical knowledge across subjects and into the real world continues to challenge teachers and students. Teachers strive to engage students with contextualized problems in order to make mathematics more meaningful, but students do not necessarily see or value the connections. In our research, my colleagues and I seek to identify the mathematical, and contextual, boundaries of non-routine problems. We are particularly interested in how learners themselves establish such boundaries, and whether explicit attention to the establishment of problem spaces and boundaries may support transfer of knowledge. In this talk, I will describe research on the intellectual demands of contextualized problems, and share some initial analysis of data collected from small groups of teacher learners engaged in solving contextualized mathematics problems.