Working Group: Classroom Materials

Chair: Susan McKenney

The following papers provide the background for the work of this group. Please bear in mind that some of the these papers are informal, or represent work-in-progress. To enable the working group sessions to focus on discussing these and other issues in relation to the conference themes, we suggest that delegates familiarize themsleves with the papers before the session.

The papers described in these abstracts can be downloaded from http://www.isdde.org/cairns/wg2.htm

A Curriculum Developer Lens on Challenges in US Mathematics Education

Glenda Lappan and Elizabeth Phillips - Michigan State University

The need to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics has been a focus of attention in the US over our entire careers. There have been waves of National interest in mathematics education that have attracted mathematicians and mathematics educators to the work of improving K-12 mathematics education. Today we will focus our remarks in two areas, our own curriculum development work including the story of how we came to engage in and accomplish the work and our comments on the challenges we face in future work to improve mathematics teaching and learning. We expect that many of the challenges we see are also challenges for mathematics education worldwide. First we will share relevant aspects of the work in which our research and development group have engaged for over 35 years. Many of these remarks are based on other papers that we have published about our work. But for this special audience we would like to tell you a bit of our personal stories.

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This is a draft of a paper from the forthcoming third issue of Educational Designer.

How to Practice It? An integrated approach to algebraic skills

Alex Friedlander and Abraham Arcavi - Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Recently, an increasing number of mathematics educators consider that procedural/transformational and conceptual/sense making activities are intrinsically complementary and should be thoroughly integrated. What kinds of tasks, exercises and problems,would engage student learning in such a way that such complementarity is enacted? We propose to answer this question from the perspective of instructional design.

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Educative curriculum materials for the integration of writing and science in elementary schools

Susan Mckenney & Joke Voogt - University of Twente, Netherlands
Willem Bustraan & Mieke Smits - National Institute for Curriculum Development, the Netherlands

This paper describes how five teachers perceived and operationalized the curriculum embodied in one set of educative materials, with limited additional professional development. All 25 class sessions were observed during the enactment of a five- lesson curricular module on clouds and precipitation, which was designed to facilitate pupils writing about science. All teachers showed less of the suggested teaching practices. Nevertheless all teachers focused most on those practices that were considered most important by the designers, viz. student collaboration and student thinking processes. Teachers were very positive about the possibilities of learning more about integrating writing and science through educative curriculum materials. Further study is necessary to understand what teachers learned from the experience and how this may have affected their practice for the longer term.

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