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Mathematics and Authentic Learning 1

Mathematics and Authentic Learning: A NCTM Review

Kayla Brown EDUC 5433: Elementary School Math Methods St. Thomas University February 28, 2014

Mathematics and Authentic Learning 2 Basile, C. (1999). Collecting data outdoors: Making connections to the real world. Teaching Children Mathematics,6(1), 8-12. Carole Basile teaches at the University of Houston and focuses on teaching environmental education to elementary students. The intended audience are elementary school teachers, especially those teaching mathematics. The author is informally presenting an idea for teaching mathematics and making real-world connections. Through data collection outdoors, she intends to introduce students to abstract mathematics as they sort and classify data theyve discovered for themselves. Basile believes that children can gain knowledge and skills by collecting information from the world around them, and applies this to an activity that teachers can use in their own classroom. It is mentioned how important it is that teachers create meaningful mathematic environments to the students by providing real-life contexts. Through her examples, Basile gives teachers the knowledge to effectively implement this in their own classroom,. There is a lot of information in the article regarding the benefits of real-world connections and data collection; both through her own personal experience as well as references to other articles on mathematical reasoning in science and the NCTM standards. The article is written informally, drawing mostly on previous experience and includes pictures from actual activities and student work. The pictures help to reinforce the ideas presented in the article, and show the reader that this is something that students can actively participate in. This article helps give educators the base for integrating mathematics into the science curriculum as well as creating real-world connections that students can relate to. It is an easily applicable concept that teachers can use in a grade levels.

Mathematics and Authentic Learning 3 Minetola, J., Serr, K., & Nelson, L. (2012). Authentic geometry adventures. Teaching Children Mathematics, 18(7), 434-438. This article was written by three assistant professors in the Teacher Education Department at Shippensburg University. Each author has experience working in the Elementary classroom as well as teaching other educators. The intended audience is elementary school teachers, especially those teaching mathematics. The article presents how they incorporated mathematics into real-world learning through geometry. The article is written specifically about the classroom in which students participated in a Shape Walk and how this activity is related to authentic learning and mathematics. The article is based on actual experience, and its effects are backed up with articles about teaching developmentally and how to teach geometric thinking. Though there is no research presented, observations show that students benefitted from this type of activity while still having fun. The pictures in the article show happy, engaged students who are participating in the Shape Walk and help reinforce the point that students are engaged in this type of learning. The article concludes with a summary of what the children learned when they participated in the activity, with examples of how they showed understanding. The authors encouraged this type of hands-on activity versus whole-group direct class teaching. It is a common theory in the teaching community that students learn best by being immersed in the lesson instead of listening to the teacher lecture, and this article is one more piece of evidence that shows this. The information in the article is detailed enough that a teacher can use this information to create their own Shape Walk in their geometry lessons.

Mathematics and Authentic Learning 4 Yang, D. (2006). Developing number sense through real-life situations in school. Teaching Children Mathematics,13(2), 104-110. Der-Ching Yang teaches courses on mathematics education at National Chiayi University in Taiwan. Though he teaches in Taiwan, the article still incorporates the NCTM standards and is applicable to the North American education system. The intended audience are elementary school teachers, especially those teaching mathematics. Yang is suggesting that it is important for students to understand numbers through real-life situations. The article presented in the article is a fourth grade lesson from Taiwan that focuses on number sense through real classroom interactions. The article is part of a research project that is supported by the National Science Council of Taiwan, but includes references pertaining to NCTM standards and number sense. The lesson incorporates a word problem that the students can relate to in the real-world (in this case, basketball court sizes). The students discuss as a class how they plan to solve the equation using knowledge and skills they already know. It is suggested that teacher interaction is extremely important, as they can guide students towards the right direction and asking the right questions. Yang gives tips on how to encourage the students and how to prompt them without giving too much information. It is acknowledged that students did not know how to solve two digit by two digit multiplication problems but do know how to multiply two or three digits by one digit. At the end of the article, there is a summary of what the students and teacher learned during the exercise and even gives points that can be improved. Overall, the article is very informative regarding the concept of flexible teaching and class problem solving.