Developing Mathematical Expertise in a Problem-Centered Classroom

Mathematics Instruction


Online Professional Development Course   View map

Current State Standards for Mathematical Practice require teachers to help their students to develop the mathematical expertise or ‘habits of mind’ that will allow them to work with challenging tasks across mathematics domains. One way of developing this mathematical expertise is through the use of cognitively demanding tasks as a central lesson focus. Cognitively demanding tasks require students to think deeply, make sense of problems, productively struggle to create a solution, and then communicate their thinking and understanding in a public way.

Participants will learn about and implement strategies for developing students mathematical expertise through a problem centered classroom instruction. Participants will plan, implement, and critically reflect on instructional strategies essential to developing students’ expertise with math.

Developing Mathematical Expertise in a Problem-Centered Classroom brings together the expertise of mathematics education leaders such as John Van de Walle, Mary K. Stein, and Phil Daro to discover and examine the teaching and learning benefits of focusing on a central challenging problem or set of problems within a classroom lesson. Problem-based lessons must be taught in a risk-taking supportive environment which challenges students to apply their mathematical understandings in a variety of situations. By participating in the course, teachers will learn how to plan these types of lessons and examine the instructional strategies that need to be implemented in order for maximum benefits to be gained.

This course is has been divided into the following modules:

  1. Defining Mathematical Expertise
  2. Skill Centered vs. Problem-Centered Approach to Teaching Mathematics
  3. The Three Parts of a Problem-Centered Lesson
  4. Planning and Implementing Your Problem-Centered Lesson
  5. Putting It All Together: The Final Project

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