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Purpose

The purpose of the following response questions is to support you as you make sense of the assigned readings and synthesize key ideas across them specifically, the interconnected nature of mathematical concepts through conceptual understanding and mathematical meaning, broadly and within K-12 math classrooms (CLOs 1 & 3). They also provide a space for us to share thoughts, ideas, and wonderings so we can learn with (and from!) one another.

As you respond to your peers across this course, be sure you are thoughtfully engaging with the ideas we are working with in this course (and other education/mathematics courses) to answer questions and continue the conversation.

Instructions

After completing the assigned readings for Week 3, choose two of the following response questions and answer them via this Canvas Discussion Board.

Initial Post

Choose two of the following Response Questions. Identify the numbers of the questions you answer in the initial post. Those numbers will be important when it comes to responding to peer posts.

One of the main arguments Su puts forward in this chapter is the idea of mathematical meaning found in the stories we build about relationships between objects or ideas. We might consider geometric, significance, explanatory, or experiential stories, among others, as ways to convey relationships between mathematical objects. What kinds of stories have you heard or built yourself across your mathematical journey? What kinds of stories do you think are easiest to construct? most difficult? most meaningful? Why? Provide examples or reasons to support your responses.

The notion of mathematical meaning as discussed by Su (2020) and the strand of conceptual understanding (NRC, 2001) may seem closely related as you read the selections for this week. Choose a quote from Su (2020) Chapter 3 that, to you, captures the relationship between these two ideas. What pieces of conceptual understanding does this quote magnify or clarify for you? What characteristics of conceptual understanding does it not attend to? What other reasons, features, or connections with this quote made it stand out to you? Feel free to reflect on your own experiences in mathematics (in or outside the classroom) in your response.

Conceptual understanding can be described as understanding how a cluster interrelated facts and principles can be unpacked, condensed, or linked with other clusters of mathematical ideas (NRC, 2001, p. 120). These clusters can sometimes be hard to identify, which makes it challenging to support students in seeing the relations between concepts. The reading mentions clusters such as place value, operations with single and multi-digit numbers, the numbers, etc. Propose another knowledge cluster or set of interrelated concepts (or choose one of the examples from the text). Suggest how you see this cluster unfolding across the K-12 spectrum, including an example from each grade-band, K-5, 6-8, and 9-12. State in 2-3 sentences why you see this cluster as important outside of the math classroom and pose one question to your peers.

Lischka & Stevens (2015) highlight one tool – the rectangular area model – that can support students development of conceptual understanding. Provide a 2-3 sentence argument to support this claim. If you disagree with this claim, argue why it is incorrect. Draw upon evidence from Lischka & Stevens (2015) and NRC (2001). Then, identify at least one benefit and one challenge or worry of using such a tool across grade levels. Provide an example of each to illustrate your understanding.