Preservice mathematics teachers are entrusted with developing their future students' interest in and ability to do mathematics effectively. Various policy documents place an importance on being able to reason about and prove mathematical claims. However, it is not enough for these preservice teachers, and their future students, to have a narrow focus on only one type of proof (demonstration proof), as opposed to other forms of proof, such as generic example proofs or pictorial proofs. This article examines the effectiveness of a course on reasoning and proving on preservice teachers' awareness of and abilities to recognize and construct generic example proofs. The findings support assertions that such a course can and does change preservice teachers' capability with generic example proofs.
Shiv Karunakaran, Ben Freeburn, Nursen Konuk and Fran Arbaugh
This department publishes brief news articles, announcements and guest editorials on current mathematics education issues that stimulate the interest of TCM readers and cause them to think about an issue or consider a specific viewpoint about some aspect of mathematics education. This month in the Coaches' Corner, take a closer look at CCSS Standard 3 for Mathematical Practice, Explain and Justify. Coaches may want to demonstrate the integration of math and writing with Speak, Write, Reflect, Revise, a five-step approach for integrating problem solving and the writing process.
Jennifer Noll and J. Michael Shaughnessy
Sampling tasks and sampling distributions provide a fertile realm for investigating students' conceptions of variability. A project-designed teaching episode on samples and sampling distributions was team-taught in 6 research classrooms (2 middle school and 4 high school) by the investigators and regular classroom mathematics teachers. Data sources included survey data collected in 6 research classes and 4 comparison classes both before and after the teaching episode, and semistructured task-based interviews conducted with students from the research classes. Student responses and reasoning on sampling tasks led to the development of a conceptual lattice that characterizes types of student reasoning about sampling distributions. The lattice may serve as a useful conceptual tool for researchers and as a potential instructional tool for teachers of statistics. Results suggest that teachers need to focus explicitly on multiple aspects of distributions, especially variability, to enhance students' reasoning about sampling distributions.
Reasoning in Algebra Classrooms
Daniel Chazan and Dara Sandow
Secondary school mathematics teachers are often exhorted to incorporate reasoning into all mathematics courses. However, many feel that a focus on reasoning is easier to develop in geometry than in other courses. This article explores ways in which reasoning might naturally arise when solving equations in algebra courses.