Possible Cognate of Interest

Still looking for a cognate course to take? Interested in mathematics education? This fall, Professor Herbst, a well-known expert in mathematics eduction is giving a course on Thinking and Learning in Mathematics and the Natural Sciences.  This course will satisfy the Rackham cognate requirement. Details below.

EDUC 782/831—The Study of Thinking and Learning in Mathematics and the Natural Sciences

Instructor: Pat Herbst, Professor of Mathematics Education, School of Education

Mondays 4-7, Room 4212 School of Education Building

This doctoral-level course provides an overview of how researchers in mathematics and science education have framed and studied questions of individual thinking, learning, and knowing in those disciplines. Students will learn about various theoretical perspectives that have been used over the last few decades to account for what children and youth know, how they process knowledge, and how this knowledge evolves, paying particular attention to learning trajectories.

Students will also learn some elements of craft knowledge, through engaging collectively in the design of an instrument to elicit students’ conceptions of area equivalence as an example in which to learn about cognitive interviewing, developing an analytic rubric to code responses, evaluating interrater reliability, developing measures that feed from coded responses, and the investigation of hypotheses about the evolution of those conceptions over time. This collective project will include working with actual student responses.

In choosing the readings the instructor has sought to balance the need to familiarize students with key authors and classic pieces in this domain of inquiry with the need to sample from a broad range of theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of thinking and learning in mathematics and science. The covering of research on students’ understanding of specific topics is a secondary goal and it will be illustrated by reading a book length review of research on learning trajectories in early childhood mathematics. Students will have the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of how thinking and learning of specific mathematics and science ideas (of their own choosing) have been studied through writing a methodological review paper.