“The National Science Foundation has awarded a $1,090,283 grant to researchers at the University of Arkansas, Brigham Young University, the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, and Grand Valley State University. The three-year grant, titled Investigating Middle Grades Mathematics Teachers’ Curricular Reasoning, will fund the work of researchers to study how middle grades mathematics teachers plan and enact mathematics lessons from a variety of resources, including textbooks and supplemental materials.
“Textbooks have traditionally driven what is learned in the mathematics classroom,” Dingman stated. “However, over the past couple of decades, and in particular since the release of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, we have seen more and more teachers move away from strictly following textbooks and towards using more supplemental materials that either they or someone in their district have created, or they have found online. “
I’m curious as to whether the study will find that teachers do this because textbooks are lacking in word problems that actually result in transfer to other types of problems, lacking in explanations, lacking in scaffolded problems that increase gradually in difficulty (rather than starting right off with something that causes kids to give up), and lacking in good sequencing. I’m curious also whether the study will include those teachers who use books from previous eras.
Something tells me the conclusion will be “The internet provides vast resources in math education that are not constrained by the traditional form of math teaching that currently dominate education.” In spite of the fact that the non-traditional form of math teaching has encroached upon the lower grades over the past 25 years.