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Back to Class Home ETAP 623 Spring 2013 - Wilde

Mini-Course Making Math Real

Topic/Purpose of Project

The purpose of this course will to help middle and high school math teachers make their content real to their students The course goals are:

  • Explain why making math realistic is important in the high school classroom
  • Develop strategies to incorporate Problem-Based Learning in a math classroom

We will be focusing on Cognitive skills and attitudes.

Needs Assessment

Reality vs Ideal

Entering into 21st century we need to change our approach to teaching mathematics. Most students are currently taught the way their teacher was taught, The instruction is content driven with an emphasis on abstract concepts and assessments are recalling information, rarely asking questions that require higher level thinking.

The 21st century learner needs to poses problem solving skills and yet 80-90% of children’s problem solving is limited to “word problems” which is a computational exercise coached in words. (O’Brien). The following is the definition of problem solving by the National Council of Mathematics Teaching (NCTM)

Problem Solving means engaging in a task for which the solution method is unknown in advance in order to find the solution, students must draw on their knowledge, and through this process they will often develop new mathematical understanding.

Since we know that students need to have more access to true problems but yet our method isn’t getting us there, we need to change.

Course Goals

This course is an online course that will target middle and high school math teachers so they will be able to incorporate problem-based or authentic learning in their classroom

Performance Objectives

  • Through readings and videos students will identify the differences between authentic tasks and traditional tasks by reflecting on their own practices.
  • Students will be able to state the key elements of Problem Based Learning in a mathematics classroom.
  • Using the Common Core Standards students will be able to generate a lesson plan they can use in their classroom.

Task Analysis

Learning Outcomes

The Learner will have the following learning outcomes by the end of the course:

  • Learners will be able to describe what problem based learning is
  • Learners will be able to Identify the differences between problem based learning and traditional learning
  • Learners will be able to identify specific features of authentic teaching in given lessons
  • Learners will be able to identify key features in planning an effective authentic classroom
  • Learners will be able to create a sample lesson using the common core standards

Prerequisite Skills

Essential Prerequisite Skills

Understand Education Jargon

Comprehend text while reading

Experience Teaching

Supporting Prerequisite Skills

Knowledge of the Common Core Standards for Mathematics

Experience teaching in a mathematics classroom

Proficient in using the internet and technology

Curriculum Map



O'Brien, T. C, Wallach, C., & Mash-Duncan, C. (2011) Problem Based Learning in Mathematics. Montana Mathematics Enthusiast, 8(1/2), 147-159

Erickson, D. K., (Sept 1999). A Problem Based Approach to Mathematics Instruction. Mathematics Teacher. 92 (6), 516-521

Muschla, E., (October 2012). Hands on with the Common Core Mathematics Standards. Association for Middle Education. (), pp.18-19

McCoy, L. P., (October 2007). Authentic Activities for Connecting Mathematics to the Real World. NCTM Regional Conference. (), pp.36