Immersion in Mathematical Inquiry (Math Camp)

Researchers: Barbara Graves, Christine Suurtamm

Summer 2003 – present

Research Assistant: Nicola Benton

Funding assistance: Carleton Ottawa Mathematics Association

Research suggests that facilitating effective mathematics inquiry poses substantial challenges for beginning teachers at both the elementary and secondary levels. For elementary teachers, the research suggests that a lack of understanding of mathematics may inhibit effectively implementing inquiry-oriented mathematics programs (Ball, 1990; Ball & Bass, 2002). For secondary teachers, while some of the same concerns exist about the procedural nature of their mathematics knowledge, the real challenge is to help them shift their teaching practices from traditional delivery models to more inquiry-oriented approaches (Stigler & Hiebert, 1999).

This longitudinal study probes such challenges as it investigates the experiences of 150 beginning elementary teachers who participate in a one-week inquiry-based mathematics environment (a.k.a. math camp) that is facilitated by 12 newly graduated secondary mathematics teachers. Through questionnaires and focus groups we examine the experiences of both groups during the math camp and through their first two years of teaching in regular school classrooms.

Selected publications

The following publications are selected examples of work coming out of this research.

Graves, B., Suurtamm, C., & Benton, N. (2005). Learning and teaching mathematics in communities of inquiry: Is it enough to transform practice? International Commission on Mathematical Instruction – Study 15. May 2005. Brazil.

Graves, B., & Suurtamm, C. (2005). Misunderstanding in mathematical inquiry: A systems perspective. Complexity Science and Society Conference. September 2005. Liverpool, England.