You are here


Now Available!

MAA Notes 98: An Aspirational Approach to the Mathematical Preparation of TeachersAn Aspirational Approach to the Mathematical Preparation of Teachers is the result of a collaborative effort between mathematics teacher educators and mathematicians to address secondary mathematics teaching in courses for undergraduate mathematics majors. This volume provides nine lessons, aligning with courses in single variable calculus, introduction to statistics, discrete mathematics or introduction to proof, and abstract algebra, that include applications to teaching to enhance prospective secondary teachers’ understanding of connections between undergraduate mathematics and school mathematics. Our lessons aim for a robust blend of undergraduate mathematics, school mathematics, and teaching that does not privilege mathematics content over content for teaching or vice versa. The lessons attend to mathematics content suitable for inclusion in courses for mathematics majors, to mathematics content that is foundational to teaching secondary mathematics, and to learning experiences that are fostered by the teaching materials.

Edited by James A. M. Álvarez, Elizabeth G. Arnold, and Elizabeth A. Burroughs

Download for Free

This link will download a zip file containing the PDF file for this MAA Notes volume as well as all of the handouts (in pdf and tex formats) referenced in the chapters.

About the Project

How can standard mathematics major courses connect back to high school topics in a way that enriches deeper understanding of both? And how might doing this produce more motivated new teachers as well as more engaged mathematics students? The MAA META Math project addresses these connections by creating curriculum material for math major courses that treat applications to “high school content” as just as valuable as applications to business or STEM disciplines. The use of these materials will, in turn, lift the Mathematical Knowledge of Teachers to the same level of importance of other application areas (such as business or STEM fields) for mathematics within and throughout the standard mathematics curriculum. The initial subject areas for the META Math lessons are:

  • Abstract Algebra
  • Single Variable Calculus
  • Discrete Mathematics
  • Statistics 

META Math will add to the research knowledge base by assessing college students’ understanding of school mathematics from an advanced perspective. The project enhances student understanding of the vertical connections from school mathematics through advanced undergraduate mathematics among all mathematics undergraduates. All undergraduates, not just future teachers, will benefit from the deep mathematical understanding fostered by instructors using META Math modules.

Project Goal

The goal of the META Math project is to increase faculty capacity to guide undergraduate pre-service teachers in:

  • Making explicit connections between undergraduate mathematics and secondary school mathematics, and

  • Developing deep, sophisticated understanding of mathematics taught in grades 7-12.

Project Objectives

  1. Develop quality instructional lessons that make explicit connections between college mathematics and school mathematics;

  2. Pilot test these materials and pilot a year-long faculty development program to train faculty on the use of these lessons;

  3. Research student learning that results from the use of these lessons, and evaluate the effectiveness of the faculty development program that prepares faculty to use these modules.

Webinar - May 2020 

Let Us Treat Teaching As a Legitimate Application of College Mathematics

Explicitly addressing applications to teaching in advanced mathematics courses requires a culture shift. Our textbooks often point out applications to other disciplines — physics, economics, sociology, biology, forensics, and the like. They do this through side discussions and special exercises. Could there not be examples of applications of this mathematics to school teaching as well? Shouldn’t there be? This webinar featured five presenters representing two different NSF-funded projects, MAA META Math and MODULE(S^2).

View Presentation Abstracts


Leadership Team

  • Doug Ensley, Shippensburg University

  • Beth Burroughs, Montana State University

  • James Alvarez, University of Texas - Arlington

  • Nancy Neudauer, Pacific University

  • James Tanton, MAA Mathematician-at-Large

Support for this MAA program is provided by the National Science Foundation (DUE-1726624).