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E=MC˛: Enrichment in Mathematics, Computing and Creativity

This summer GMU faculty, Dr. Jennifer Suh from the College of Education and Human Development and Dr. Padmanabhan Seshaiyer from the College of Science partnered with a local elementary school to provide a summer math enrichment lab school called E=MC2, Enrichment in Mathematics Computing and Creativity. The unique aspect of this labschool was that it was more than a place for kids to learn mathematics, technology and problem solving. It was a lab school for teachers as well.

Through this University & School Partnership and the support from the Virginia Department of Education Mathematics Science Partnership (MSP) grant, the team of mathematics educators was able to host a free math enrichment lab school for elementary aged students identified as Young Scholars from Annandale Terrace Elementary and Westlawn Elementary. In addition, the lab school provided an opportunity for pre-service teachers taking a math methods course to work with “real kids” on number sense and rational numbers concepts through problem based learning activities. This created an innovative model where practicing teachers, who have been trained as clinical faculty, became mentors to the pre-service teachers in teaching mathematics to a diverse population of students. The mentor teachers, Kerri Fulginiti, Maggie Allen, Angela Frattura, Briana Lappan, and Kelli Giglio, worked collaboratively with the preservice teachers on a professional development model called Lesson Study, where teachers of all levels collaboratively planned, taught, observed and debriefed after each lesson that was taught at this math professional development lab school.

There is a lot of controversy on "how to best prepare our teachers for diverse classrooms". The Blue Ribbon Panel on Clinical Preparation and Partnerships for Improved Student Learning (NCATE 2010) recommends “a partnership of preparation program” that includes a university faculty and school-based faculty where “course work is woven around and into clinical experiences”. Dr. Suh and Dr. Seshaiyer believe this model of professional development allows GMU to be at the cutting edge where we immerse our preservice teachers in practice with mentor teachers who demonstrate best practices in enriching mathematics education to diverse learners.

E=MC2, Enrichment in Mathematics Computing and Creativity ran from July 25- Aug 5th and ended with a culminating MATH CARNIVAL and KIDZ BIZ expo where the primary students invited their family and friends and taught them mathematics games that involved probability and number sense.  The upper grade students ran a Kidz Biz and learned about financial literacy, such as starting a business with a loan,making a profit and building mathematical power.

Building Money Sense- Finding all the combinations to make change


Pre-service teacher teaching a parent a number sense card game

Pre-service teachers collaborating on a Lesson Study with a Clinical Faculty