This website provides supplementary materials for a course in mathematics for elementary education majors with three defining features:
- Actual elementary school mathematics textbooks from Asia are used extensively as a source of problems, as guides to the curriculum to how to present mathematics in the classroom.
- The course focuses exclusively on K-8 mathematics at the level that it is taught.
- The course is taught by university mathematics faculty and graduate students.
The project has collected feedback from students on the effectiveness of this approach. Two surveys were administered:
Survey 1 was given to all students enrolled in Math 201 at Michigan State University in spring semester 2008. There were approximately 150 students in 5 sections. Two sections were taught by one MSU mathematics faculty member; the other sections were taught by 3 mathematics graduate students. All sections used the textbook Elementary Mathematics for Teachers by Parker and Baldridge together with five Primary Mathematics textbooks from Singapore. The following chapters were covered:
- Chapter 1: Place Value and Models for Arithmetic
- Chapter 2: Mental Math and Word Problem
- Chapter 3: Algorithms
- Chapter 4: Prealgebra
- Chapter 5: Factors, Primes and Proofs
- Chapter 6: Fractions
- Chapter 7: Ratios, Percentages and Rates
- Chapter 9: Decimals, Rational and Real Numbers
All sections covered the same material at the same pace. After each chapter, students filled out a survey rating the following on a scale from 0 to 4:
- General reaction to the text.
- Reaction to the instructor's lessons.
- Difficulty of the mathematical content.
- Usefulness of the material for future use in teaching.
Survey 2 was given to all students enrolled in one section of Math 1201 at Louisiana State University in fall 2008. The content and materials for the course were identical to those described above. The course was taught by a graduate student with no prior experience teaching such a course. The instructor followed the lesson plans and created exams with the exam generator (both available on this web site).