Developing & Assessing Mathematics Understandings

In Patterns I: Foundations for Algebraic Reasoning, the first in MEC’s series of mathematics content courses, K-20 teachers of mathematics have an opportunity to live and learn mathematics within a supportive learning environment that models optimal classroom practice. During this 9-day course, participants solve challenging and engaging problems both collaboratively and as independent problem solvers. They also engage with colleagues in professional discussions of mathematics, instructional practice and other relevant issues. Participants develop and/or deepen their own mathematical understandings of a range of mathematical ideas, including:

  • generalizations with patterns that have proven their mathematical power and significance
  • the relationships among the various representations  of a function–  graphical, numerical / tabular, geometric, algebraic and verbal / situational
  • linear, quadratic and exponential functions
  • multiple ways to solve a mathematical problem
  • what it means to have a productive mathematical disposition
  • what it means to be a powerful user of mathematics

Practices modeled in this nine-day course prepare educators to help students become successful problem solvers who are able to use mathematics as a powerful tool for making sense of situations and information in the world. Educators learn how to fundamentally restructure classrooms to align with how people learn mathematics. Participants consider how to effectively implement strategies modeled in the course, including:

  • mathematics inquiry
  • differentiation and interventions
  • probing student thinking with productive questioning
  • building on student thinking and interactions with peers and teacher
  • creating an optimal learning environment
  • simplifying equations and expressions
  • formative and summative assessment
  • the role and importance of clear communication using proper mathematical language and notation
  • the tenets of constructivism as applied to mathematical learning
Patterns: Foundations for Algebraic Reasoning course is the prerequisite for all other MEC Mathematics Content Courses.
Teachers, mathematics leaders, math coaches/mentors and university and college faculty

“My involvement with MEC has given me the opportunity to spend time investigating and constructing deeper understanding of Big Ideas in mathematics.”

Elementary Teacher, Patterns I Course

“I found wonderful methods to differentiate my classroom for both struggling students and also highly capable students.”

Middle School Teacher, Patterns I Course

“This MEC course forced me to discover the “why” behind the “how” which was very powerful – and gave me a better understanding of why students must value struggle as part of learning math and have more ownership of their learning.”

High School Teacher, Patterns I Course