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Multiplicative Reasoning: Math Lab School

Appropriate for Gr 3-8 educators

The Mathematics Lab School is a research-based professional development opportunity for teachers, which includes tutorial services for at risk students. The teachers work together to provide intensive mathematics instruction for students in a host school. The Mathematics Lab School is an intensive week of student instruction during the morning session and a graduate level seminar in the afternoon. Additional follow-up sessions will be held during the fall semester; the dates will be determined by the group during the summer. In order to prepare for the lab school, there will be an introductory session in the spring.

The content focus of this year’s math lab is multiplicative reasoning. There is clear evidence that children have much greater difficulty with multiplicative than additive reasoning based on research done by Kouba (1989) and Steffe (1998). In order to act on a multiplicative situation effectively, a child must be able to recognize the situation as multiplicative and then use a multiplicative strategy to solve the problem. The transition from additive to multiplicative thinking happens between second and fifth grade and it is essential for students to make the transition in order to access most mathematics they will be learning from mid fi fth grade on.

Teachers will have the opportunity to work with teacher partners to assess and develop instructional programs based on the needs of specific students. In this course, there is a direct link between the research findings and instructional methods. Teachers learn and practice using strategies and methods that reflect current research in mathematics instruction. During the graduate seminars, teachers consider how methods and strategies can become a part of their mathematics instruction in the classroom. An important feature of the Mathematics Lab School is the opportunity for teachers to work together to reflect on teaching methodologies and student progress. Teachers observe one another daily and use these observations to continually refine instruction to meet each student’s needs. During the graduate seminars, teachers review and adapt curriculum for a variety of learners.

About the Instructor

Beth Hulbert is the K-8 Mathematics Coordinator for Barre Supervisory Union. She is on the OGAP design team, and has developed and is currently implementing a Grades 1 – 5 Math Intervention model in Barre City. Beth also teaches courses in math content, pedagogy, and assessment for a number of institutions. Beth received the 1992 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and was awarded a Fulbright Award in 1999. She received her M.Ed. in Mathematics Education from the University of Vermont.


In the past, this course received an average course rating of 4.38 and an average instructor rating of 4.68

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