TUSKA, Agnes (California State University, Fresno), Forum of International Projects and Collaborations




Forum of International Projects and Collaborations
TUSKA, Agnes (California State University, Fresno)


The goal of this forum is to highlight three highly successful projects through their connection with, and influence on, the work of the Department of Mathematics at California State University, Fresno (CSU Fresno).

The three projects - Development and Research in Early Math Education (DREME), Experience Workshop, and Inquiry Based Learning (IBL) rely on common principles of (1) deep engagement in rich mathematical activities and (2) opportunities to collaborate with peers in an equitable problem-solving environment. The focus of the research related to the projects is inquiry into student thinking.  

George Polya (1887-1985) and Zoltán Paul Dienes (1916-2014) were masters of mathematical heuristics and didactics based on the above principles. The workshops and summer institutes Polya conducted for teachers (particularly in California and in Switzerland) throughout the years have influenced the teaching and learning of mathematics for generations. Dienes played a key role in the development of experimental research-based mathematics education. He had a unique position in the research community as a well-trained mathematician and psychologist who also had extended experience in working with children and with school teachers worldwide.

Based on our long-term collaboration with, and observation of classroom practices of teachers in various Lesson Study grants, and by working together with teacher leaders in the San Joaquin Valley Mathematics Project (one of the state-funded California Mathematics Projects, http://www.fresnostate.edu/kremen/sjvmp/index.html), we realized that teachers need on-going, locally accessible support, that allow them to collaborate with experts as well as with peers, in implementing engaging and effective mathematics instruction. We plan to establish a “Polya Institute” with advisory board members from each of the three projects to promote mathematics educational research and practice at all levels in the Fresno region in the spirit of Polya and Dienes.

The major connection between DREME and CSU Fresno is the way we conduct our Math Circles for grade 3-4 students. Participants are expected to collaborate, explain their thinking, find alternative solutions, and critique the reasoning of their peers.  University students co-instruct sessions with university professors, gaining valuable insights to Cognitively Guided Instruction. The materials utilized by the Experience Workshop and the CSU Fresno’s STEM Summer Academies significantly overlap. Finally, the implementation of a problem-solving approach and active learning techniques of IBL became significant parts of a large variety of college-level mathematics instruction in Fresno.



Kisfaludy Galéria



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