The Building Blocks of Math

Presenters: Doug Clements and Julie Sarama
What are the building blocks of mathematics? In this session, the presenters briefly summarize recent research and development work, including the National Research Council’s report on early childhood mathematics, President Bush’s National Math Advisory Panel, and the Common Core. One effective instructional approach featured in these reports is basing instruction on learning trajectories. This approach is illustrated in this session through a set of NSF- and U.S. DOE-funded projects that have developed and scaled up effective early math instruction.

Doug Clements, Kennedy Endowed Chair, Professor, and Executive Director, Marsico Institute, University of Denver
Doug Clements conducts research and development activities in early childhood mathematics education. At the national level, his contributions have led to the development of new mathematics curricula, teaching approaches, teacher training initiatives, and models of “scaling up” interventions, and have had a tremendous impact on educational planning and policy, particularly in the area of mathematical literacy and access. Clements has served on the President's National Mathematics Advisory Panel and the Common Core State Standards committee of the National Governor’s Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, where he wrote national academic standards and the learning trajectories that underlie them. He was a member of the National Research Council’s Committee on Early Mathematics and co-author of their report. Clements has also served on the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics National Curriculum and Principles and Standards committees. Clements has earned grants from the NSF, the National Institutes of Health, and the Institute of Education Sciences of the U.S. Department of Education. Clements received his PhD in Elementary Education from the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York.

Julie Sarama, Kennedy Endowed Chair in Innovative Learning Technologies and Professor, University of Denver
Julie Sarama conducts research on young children's development of mathematical concepts and competencies, implementation and scale-up of educational reform, professional development models and their influence on student learning, and implementation and effects of software environments (including those she has created) in mathematics classrooms. These studies have been published in more than 50 refereed articles, four books, 30 chapters, and 60 additional publications. Sarama is also co-directing three large-scale studies funded by the U.S. Department of Education. She has been principal or co-principal investigator on seven projects funded by the NSF. She has taught secondary mathematics and computer science, gifted math at the middle school level, preschool and kindergarten mathematics enrichment classes, and mathematics methods and content courses for elementary to secondary teachers. In addition, she is presently the director of the Gifted Mathematics Program (GMP) at the University at Buffalo, SUNY. She has designed and programmed more than 50 published computer programs, including Turtle Math™, which was awarded Technology & Learning Software of the Year Award in 1995. Sarama received her PhD in Mathematics Education from the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York.