Additive and Multiplicative Situations: Units Coordination

Units CoordinationThe concept of fractions has been a difficult topic in education for years. Researchers at the AIMS Center for Math and Science Education turned to the research of Dr. Leslie Steffe at the University of Georgia to learn why. The difficulties with fractions lie in students being presented with numerical material prior to their construction of whole number. It became apparent through the work done by Les Steffe that the process of constructing whole number is far more sophisticated than adults may realize.

The goal of this team is to learn how children’s additive schemes lead to multiplicative schemes once a child is numerical and how those schemes relate and contribute to the development of children’s fractional knowledge. This work adds to our understanding of the continuum that Steffe has identified, but centers on a units coordination model.

Observing and recording students as they progress along a continuum from coordinating units additively to multiplicative coordinations and identifying specific indicators along the way will allow us to add to our video library of exemplars. These videos will be used to translate the research for classroom use. Teachers will not only hear and read about the research, but will actually see it played out. The information gained as a result of this project will be used to continue our pursuance of research that can address the difficulties in understanding the concept of fractions.

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Tiffany Friesen, Ph.D. – Senior Researcher
tfriesen@aimsedu.org — (559) 453-8121

Tiffany Friesen-YlarreguiTiffany Friesen is a Senior Researcher at the AIMS Center for Math and Science Education, leading teams involved in translating research on how children learn mathematics. She has worked in public education for the past 23 years – the first ten as a High School Mathematics teacher, followed by 13 years at the Community College. Her position at the college afforded her the opportunity to teach a full range of math courses, with a passion for developmental courses and math courses for pre-service elementary teachers. Dr. Friesen has also worked for the Fresno County Office of Education as a facilitator of professional development and as a tutor for their Math On Call homework hotline. She is a member of the San Joaquin Valley Math Project, was selected as her district’s Teacher of the Year in 1997, and has served as a Mentor and Supervisor for student teachers. Dr. Friesen is an alumnus of Fresno Pacific College and received her Ph.D. from Curtin University in Perth, Australia.

Everett Gaston – Research Associate
egastono@aimsedu.org — (559) 453-8133

Everett GastonEverett Gaston is a Research Associate at the AIMS Center. He was a high school math teacher for many years, 5 in the Virgin Islands, 7 in Pennsylvania and the last 27 at Bullard High School in Fresno Unified (California). He has also been an adjunct math professor in the Degree Completion Program at Fresno Pacific University for the past 8 years. As a former Math-On-Call homework hotline team member, Everett is very interested in improving student learning in math. He has a BS in mathematics from the University of Pittsburgh, did graduate work in math at Carnegie-Mellon University, at has an MA in Math-Education from Fresno Pacific University.

Brook Lewis – Research Associate
blewis@aimsedu.org — (559) 453-8116

Brook LewisBrook Lewis is a Research Associate at the AIMS Center for Math and Science Foundation, working with a team investigating research on how children come to know mathematics. Prior to her work with AIMS, she began as a High School mathematics teacher in the Central Valley, and has taught middle school math as well. Brook also gained experience in the public education system as a department leader, instructional coach, education consultant, and curriculum developer. She is determined to understand and translate current research in mathematics education in order to support students in learning, and teachers in the classroom. Although Brook has experience teaching most math courses in High School, her focus was with students that struggled with mathematics which has fueled her passion to work in the realm of research, in order to address the needs in math education. As a graduate from Fresno State University, Brook earned a BA in Mathematics and an MA in Education.