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Beyond Slices of Pizza: Teaching Fractions Effectively

This webcast, Beyond Slices of Pizza: Teaching Fractions Effectively, was coordinated by The Center on September 23, 2008.

Video from the webcast (WindowsMedia system requirements).
  • Complete video from the webcast.
  • Additional video interview with Denise Mewborn: Fractions are everywhere in the real world

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About the Webcast

The National Mathematics Advisory Panel, convened in 2006 by President George W. Bush, agreed "broadly that the delivery system in mathematics broken and must be fixed. This is not a conclusion about any single element of the system. It is about how the many parts do not now work together to achieve a result worthy of this country's values and ambitions."

Its final report, released this spring, paid close attention to several areas of mathematics, particularly "proficiency with fractions...for such proficiency is foundational for algebra and, at the present time, seems to be severely underdeveloped."

Building on the February 2008 webcast, Making Algebra Work: Instructional Strategies that Deepen Student Understanding, this webcast showcases best practices when it comes to the teaching of fractions. How do teachers and school district personnel ensure deep "conceptual and procedural knowledge of fractions," as stated by the national math panel report?

Number Line showing fractions of the whole The webcast features videotaped segments from Dr. Hung-Hsi Wu's Mathematics Professional Development Institute - the famous "Wu Institute" - an intensive three-week summer course that directly addresses the mathematics needed for teaching number sense in K-7 classrooms. Also featured are Dr. Denise Mewborn's work at the University of Georgia and Patti Huberty's teaching at Colbert Elementary School in Colbert, Georgia.

The webcast's panel -- which provided perspectives from the classroom, school district, and the national math panel -- answered questions from the viewing audience.

Featured Speakers

Dr. Hung-Hsi Wu

Hung-Hsi Wu, Ph.D., is a differential geometer by profession and a professor of mathematics at the University of California at Berkeley. He has authored research papers and research monographs as well as three graduate-level textbooks in mathematics in Chinese. In 1992, Dr. Wu was moved by what he witnessed concerning mathematics education reform and was determined to initiate change in mathematics education. After 1996, he started to participate in this area full-time, first as a critic and then as a member of various state and national committees. His latest project is the improvement of the professional development of teachers, both preservice and inservice. Dr. Wu has been engaged in inservice work since 2000 and, starting in 2006, has begun working on the preservice professional development of high school teachers. Dr. Wu earned a doctorate in mathematics from MIT in 1963.

Denise Mewborn, Ph.D., a former elementary school teacher, currently is a professor of mathematics education and head of the Department of Mathematics and Science Education at the University of Georgia. Dr. Mewborn teaches mathematics methods classes for preservice and inservice elementary school teachers and graduate courses on teaching, learning, and teacher education. She has been actively involved in several projects to improve elementary teacher education at the University of Georgia by creating partnerships between public schools and the university. She also has directed professional development projects in several local elementary schools. Her most recent research project involved a four-year study of cohorts of elementary teachers that spanned their junior and senior years in college and their first two years of teaching. Dr. Mewborn received a bachelor of science degree in elementary education and a master of science degree in mathematics from Illinois State University. She earned a doctorate in mathematics education from the University of Georgia.

Francis (Skip) Fennell, Ph.D., is currently a professor of education at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland, and was past president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). He was on the writing team of both the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (NCTM, 2000) and the Curriculum Focal Points (NCTM, 2006). He played key leadership roles with the Research Council on Mathematics Learning, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. National Commission on Mathematics Instruction, and the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators. Dr. Fennell served as a member of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel from May 2006 to April 2008. He has received numerous honors and awards, including Maryland's Outstanding Mathematics Educator (1990), McDaniel College's Professor of the Year (1997), and the U.S. Professor of the Year Award-Maryland (1997) from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Dr. Fennell has been the principal investigator on grants from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, the Maryland Higher Education Commission, and the ExxonMobil Foundation. Dr. Fennell earned a master's degree from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction in mathematics education from The Pennsylvania State University.

Patti Huberty Patti Huberty is currently an adjunct instructor, Department of Mathematics and Science Education, at the University of Georgia. She also serves as an education program specialist at the university. Since 2007, she has served as elementary mathematics consultant to the Georgia Department of Education standards review committee. In 2008, she was an editor for Georgia Department of Education mathematics frameworks lessons for Kindergarten through Grade 2. Huberty has more than eight years of classroom teaching experience at the elementary level and has conducted districtwide mathematics inservices. She has been a conference speaker for the Georgia Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the American Educational Research Association, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Southern Regional Conference, and the Educational Satellite Outreach Program Teleconference. She has conducted workshops for the Boston Public Schools on implementing the NCTM standards. For four years, she served on Clarke County School District's Mathematics Committee and worked on reforming goals and objectives to meet NCTM standards. Huberty earned a master's degree and an educational specialist degree in early childhood education at the University of Georgia.

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