Experiential Math Project

There are a lot of buzz words in education right now – “cooperative learning,” “engagement,” “rigor,” “data-driven” – to name a few. The teachers in MMSA’s Experiential Math Project are working to ensure that their students aren’t just experiencing a litany of buzz-words in their learning, but instead are engaging in authentic, student-driven experiences that empower them to create a better society.

experiential math

Math specialists at MMSA have been working with teachers through collaboration and coaching to make pedagogical shifts away from traditional math teaching and toward inquiry- and project-based learning. One major shift is the use of projects and questions to drive the learning, not just as an assessment of learning at the end of a unit. Another shift is in teachers learning along with students instead of as the traditional role of teacher as mathematical authority in the room. In experiential learning, students are asking questions and finding solutions to open problems that often take days or weeks, for instance:

How can you mathematically model the spread of a forest fire? Can we provide insight to coastal communities about future sea level rise? What is the relationship between the speed of a car and its gasoline mileage? Should an airline overbook? and if so, by how much?

Teachers in the project took part in a second annual summer institute on July 16 and 17. There, they spent time planning curriculum and discussing strategies for implementation.

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