Dr. Rachel M. Bachman
Tracy Hall Science Center (TY)
Teaching Philosophy & Focus
I believe that everyone can learn mathematics. For this to happen, students need to make sense of the material for themselves through carefully selected and scaffolded tasks. This means I do not lecture very much, but instead ask my students to participate in tasks where they have to make sense of problems, persevere in solving them, construct viable arguments, critique the reasoning of others, contextualize mathematical symbols, model real world scenarios, use mathematical tools, attend to precision, and notice patterns in structures and reasoning. To develop experience using these practices, I make sure students have time to contemplate nontrivial problems and time to hear how their classmates think about such problems. I also seek out learning sequences that begin with real human activity, progress to verbal and pictorial descriptions of that activity, and then arrive at mathematical representations of the activity. In my preservice teacher courses, I value finding ways for students to practice being teachers and facilitate classrooms where students are making sense of mathematical concepts.
MTHE 4110 - Algebra from a Teaching Perspective
Research Areas of Interest
My research focuses on how students learn mathematics to build understanding of how to design effective teaching materials and sequences. One of my favorite areas of investigation is in designing materials that use the concrete-representational-abstract learning sequence. Currently my research projects are:
Draw Yourself Doing Math: I have developed a drawing prompt that asks students to “Draw Yourself Doing Math.” The prompt was developed to understand how students across many grade levels view mathematics. Currently I am working with Cora Neal (mathematics) to develop and validate a rubric to score student responses to this prompt.
Math Dance: For the past four years, I have been working with Erik Stern (performing arts) and Julian Chan (mathematics) to research the use of physical motion (dance) activities to teach mathematics concepts. I am currently writing up results from a research study investigating the effectiveness of a university course using these principles. I am also developing teaching materials and providing training for teachers to use physical motion activities.
Historical investigation of the CRA sequence: In this historical investigation, I am researching the representations used to communicate mathematical ideas and the role mathematical representations have played in the learning of mathematics throughout history.
I am currently working on the following projects around campus and in the local school districts.
The 8x8 Project: I lead The 8x8 Project, which is a professional development opportunity for around 50 Davis School District math teachers through a partnership with Weber State University. The project aims to improve each teacher's ability to implement the eight teaching principles outlined by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) in Principles to Action with the goal of increasing student use of the Eight Standards of Mathematical Practice called for by the Utah State Core Curriculum.
Reach for the Top: Four times this year I will meet with 7th and 8th grade teachers in Davis School District to work on the topics of standards-based planning, tasks, assessment, and grading.
Concurrent Enrollment Math 1030 Prep: I have developed teaching materials for two teachers in the Ogden School District to use with mathematically underprepared seniors wanting to take Concurrent Enrollment Math 1030 in the spring. The course develops fluency with whole numbers, fractions, decimals, percentages, variables, and functions. It also teaches students to access their current understanding and insights to solve problems.
Teacher Leader Quality Partnership: I remain a mathematics consultant with the Teacher Leader Quality Partnership (TLQP) at Binghamton University. This project provides professional development workshops for elementary, middle, and high school master teachers to help them lead effective mathematics instruction in their schools and districts.
WSU Prep: I coordinate a series of week-long refresher courses for students with expired math prerequisites so that they can continue progressing in their mathematics sequences and gain a quick review of key prerequisites needed for subsequent mathematics classes.
Do the Math: Along with Erik Stern (performing arts) and Kathryn Van Wagoner (developmental mathematics), I host an outreach event once a year to students putting off taking mathematics at Weber State. The event features ideas about growth mindset, information about courses, and an overview of resources at the university. The goal is to help students get their mathematics coursework started on a positive note.
Math Department Administrative Office Hours
Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Weber State University
Department of Mathematics
1415 Edvalson St., Dept. 2517
Ogden, UT 84408-2517
Tracy Hall Science Center (TY)
Room 381, Mail Code 2517
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