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Davis and Elkins College education majors explore new ways to teach math

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Davis & Elkins College education majors are exploring new ways to teach math to children and recently invited area kindergartners to their class to demonstrate how they learn.

Pre-service students used the play and guide discovery approach to help teach math concepts in their EDUC 316 Teaching Mathematics to Children (K-6) class led by Steve Creasey, chairman of the D&E Department of Education. The theory behind the approach is that when young children are exposed to and interact with materials, they begin to acquire knowledge about the underlying concepts of math.

D&E students were divided into three groups and were paired with area kindergartners Andrew Tesar, Jayla Messick and Andrew Harris. Each group focused on geometry and spatial sense (working with Play-Doh and shapes); patterns, functions and algebra (separating and organizing small toy animals); and data analysis and probability (working with money).   

"When pre-service teachers observe young children, they become aware of how they think (problem solve) and talk (communicate) about what they are discovering," Creasey says. "This approach to teaching math demonstrates that as future teachers they should plan environments that build on children's curiosity and enthusiasm in order to encourage children to discover math concepts in the process of play."

Students seeking certification in Elementary Education grades K-6 undertake a major in education, which leads to the awarding of a Bachelor of Arts degree. A student seeking certification in a content specialization (5-9, and/or 9-adult) must declare a major outside of Education with a declared minor in Education.