The Elementary Mathematics Laboratory 2015 Collection documents a summer mathematics class taught by Deborah Loewenberg Ball, an experienced elementary school teacher and faculty member at the University of Michigan School of Education. EML2015 was a two-week summer mathematics laboratory designed to develop strong and positive academic identities in students, setting them on a path to success in school. The program was also designed to contribute to the professional growth of teachers who observed the lab class sessions. Mathematics topics included fractions, the number line, equivalence, and place value, along with important mathematical practices, such as explaining, representing, proving, and defining.
The EML2015 summer program enrolled 30 students entering fifth grade in the fall, with ethnically, racially, economically, and linguistically diverse backgrounds. The summer mathematics class aimed to support students’ mathematical thinking and reasoning in order to set students on a path to success in school mathematics. The mathematics laboratory offered an intensive intervention for students from a local school district in Michigan. Students participating in the laboratory received approximately 20 hours of mathematics instruction—equivalent to a typical month of school—and were assigned up to an hour of homework each night to reinforce and extend the topics covered in the lessons.
Laboratory classes are structured to make it possible for educators, policymakers, and education advocates to deeply engage in the close study of teaching practice, through examining a “live” instance of public teaching with others. The laboratory setting also allows for experimentation – to develop and test different instructional techniques and curricular approaches derived from earlier research as well as to inform ongoing research. These classes are not intended as examples of “how to teach,” but rather provide a context for studying teaching and learning. The University of Michigan School of Education has been hosting elementary mathematics laboratories each summer since 2003. More information about this program can be found on the Mathematics Laboratory page on the TeachingWorks website.
The video and lesson artifacts from the program are intended to serve as a valuable resource for attendees of the EML 2015 working in a variety of settings to extend their learning and reflect on student growth. The following resources are currently available or will be available shortly after the conclusion of the EML.