Making math fun

A tool for building connections between complex ideas in fun, engaging ways

Chandra Orrill, Director, Kaput Center for Research & Innovation in STEM Education
Professor Chandra Orrill's three-year project aims to help teachers better understand how their students learn math.

Professor Chandra Orrill received $738,337 from the National Science Foundation for her project, “Proportions Playground: A Dynamic World to Support Teachers’ Proportional Reasoning.”

The three-year project seeks to build tools that allow teachers to play with the mathematics they teach in ways that build connections between key ideas. The aim is to develop teachers’ knowledge and help them think about how their students learn mathematics, as well as provide fun and engaging ways of working on complex math ideas.

“In order to build more effective professional development, we need to better understand what teachers do know and how we might best support them,” Orrill said.

“I work from a perspective that assumes teachers have considerable knowledge, but that they may need opportunities to build connections between and among those ideas to make them more usable in the classroom.”

Orrill has been at UMass Dartmouth for eight years and currently serves as the director of the Kaput Center for Research & Innovation in STEM Education, which is a research center dedicated to making STEM learning accessible for all students. Orrill also has extensive experience doing professional development and curriculum development for teachers.

College of Arts and Sciences, Departments Mathematics Dept, Features - Magazine