Examining preservice teachers' opinions about using A Different Pond to teach math




Wheeler, Ann
Gutierrez, Beatriz

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Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators in Texas


Engaging activities that include high level problem-solving should be an integral part of math lessons (NCTM, 2000). To pique students’ interests in mathematical tasks, teachers may also introduce the idea of popular children’s books. Using children’s literature to enhance a math lesson is not a novel concept (Lamberg & Andrews, 2011; Wilburne & Napoli, 2007; Young & Marroquin, 2006), but connections that instructors might want to make can be presented in new and innovative ways that not only address math but people from potentially unfamiliar cultures.

Preservice teachers in the two classes under study had already been introduced to the idea of using children’s literature to teach middle school geometry topics through the use of lighthearted, whimsical tales like Sir Circumference and the Dragon of Pi (Neuschwander, 1999). For this research, we were interested in examining preservice teacher’s opinions about a middle school math lesson based on a non-math themed children’s book that involved a much different kind of story. We chose the Vietnamese-based tale entitled A Different Pond (Phi, 2017). A Different Pond, a 2018 Caldecott Honor book, is a children’s book about a Vietnamese father and son going fishing in the early hours of the day to help provide enough fish to feed their family of seven. During the trip, they encounter other fisherman from different cultural backgrounds that add to the depth of the story. The father and son take their catch of crappie home to be eaten for dinner that night. Using this story as the basis for a math lesson, our specific research question was the following: What are preservice elementary (PreK-6) and middle school (Grades 6-8) teachers’ opinions about using A Different Pond (Phi, 2017) to teach middle school math?


Article originally published in Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education in Texas, 9(2), 3–4. English. Published Online 2019. https://amte-tx.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/JMTET-June-2019.pdf
Permission to deposit this file was given through direct contact with the publisher. For more information please see the faculty member's entry in Project INDEX -- EDH 7/7/23


Middle school geometry topics, Children’s literature, Math educators


This is a published version of a paper that is available at: https://amte-tx.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/JMTET-June-2019.pdf. Recommended citation: Wheeler, A., & Gutierrez, B. (2019). Examining preservice teachers' opinions about using A Different Pond to teach math. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education in Texas, 9(2), 3–4. This item has been deposited in accordance with publisher copyright and licensing terms and with the author’s permission.