Making Connections in Practice: How Prospective Elementary Teachers Connect to Children's Mathematical Thinking and Community Funds of Knowledge in Mathematics Instruction

Julia M. Aguirre, Erin E Turner, Tonya Gau Bartell, Crystal Kalinec-Craig, Mary Q. Foote, Amy Roth McDuffie, Corey Drake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations


This study examines the ways prospective elementary teachers (PSTs) made connections to children's mathematical thinking and children's community funds of knowledge in mathematics lesson plans. We analyzed the work of 70 PSTs from across three university sites associated with an instructional module for elementary mathematics methods courses that asks PSTs to visit community settings and develop problem solving mathematics lessons that connect to mathematical practices in these settings (Community Mathematics Exploration Module). Using analytic induction, we identified three distinct levels of connections to children's mathematical thinking and their community funds of knowledge evidenced in PSTs' work (emergent, transitional, and meaningful). Findings describe how these connections reflected different points on a learning trajectory. This study has implications for understanding how PSTs begin to connect to children's mathematical funds of knowledge in their teaching, a practice shown to be effective for teaching diverse groups of children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)178-192
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Teacher Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013



  • children's mathematical thinking
  • culturally relevant mathematics
  • elementary mathematics education
  • equity
  • prospective mathematics teacher education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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