1. Mathematical Thinking workshops

    Research shows that children formulate extraordinarily interesting and complex mathematical ideas, even at a very young age. The Private Universe Project in Mathematics demonstrates and honors the power and sophistication of these ideas, and explores how mathematics teaching can be structured to resonate with children's sophisticated thinking.

    The workshops are the outcome of a unique, longitudinal (over twenty continuous years) research program by educators from leading universities including Rutgers, Harvard, MIT, The Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics & Annenberg Media - See Combinatorics and Reasoning - Maher, Carolyn A., Powell, Arthur B., Uptegrove, Elizabeth B. (Eds.)

    This is the longest study of its type ever undertaken.

    The introductory video (below) follows the mathematical development of one group of students from grades 1-12 and beyond: to hear what they and their teachers think about the mathematics education that they receivedi during that time.

    Mathematical Thinking - An Introduction (7min)

    For the Mathematical Thinking Project, the answers are of minor importance ...

    As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality. Albert Einstein

    Teachers do not need to modify their 'normal' mathematical teaching program. Both teachers and learners are encouraged to develop new metaphors for their roles in the classroom. Students are urged to see themselves as something other than 'sponges.

    The theme of these Workshops is 'how to develop authentic mathematical thinking, especially for those who may have little mathematical training and/or confidence and is NOT intended to merge into, or to replace the schools pre-existing, day-to-day teaching of mathematics.

    A modern teaching philosopy

    The workshops and lessons are purposely designed to be delivered in their original, unmodified form, with the assistance of a classroom facillitator.

    For those seeking a more modern explanation of the underlying philosophy, please view this 15min video which provides a great introduction for maths teachers & parents by Dan Finkel.

    Five principles of maths teaching - Click to View


    The original Harvard/Smithsonian workshop resources are available on-line.

    A general overview of STEM Modeling Instructioni is available here.


    For further information, please contact SAAS
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  1. SAAS - Mathematical Thinking resources on

    The Studio of Applied Arts & Sciences (SAAS) can supply a huge range of mathematical teaching resources linked to the Australian K-12 curriculum. Contact us for more detail.

Last Updated 18th October 2023
By WebMaster