Center for Mathematics and Science Education Research

The Center for Mathematics and Science Education Research (CMSER) coordinates research, teacher education, curriculum development and implementation, and dissemination efforts in mathematics and science education, and fosters rich partnerships with educational institutions and organizations throughout the Milwaukee metropolitan area.

Past Projects

Milwaukee Mathematics Partnership (PDF)

Balanced Literacy in Elementary Science Classrooms (PDF)

Distributed Leadership for Mathematics Project (PDF)

Mathematics Fellowships for Middle Grade Teachers (PDF)

Mathematics Master of Science Program (PDF)

Content-Focused Coaching and Leadership in Mathematics (PDF)

Mathematics and Science Beginning Teacher Project (PDF)

Integrated HS Math Curriculum, Courses 1-3 (PDF)

Mathematics Mentoring and Leadership Project (PDF)

Journal Science Teacher Education (PDF)

Milwaukee Urban System Initiative (MUSI) (PDF)

Nature of Elementary Science Teaching (NEST) (PDF)

Educational Needs Assessment Study for DNR Department of Forestry (PDF)

Collaborative Enhancement of Teacher Preparation Courses in Elementary School Mathematics (PDF)

Equity 2000 Saturday Academies (PDF)

Leadership for Investigations and Connected Mathematics in MPS (PDF)

Rethinking Reliability for Innovative Assessments in Mathematics and Science (PDF)

American Geological Institute EarthComm Field Test Workshop (PDF)

Field Geology Urban K-3 Teachers (PDF)

Infusing Data Analysis and Statistics Into Algebra with Technology (PDF)

Leadership for Implementing the Investigations Curriculum (PDF)

Lenses on Learning (PDF)

Mathematics and Science Teachers Business and Industry Awareness Program (PDF)

Milwaukee Telecommunications Project (PDF)

Science Learning and Leadership in the Middle Grades (PDF)

Teacher Leaders for Investigations and Connected Mathematics (PDF)

CMSER Affiliated Video Publications

The CMSER has published numerous videotapes designed to enhance teachers' understanding of different strategies for understanding Mathematics.

These videos are available to purchase through the CMSER. Please send check for the cost of video, plus $5.00 for shipping and handling, with your order. Make the check payable to the Center for Mathematics and Science Education Research. Businesses and institutions with purchase orders may choose to be billed. Allow three to four weeks for delivery.

Send Orders To:
Center for Mathematics and Science Education Research
Enderis Hall, Room 265
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
PO Box 413
Milwaukee, WI 53201-0413

For more information, call 414-229-6646 or email

Kids Handle the Numbers: Computational Fluency for Addition and Subtraction
Produced in 2001; 18 minutes; $10.00

Kids Handle the Numbers is a video about computational fluency, which means that through problem solving kids learn understanding of numbers. Computational fluency is achieved when students can flexibly use a number of strategies to correctly solve a problem. The video shows clips of students in actual classrooms demonstrationg efficient computational fluency with several different methods to produce accurate answers to addition and subtraction problems.

Many students learn to consolidate and chose simpler numbers to work with or "friendly numbers". The students also learn by examining and comparing each others numbers. The idea behind computational fluency is that the ideas for math are connected together, so students may solve problems a number of ways and come up with the correct answer.

Telling the Data Story: Teaching Data Analysis in the Elementary School
Produced in 2001; 17 minutes; $10.00

This video highlights students showing proficiency in working with data in a variety of ways, such as formulating questions, collecting data, and organizing and representing. The footage is from actual classrooms in action, with children understanding data by asking questions that can be answered with data.

The video shows examples of why it is important for children to be a part of the entire process of understanding data, and demonstrates students planning how to organize data after collecting. It also offers real examples of students describing the data that they have categorized to show an understanding of what the data means, and finding a link to the real world.

Students are able to tell about where they see data gaps and data groups, or distribution of values. Through this they are able to compare findings. This video gives helpful strategies to guide students to be able to understand data when they can describe the data and summarize their findings. The video is another production from the CMSER featuring urban classrooms, diverse teachers and students, and students learning mathematics in alignment with national mathematics reform efforts.

Altering the Equation: A Video Documentary on the Milwaukee Public Schools Mathematics Proficiency Exam
30 minutes; $10.00

Many school districts are debating how best to measure how well they are educating students; they may soon be turning to Milwaukee for answers. As part of a wide-ranging reform effort, Milwaukee Public Schools now administers a mathematics proficiency examination to all students as a prerequisite to high school graduation. The test assesses how ready students are to apply mathematics and critical thinking skills to "real-world" problems.

The mathematics proficiency exam was given, for the first time, to juniors at the end of the 1994-95 school year. In early summer the district announced 21 percent of students taking the test passed. That means nearly four out of five students failed the exam; and that became the focal point of national discussion and debate. While some praised the district's effort at relevant assessment, critics say the results are proof that the school system is failing. In a sense, the district was damned by some because of its steps toward a praiseworthy goal.

The Center for Mathematics and Science Education Research at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee has developed a fresh look at the Milwaukee Public Schools math test. The half-hour video documentary entitled Altering the Equation is the result of this effort. This program explores the nature of the exam, the goals of the school district, and how the district's efforts - particularly with this test - fit the broader education community's attempts at reform and revitalization.

Altering the Equation was produced by Jerry Grayson, in association with Wisconsin Public Television, the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee Center for Mathematics and Science Education Research and the School of Education. The development of the video documentary was sponsored by the Helen Bader Foundation, Incorporated.

Just Talk About It, Write About It, and Count On It: A Video Documentary on the NCTM Communications Standards: Grades 5-12
30 minutes; $10.00

Standards are designed so that the role of students in the learning process shifts to prepare them for their entrance into the workforce. This goal makes it essential to create classrooms where students can become active in creating, constructing and communicating their mathematics understanding. Our job as educators, therefore, is to foster an atmosphere which allows students to feel free to make mistakes and take intellectual risks while exploring interesting problems and using important mathematical ideas and concepts. Such a climate improves confidence while building understanding, and empowering students.

Just Talk About It, Write About It, and Count on It discusses the NCTM Mathematics Standard of Communication. It includes detailed explanations of the various aspects of the communication standard along with teacher and student examples of that standard in classrooms. This video is a useful tool in facilitating a better implementation of this standard for both the educator and the student.

Just Talk About It, Write About It, and Count on It is the result of a partnership among Milwaukee Public Schools, Nicolet High School, and the Center for Mathematics and Science Education Research at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. The focus of the tape is one of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Curriculum and Evaluation Standards: the Communications Standard for grades 5-8 and 9-12. This tape was made possible by a grant from the Dwight D. Eisenhower Education Act.

Mathematics in Milwaukee: Parents as Partners in Children's Learning
Produced in 2000; 10 minutes; $10.00

Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) adopted a new mathematics curriculum entitled Investigations in Number, Data, and Space. This video gives an overview of the curriculum and the approach it takes towards teaching and learning mathematics. Using examples of MPS students and teachers in the classroom, the video discusses how Investigations promotes reasoning, collaboration, several forms of communication and various ways of working with numbers to teach and learn mathematics.

The video provides testimonials of parents who have worked successfully with their children and the Investigations curriculum. Speaking about the benefits of interacting with their children in a mathematical context, parents give examples of how they have supported and reinforced their children as they find and apply knowledge in mathematics. Also included in the video are clips of parents and their children working together on math homework and games.

Milwaukee's Mathematics for the New Millennium: Milwaukee Public Schools Elementary Mathematics Curriculum
10 minutes; $10.00

Investigations in Number, Data and Space is the mathematics curriculum used in the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). This video explains the curriculum and the approach it takes towards teaching and learning mathematics. Using examples of MPS students and teachers in the classroom, the video demonstrates how Investigations uses more than one way to solve problems, independent work and cooperative groups to develop flexibility, confidence, fluency, and communication skills in mathematics.

The instructional component of Investigations is complemented by the assessment portion of the curriculum. This video addresses various manners in which teachers can assess student achievement and adjust instruction. The video also explains the homework component which includes practice, preparation and family involvement.

CMSER Affiliated Field Guides

Community as Classroom: An Urban Field Guide to Community-based Environmental Science Education

The Urban Field Guide is a grant-funded project of the Wisconsin Environmental Education Board, developed by teachers in member school districts of Cooperative Educational Service Agency 1 (CESA 1).

The purpose of the Urban Field Guide is to provide substantial information regarding accessible environmental field experiences in urban and suburban settings, meaningful connections to the Wisconsin model Academic Standards for Environmental Education, integration of the curricula, and instructional opportunities and materials designed with a constructivist approach.

This field guide includes a variety of sites in southeast Wisconsin but by no means includes all of the many potential field trip sites in the area. The designers of the field guide and writing team focused on those sites that would be especially appealing to those educators who have not taken advantage of the community as classroom to date as well as those who do.

Other considerations include active engagement of students, real life problems to be solved in student-centered activities, and connections to the lives and interests of students. Performance-based authentic assessments are encouraged.

The Urban Field Guide offers guidance for all field trips, breaking the trip into activities to do prior to the visit, during the visit, and after the visit. Sites are categorized by Nature Centers/Farms, Waste Management/Recycling, and Water Treatment, and entries include:

• Name
• Location of the site and a map
• A contact person
• Availability and fee information
• A breakdown of the facilities offered at the site, including restroom information
• Clothing recommendations
• Site highlights
• Suggested learning activities
• Suggested student assessment
• Additional resources

For more information on how to access this guide, in print or on CD, please contact Bill Kean, at 229-5231.

Grant Park Field Trip Guide

This report, created in 2002, is intended to provide helpful information about Grant Park to use when visiting with a group of elementary/middle grade children. It describes a walking tour through the park with topics to discuss at various locations along the way. It also has several hands-on activities to try with students, both while at the park and also as pre- or post- activities to complete in the classroom.

Grant Park Field Trip Guide (PDF)

CMSER Affiliated Articles

Article by Huinker, Freckmann in NCTM Journal - March, 2004

Huinker & Freckmann (2004). Support Teacher Learning: Focusing Conversations to Promote Teacher Thinking. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 10 (7), 352.

Article by Kean, Lundberg, Posnanski and Wisniewski in Journal of Geoscience Education, published by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers - November 2004

The November 2004 issue of Journal of Geoscience Education, published by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, features an article written by CMSER Affiliates Bill Kean and Tracy Posnanski, co-written by Jane Wisniewski of Milwaukee Public Schools and Todd Lundberg of the English Department at UWM. Kean is a Professor in Geosciences at UWM, and Posnanski is an Assistant Professor in Curriculum and Instruction.

The article, "Urban Earth Science in Milwaukee Wisconsin" describes the collaboration between UWM, the Urban Tree House Project, and MPS to provide field guides, web-based virtual field trips, instructional videos, and other information to earth science educators working in southeast Wisconsin.

Kean, Posnanski, Wisniewski & Lundberg (2004). Urban Earth Science in Milwaukee Wisconsin. Journal of Geoscience Education, 52 (5), 433-437.

Article by Huinker, Freckmann, & Steinmeyer in NCTM Journal - February, 2003

Huinker, Freckmann, & Steinmeyer (2003). Subtraction Strategies from Children's Thinking: Moving toward Fluency with Greater Numbers. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 9 (6), 347.

CMSER Affiliated Books & Technical Reports

Educational Needs Assessment Study for DNR Department of Forestry

A 2002 study was led by Chris Beimborn, CMSER staff member, on behalf of the Wisconsin DNR Division of Forestry. The purpose of the study was to examine the needs of the educational community for a proposed Forestry Awareness and Education Center on the Milwaukee County Grounds. Several collaborators from the education community as well as staff from many local field trip providers contributed to this report.

The research analyzed a wide range of topics, including building needs; statistics about the targeted audience; input from over 200 learning coordinators, science teachers, and district administrators; a directory of other Southeastern Wisconsin field trip providers and locales; and models from existing field trip providers.

If you are interested in viewing a hard copy of the report or have specific questions regarding the study, contact the CMSER.

Barking Up the Right Tree: An Educational Needs Assessment for the Forestry Education and Awareness Center (PDF)

Published Books

Kepner, Henry S. Jr., & Laughlin, Connie (2001). Guidelines for the Tutor of Mathematics (2nd ed.). Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

News & Events Archive

CMSER Receives Funding for Eisenhower Projects (PDF)

Curriculum Authors Visit Milwaukee (PDF)

NCTM Publishes Kepner's and Laughlin's Book (PDF)

Assistant Director Receives Award (PDF)