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Investing in Math Education

Making good on the Lab’s good-neighbor pledge with teacher training that works
January 1, 2015
Investing in Math Education

To most people, a snack; to Los Alamos math-education-theory specialists, a representation of the concept “three.”

Solve the following word problem: Four educators want to teach math to 15,000 grade-schoolers over the course of 14 years. How many students must each educator tutor? Answer: 3,750 total, or 268 per educator per year. That student-teacher ratio may be common at large universities, but it won’t work for elementary school.

The Los Alamos Math and Science Academy (MSA) sends Laboratory educators into Northern New Mexico public schools to improve how teachers teach. They train kindergarten through eighth-grade math and science teachers to lead their students through the levels of understanding to real comprehension. The formula for the MSA’s success is to train the educators so that their investment is amplified with each new class.