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Program Details

A National Science Foundation Supported (Virtual) Undergraduate Research Experience for Secondary Education Mathematics Majors

Summer 2021

Professors: Saad El-Zanati and David Barker

Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois

The Illinois State Math REU has been offered every summer since 2007. In 2021, we will offer an eight-week (June 7–July 30, 2021) (virtual) summer research experience for eight undergraduates majoring in secondary education in mathematics and for four in-service secondary mathematics teachers. The undergraduate participants will be recruited nationwide with emphasis on institutions that serve primarily minority populations. Preference will be given to in-service teacher applicants from urban schools. The participants will explore, in teams of three, several research topics in discrete mathematics with emphasis on experimentation, conjecture, careful justification, and clear, precise reporting. An added emphasis of the project is on the development and implementation, by the REU participants, of a one-week (Virtual) Mathematics Research Camp (July 19–July 23, 2021) for 16 high school students from the Chicago Public School (CPS) district.

The main objective of the project is to provide research opportunities for the participants, helping them become highly-qualified teachers who can meet national demands for increased student proficiency and can adapt to the changing needs of our technological society. An additional objective is to showcase positive teaching role models for the pre-service participants.

The expected outcomes related to the project goals include: (1) “teacher-scholars”—teachers and prospective teachers who experience scholarship in mathematics in a setting that emphasizes the interconnections among theory, procedures and applications and who develop habits of mind of a mathematical thinker, (2) likely research publications authored jointly by students and faculty, (3) partnerships between university researchers and high school mathematics teachers, with common goals, and (4) teaching modules in discrete mathematics developed by the “teacher-scholars” that reflect a pedagogical emphasis on deep mathematical thinking.

The pre-service participants will be offered a $5600 stipend. The in-service participants will be offered a $7200 stipend. We will leave open the possibility of meeting in-person the last 2 weeks of the REU.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents to qualify, and applications from women, minority candidates, and physically challenged students are particularly encouraged. Spring 2021 graduates are not eligible.

The ideal candidate for this project would have completed their junior​ year. A distinguished academic record and indication of research interest or potential are essential. Make sure you check the criteria for selection​ for more details.

Further information can be obtained by contacting Dr. Saad El-Zanati at:

4520 Department of Mathematics
Illinois State University
Normal, IL 61790-4520





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