COLUMBIA, Mo. -- If four University of Missouri professors prevail, the days of learning math by repetition and drilling may be replaced with more reading and better problem-solving methods.
Ira Papick, John Beem, Barbara Reys and Robert Reys have worked together since 1995 to promote a series of math textbooks, workbooks and teaching materials for middle school math education. The books are now used in more than 4,000 school districts in the nation.
"I felt it was so imperative to change the way math was being taught in schools that I have dedicated the rest of my career to that cause," Papick said.
The materials are different from traditional math textbooks because they involve more reading and show students that mathematics is much more than just numbers, said Robert Reys.
The four professors -- two from the math education department and two from the math department -- decided to collaborate on the project following the release of new math standards by the National Council of Teachers in Mathematics, Papick said.
The professors hope students learn basic skills, are able to reason logically and use various mathematical methods to solve problems. They also want to help students appreciate how important math is in everyday human affairs, Barbara Reys said.
The work was funded through a $10 million grant from the National Science Foundation and the professors are expecting an additional $10 million for further research.