Students today move through high school thinking about what they want to do after graduation. While science classes show students what scientists do, and CTE programs show them what life would be like working in a trade, math classes are notorious for implementing “drill and kill” strategies to teach arbitrary formulas and rules. Switching the classroom focus to that of a cooperative learning environment gives students the opportunity to see what life would be like as a mathematician: they see that math is filled with inquiry, perseverance, and collaboration. This has the potential to open their eyes to careers in STEM fields, such as Engineering and Computer Science. Furthermore, they see the relevance and beauty of mathematics through the tasks they complete in class, whether that be independently or collaboratively.

This review examined research on the importance of engaging families and communities in the learning process, cooperative learning strategies and their effects on learning, and how the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics has affected educators. The research and literature so far show that if you can engage students and their families in work that is meaningful to them, they will not only see the importance of math, but will be more willing to take the risk to learn, too. This aligns with Frier’s definition of teaching: “to teach is not to transfer knowledge but to create the possibilities for the production or construction of knowledge (Freire, 1968). Through researching best practices and analyzing my current strategies for teaching Geometry, I have gained an appreciation for effective teaching and have learned that I, too, am capable of teaching Geometry well.

Exit Requirement

Action Research

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching (initial licensure)

Committee Chair

Melanie Landon-Hays

Committee Member

Michael Jennings



Type (DCMI Terms)

Text; Image; StillImage

Subject Categories

Science and Mathematics Education

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