About Us

What is the Poincaré Institute?

The Poincaré Institute for Mathematics Education is a National Science Foundation Math and Science Partnership between Tufts University Departments of Mathematics, Education, and Physics, TERC, and partner school districts in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. The institute seeks to transform and improve the teaching and learning of mathematics in middle school and the connections between the elementary, middle, and high school mathematics curricula.

Rather than re-teach the mathematics teachers already know, or offer pre-packaged lessons, the Institute provide a broad, unified framework to re-envision the mathematics they already teach. Built upon the expertise of mathematicians, researchers in mathematics education, and physicists It brings together, the focus of the Institute is on algebra and the mathematics of functions and on teaching, learning, and understanding student reasoning.

Key Components of the Project

  • Three graduate-level online and face-to-face courses for mathematics teachers of fifth through ninth grades.
  • Self-sustaining school-based discussion forums on mathematics, student reasoning, and approaches to teaching and learning.
  • Research on the impact of the Institute on teacher development and student learning.

Focus on Middle School Mathematics

Partners in this proposal recognize the critical importance of middle school, a period when many students lose interest in mathematics. The problem is acute not only in urban centers, but also a concern in rural areas and in areas of immigrant concentration. The project rests on the premise that, to improve students’ learning, one needs to broaden and deepen teachers’ understanding of mathematics, of how children think and learn, and of teaching and learning.

Broad Impact

  • More than 2200 students each year, plus 180 in-service teachers already benefitted from the project’s work.
  • The Institute strengthens and expands collaborative partnerships with schools both by preparing teachers and researchers in Mathematics and in Education, and supporting school districts’ efforts to improve their mathematics curricula.
  • The Institute offers an interdisciplinary, research-based model for introducing a deeper, integrated approach to mathematics in districts where minority and under-privileged students typically underperform.