Bussue, Whitwood represent MSU at Texas Undergraduate Research Day

Nikki R. Bussue and Melissa Whitwood, students in Midwestern State University's West College of Education, were in Austin today to present their research poster "Integrating Children's Literature In Elementary Math Methods: Fostering Understanding And Connections" as part of the 2017 Texas Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol. The students' research project was one of 63 posters on display reflecting the work of numerous undergraduate students representing 51 college, university, and health science center undergraduate programs across Texas. They were accompanied by faculty advisor Dittika Gupta, Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Learning.

In this study, the researchers designed an integration model that exposed pre-service teachers to the use of children's literature in teaching elementary mathematics and examined their attitudes and perceptions about the strategy. The study utilized a qualitative methodology to investigate attitudes and perceptions of 31 pre-service teachers over two semesters in the 2015-2016 school year. Data collected in the form of semi-structured pre and post interviews, class discussions, small group discussions, reflections, and pre-service teacher work product including lesson plans were analyzed using open and axial coding along with member checking.

The integration model used had a positive impact on pre-service teachers' perceptions and attitudes about integrating children's literature into their mathematics lessons. The results of the research study show that pre-service teachers' awareness, confidence, and attitudes toward literature integration had increased positively. The researchers believe that there is a need to expose pre-service teachers to integration models such as teaching mathematics with literature through modeling if they are expected to use this strategy. The researchers also believe that the integration model used in this research study can be adapted in different ways by mathematics university instructors to model literature integration for pre-service teachers.

The purpose of Texas Undergraduate Research Day is to showcase the experiences of undergraduate students engaged in research for Texas legislators and the public through high-quality poster displays.

While in Austin, students and faculty advisors have the opportunity to tour the Texas Capitol, attend committee hearings, and attend the daily meeting of the Senate and House of Representatives.