A Portfolio Project in Math

Brad Franklin (Math 130 )

TA Brad Franklin’s Portfolio Project asks students in a course for future math teachers to reflect on their own learning process during the semester by preparing a cover letter, selecting their best work, extending their earlier “reflections,” and writing a short paper linking their experiences to math-teaching research.



The main point of this project is to address the fourth of the goals for this course that I gave at the beginning of this semester (look it up). I hope that it also provides you with an opportunity to bring together much of what you have learned during the semester and to highlight what this course has made possible both for you and for your future students. As a bonus, you may end up with something you want to show to prospective employers!



  1. A cover letter summarizing the contents of the portfolioand stating the purpose of it in your own words.
  2. Four of your strongest problem write‑ups, along with an explanation of why you chose each one: either because you solved a hard problem, you were creative or had an original solution or nice explanation, or whatever. You may also mention how you might still improve on the report.
  3. All of your “reflections” from throughout the semester, along with any further thoughts you have on the topics.  Also, write a reflection on: what do you personally find valuable about cooperative learning as a pedagogical method as it was used in Math 130, and what do you find problematic about it? (be critical and frank)
  4. Write a short paper in response to an article in math-education research. I have suggested some below. It should be at least two but no more than four pages. The object here is to bring your own experience to bear to assess the claims made by fellow researchers in math education. You have something valuable to contribute to other teachers’ understanding of how math is learned and how it can be taught effectively! Explain yourself with clear, well‑formulated arguments, specific examples, and careful explanations (and pictures, even), just like in your problem reports.


Important: once you have chosen the article you want to respond to, you must get my approval. Only five people can write about each paper, and it’s first come, first served!



The grade on your project will be three-pronged:

  • The thoughtfulness and thoroughness of the work.
  • The clarity and overall effectiveness of the arguments that you make (remember, specific examples used to illustrate all general statements).
  • The overall presentation of the portfolio.


If you want to do something in place of this portfolio which fulfills the same purpose, such as creating and using a cooperative learning lesson plan and writing up a report on your experience, or observing a cooperative learning elementary/secondary classroom, you are highly encouraged to pursue this! See me and I will help you make it happen.