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Student finds a common denominator with calculus, coaching

  |   Kathryn Kao   |   Permalink   |   Research,   Students and Faculty

Two weeks before his freshman orientation at the University of Georgia, Daniel Schoon realized there were only two professions he would truly enjoy 30 years down the road: teaching and coaching baseball.

That's why, as a dual major in mathematics education and mathematics, Schoon can unite his passions for math, teaching and coaching as a high school math teacher—and also provide a constructive environment for the next generation.

"With teaching, I get to influence 150 students a year for 180 days of the year," he says. "I get to build these relationships with kids and, hopefully, leave a lasting impression on them."

Along with his dual bachelor's degrees, Schoon plans to graduate in the fall of 2017 with a master's degree in mathematics education (grades 6-12). He recently worked with associate professor of mathematics education Kevin Moore on a National Science Foundation-sponsored project investigating the quantitative reasoning of secondary-level mathematics teachers.

"It was really neat to discover so many different ways to think about math," says Schoon, who, as part of the research process, took mathematics tests and then explained how he solved each problem.

"Kids have these different ways of approaching math and based on how they think about it, that pretty much tells us how we should be teaching it."

Schoon says this research experience deepened his classroom skill set. He plans to engage students individually, depending on how each approaches a mathematics problem. He is particularly interested in teaching summer remedial classes to engage a smaller group of students, build stronger relationships, and hopefully spark an interest in their lives and education.

"You always have to keep your goal in mind—what do you want your kids to learn and what connections do you want them to make?" he says. "And then, you have to explore how to accomplish those tasks so kids can discover the connections."

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