This book results from a multiyear collaboration made possible by the National
Center for Improving Student Learning and Achievement housed at
the Wisconsin Center for Educational Research, University of Wisconsin,
Madison. This collaboration focused on investigating the nature of learning
in science and mathematics classrooms and on ways to design classrooms that
foster rich understanding of these domains. The specific contributions in this
volume were first presented at a seminar in Ashland, Massachusetts, sponsored
by the Center in November 2000 entitled, "Case Studies and Instructional
The aim of this book is to reexamine the dichotomy between the "everyday"
and the "disciplinary" that has dominated much of educational thinking as
well as to explore alternatives to this opposition from points of view grounded
in the close examination of complex classroom events. Traditionally in the
context of schooling, everyday knowledge and practices are seen in opposition
to disciplinary knowledge and practices. In this book we make the case
that the teaching and learning of science and mathematics builds on students'
everyday experience and knowledge in all their manifold forms. The chapters
in this book explore this thesis from various angles. They capture the
voices of students, teachers, and curriculum developers as they wrestle with
the complexities of their encounters with everyday and disciplinary matters.
This book will be of interest to those—researchers, teacher educators, practitioners,
and policymakers—who are interested in research that is grounded
in close analysis of classroom events, student thinking, and teacher practice.