Elementary mathematics curriculum materials can serve as a lever for instructional change. In this paper, we promote a particular kind of instructional change: supporting teachers in learning to integrate children’s multiple mathematical knowledge bases (MMKB), including children’s mathematical thinking and children’s home and community-based mathematical funds of knowledge, in instruction. A powerful means of supporting pre-service teachers in integrating children’s MMKB in instruction may be to scaffold teachers’ noticing of potential spaces in elementary mathematics curriculum materials for connecting to children’s MMKB and then developing practices for leveraging these spaces during instruction. We focus on existing and potential spaces in written curriculum materials, or curriculum spaces, so as to better support teachers in enacting curriculum that opens spaces for connecting to children’s MMKB.
Mathematics classrooms should provide opportunities for all students to learn and participate in mathematics (Civil, 2012; National Council of Teachers of Mathematics [NCTM], 2014). Long-standing patterns document, however, that historically marginalized K-12 (ages 5–18) students have fewer opportunities to learn and participate in mathematics due to dominant cultural and school structures (Berry, Pinter, & McClain, 2013; Civil & Planas, 2004; Flores, 2007). Research in contexts within and outside of the U.S. demonstrates that classrooms engaged in pedagogy that draws on students’ family and community funds of knowledge (knowledge gained from being a member in a community, described in greater detail below) can support more students, and particularly those historically marginalized, with greater opportunity to learn mathematics (e.g. Andrews & Yee, 2006; Borden, 2013; Civil, 2012; Ewing, 2012; Hogg, 2016; Lipka, 2002; Poirier, 2005; Turner & Celedon-Pattichis, 2011). In other words, ‘students’ social, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds are valued, reflected, and key to their academic advancement’ (Civil, 2012, p. 43). At the same time, commercial curriculum materials are a prominent feature of most mathematics classrooms. Ball and Cohen (1996) argued curriculum materials can serve as a lever for large-scale change, given their ubiquitous use and the centrality of the materials in most teachers’ instructional planning. Their argument is supported by research that establishes curriculum can support students’ learning of rigorous mathematics (Stein, Remillard, & Smith, 2007; Tarr et al., 2008); teachers rely heavily on curriculum materials as novices (Grossman & Thompson, 2008); and curriculum materials can be educative (Davis & Krajcik, 2005; Remillard, 2005). Curriculum materials can, however, be constraining in that they are written for a general audience (Ebby et al., 2011), which could further privilege dominant views.