Kelley Buchheister, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Department of Child, Youth, and Family Studies

Kelley Buchheister’s research and teaching focus on enhancing students’ thinking and reasoning in mathematics by developing practicing and prospective teachers’ understanding of the cultural contexts of learning and constructing appropriately challenging environments that provide the greatest opportunity for all students to achieve high quality experiences in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines. Her research addresses meta-representational competence related to primary students’ interpretations of mathematical representations as tools for thinking and reasoning, and how these perceptions correspond to teachers’ actions in the classroom environment.

Through projects such as PLUMB (Pinpointing Language Underlying Mathematical Building) and ELEVATE2 (Examining Logico-Mathematical Experiences: Variations in Access Through Early Engineering), Buchheister’s main area of research delves into the mathematical ideas that are represented through natural contexts such as free play with building materials and how caregivers provide equitable opportunities to support mathematical investigations in early childhood. She also works with colleagues from Iowa State University and Millersville University of Pennsylvania to explore the actions mathematics teacher educators use to aide prospective teachers in the design of effective learning experiences that meet the needs of all learners.

Buchheister’s collaborative efforts continue with colleagues from the University of South Carolina through a Math and Science Partnership Grant funded through the South Carolina Department of Education. In this project, she works closely with the College of Arts and Science, as well as science experts in the College of Education, to provide professional development that enhances teachers’ content knowledge and subsequently positively impacts student learning.

Additionally, Buchheister’s collaborative research at USC includes a joint sub-award project (currently under review with the National Institute of Health) entitled HOME C2OOKING (Creative Culinary Opportunities Offering Kids Inquiry-Based Nutritional Genius). The goals of the project are to enhance students’ efficacy toward math and science through culinary experiences that capitalize on cultural and community contexts of learning.