My research investigates the learning and teaching of undergraduate mathematics content courses. Currently I am focused on students’ understanding of linear algebra. In general, my research investigates the development of mathematical meaning over time (for both individual students and the classroom as a collective community) and explores ways to coordinate the analyses at the individual and collective levels. Some of my research makes use of Toulmin’s Model of Argumentation as an analytical tool, as well as utilizing adjacency matrices to analyze students’ discourse and understanding of particular mathematical content. I am also interested in students’ development of formal ways of reasoning about mathematical concepts via authentic participation in discipline-specific mathematical activities.
In my own practice, teaching and research are tightly interrelated, in that one necessarily informs the other. I believe that my view on learning should affect how I teach, and vice versa. This reciprocal relationship between theory and practice motivates me to investigate how students learn particular ideas in mathematics; as such, I inquire into and analyze student thinking by conducting interviews and classroom teaching experiments. With respect to the practice of teaching, I have found the instructional design theory of Realistic Mathematics Education (RME) to be a helpful framework as I design and utilize instructional sequences that build on student ideas as the starting point from which more complex and formal reasoning develops.
National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program through the Division of Undergraduate Education: CAREER: An Interdisciplinary Study of Learning: Student Understanding of Linear Algebra in Physics (DUE-1452889), Megan Wawro (PI), $779,686, 2015-2020.
National Science Foundation Transforming Undergraduate Education in STEM, Collaborative Research: Developing Inquiry-Oriented Instructional Materials for Linear Algebra (DUE-1245673, 1245796, and 1246083), M. Wawro (PI), M. Zandieh and C. Rasmussen (co-PIs), $179,949, 2013-15.
Virginia Tech Center for Innovation in Learning, Innovation in Undergraduate Mathematics Education: Supporting Student-Centered Instruction, M. Wawro (PI) and David Plaxco (co-PI), $10,000, 2013-2014.
National Science Foundation Transforming Undergraduate Education in STEM, MPWR: Mentoring and Partnerships for Women in RUME (DUE-1352990), M. Wawro (PI), Jessica Ellis and Hortensia Soto-Johnson, senior personnel, $44,148, 2013-2014.
National Science Foundation Transforming Undergraduate Education in STEM, MPWR II: Mentoring and Partnerships for Women in RUME (DUE-1457785), Jessica Ellis (PI); M. Wawro, E. Thanheiser, and S. Musgrave (senior personnel), 2014-2015, $49,986.
National Science Foundation, MPWR 2016 and Beyond: Fostering Sustainable Networks for Women in RUME (DUE-1553278); J. Ellis (PI), S. Musgrave (co-PI), M. Wawro and E. Thanheiser (senior personnel), 2016-2019, $199,992.
National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Teach Scholarship, Virginia Teach, Phase II: A Community-Based Approach to Serving Mathematics Students in Need (DUE-1339947), C. Ulrich (PI), J. Wilkins, B. Kreye, A. Norton, and M. Wawro (co-PIs), $800,000, 2013-18.
National Science Foundation Innovations in Undergraduate STEM Education, MATH: EAGER Building a Mathematical Toolkit and Motivation for Success in the Physical and Quantitative Sciences (DUE-1544225), J. Sible (PI); K. Drezek, S. Lewis, M. Pleming, A. Robinson (co-PIs), J. Simonetti, M. Wawro (senior personnel), 2015-2017, $296,996.
MPWR: Mentoring and Partnerships for Women in RUME
The purpose of the NSF-funded MPWR Seminar is to create a sustainable support system for women at all career stages in undergraduate mathematics education research. Run in 2014 and 2015, the MPWR seminars included panel discussions led by leading female education researchers from within and beyond the RUME community. More information can be found at: www.mpwr-seminar.com.