UCSB Department of Mathematics
Center for Mathematical Inquiry
History and Objectives


The UCSB Center for Mathematical Inquiry was established in the fall of 2004 with the reciept of a grant from the Educational Advancement Foundation. Housed in the Department of Mathematics at UCSB, the Center is one of five centers funded by the Foundation, the other four located in the mathematics departments of Harvard University, the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan, and the University of Texas.

The Educational Advancement Foundation established the five Centers to ensure continued development of inquiry-based learning practices in the teaching of mathematics at these campuses and to ensure the continued development of a research base that examines teaching and learning through inquiry-based practices. The work of the Educational Advancement Foundation was inspired by the work of University of Texas at Austin Professor of Mathematics R. L. Moore who became renown across the US for his for his extensive teaching via inquiry and through his students who continued his practices. Each Center has its own distinct program, but all focus on the use of inquiry in their calculus sequences, introductory upper division mathematics courses, and in preparing graduate students to teach via inquiry. Further, each Center has experienced staff dedicated to collaboration with the K-12 community to further the use of inquiry in mathematics classrooms.

The UCSB Center's undergraduate and graduate mathematics program builds upon the legacy of R. L. Moore in undergraduate education. Similarly, the Center's K-12 work is grounded in the principles laid by John Dewey and Jean Piaget - "to understand is to invent" truly guides the Center's program. Central to this vision is the axiom that mathematics teaching and learning must be based upon the instructor actively listening to students, not students listening to instructors. But further, in all work the Center is cognizant of the need to guarantee the highest standards and accountability for student achievement. Because of this, the continuous examination of mathematical reasoning is the core of activity in the Center's classrooms and all K-12 work is aligned with the California content standards and specific needs identified by participating teachers.

Currently, the main programs of the UCSB Center include:
  • Inquiry-based undergraduate sequences in calculus and differential equations.
  • Inquiry-based undergraduate courses for prospective elementary teachers, including case study examination of children engaged in mathematical inquiry.
  • Inquiry-based upper division mathematics courses in geometry and problem solving for mathematics majors
  • Workshops for K-12 teachers on mathematical content and a developmental view of the big ideas, strategies, and representations of mathematics as constructed by children
  • Opportunities for mathematics graduate students to work in the undergraduate inquiry-based classes and in K-12 outreach.
The UCSB Center for Mathematical Inquiry is supported by grants from the Educational Advancement Foundation