Mariana Levin



Background: Before coming to SESAME, I earned my masters degree in mathematics from UC Berkeley. My masters thesis, based on joint work I had conducted with Carl Pomerance during internships at Bell Labs, focused on the use of combinatorial sieve techniques to address problems in analytic number theory. During my studies in SESAME, I have worked extensively with the Diversity in Mathematics Education (DiME) project in collaborative efforts with colleagues at UCLA and UW-Madison. In addition to my work in Berkeley, I spent two years (2007-2009) as a visiting doctoral student in Pisa, Italy.

Research Interests: My research investigates the nature and form of students' informal and intuitive mathematical ideas and how these ideas can be articulated, built upon, and refined in instruction. The program of research I am developing is fundamentally informed by the knowledge in pieces (KiP) epistemological perspective (diSessa, 1993). In my current work, I am especially interested in students' intuitive ideas about algebra and the development of algebraic reasoning. My RCME home-base research group is ATS (Algebra Teaching Study) led by Alan Schoenfeld of Berkeley and Bob Floden of Michigan State University. One of the main foci of ATS is to develop measures and ways of characterizing excellent algebra teaching. The ATS Research group also is involved in related projects with the Gates Foundation and the Shell Centre in Nottingham, UK. Another RCME project I am currently working on with Na'ilah Nasir and Jack Dieckmann (of Stanford) is the development of the introductory "RCME Survey of Current Issues and Research in Mathematics Education." I am looking forward to co-teaching the inaugural edition of this course together with Jack this spring. Together with Orit Parnafes of Tel-Aviv University, I am the co-chair of the workshop steering committee for what we hope will become annual "KiPshops" - opportunities for researchers representing multiple disciplines and domains, but broadly informed by KiP, to come together to share recent work and ideas related to the general KiP program. We had our first KiPshop last spring before AERA in San Diego, attended by an international group of about thirty researchers at multiple career stages. We plan to hold a similar event immediately before ICLS in Chicago this summer. To facilitate the continuation and elaboration of the ideas from KiPshops, I am also involved in coordinating a local, weekly UCB Knowledge Analysis Seminar with Andy diSessa. If you're interested in KiP or knowledge analysis, please let us know! 

Publications: 
  • Levin, M. (2009). A conceptual change lens on the emergence of a novel strategy during mathematical problem solving. In Swars, S. L., Stinson, D. W., & Lemons-Smith, S. (Eds.) Proceedings of the 31st annual meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education. Atlanta, GA: Georgia State University. 
  • Levin, M. (2009). Informal problem solving through the lens of intuitive resources. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) in the session Modeling Micro-Processes of Learning and Conceptual Change, Lauren Barth-Cohen and Mariana Levin, co-chairs, San Diego, CA, April, 2009 
  • Levin, M. (2008). The potential for developing algebraic thinking through purposeful guessing and checking. In G. Kanselaar, J. van Merrienboer, P. Kirschner, & T. de Jong (Eds.), Proceedings of the International Conference of the Learning Sciences. Utrecht, The Netherlands: ICLS. DiME Collective (2007). Culture, Race, Power, and Mathematics Education (contributing author-Diversity in Mathematics Education Research Collective). In the Handbook of Research on Mathematics Teaching and Learning, 2nd edition, F. Lester, Ed. 
  • Levin, M. (2003). On fixed points for discrete logarithms. Unpublished masters thesis, University of California, Berkeley.