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Mathematics Education Undergraduate Program

What Makes Our Program Distinct

UWRF stands out in how we prepare our teacher candidates to become mathematics teachers.

Cohort Relationships & Opportunities for Professional Development

  • Small & close community of faculty and cohort
  • Work directly with award-winning faculty who conduct teaching and learning projects and professional development for K-12 mathematics teachers
  • Outlets for professional development, such as attending and presenting at conferences, math modeling competitions, and math organizations
  • Network opportunities with award-winning alumni and secondary math teachers in the region.

Emerging Technologies

  • Learn to use specialized math teaching software apps: Desmos, Classkick, GeoGebra, StatKey, and SeeSaw
  • Candidates are assigned an iPad for teaching mathematics lessons throughout the entire apprenticeship year

Practicum Experience

  • A dedicated intense apprenticeship experience working in both middle school and high school level mathematics classrooms
  • Four years of active experience in k-12 classrooms before student teaching, which includes 150 hours of clinically supervised practicum experience during the apprenticeship year

Current Best Practices in the Classroom

  • Experience with highly rated instructional materials (IM and CPM), low-floor high-ceiling rich math tasks, and mathematical visuals and manipulatives to support student learning
  • Preparation in high impact current teaching practices and questioning strategies to teach mathematics that engage students in active learning and inquiry-based instruction
  • Practice in applying supports for diverse learners in a mathematics classroom to scaffold students with learning needs in being successful
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Two-Semester Math Apprenticeship Model


Meet your university professors and cooperating teachers.

A rigorous and focused math apprenticeship makes up the last few semesters of the mathematics education program. To learn more about this apprenticeship, read below. For further information on the program as a whole, visit our Program at a Glance. 


Building on the rich heritage established in our former single semester Math Block model, UW-River Falls offers a unique approach to training secondary mathematics teachers. Each morning is blocked off for cohort coursework and practicum.

As a teacher candidate in the apprenticeship experience, your journey begins by being introduced to the Mathematical Practice Standards (habits of mind).


Using an assigned iPad, candidates learn how to effectively use mobile devices in a 1-1 classroom environment, and both physical and virtual whiteboards to represent mathematical reasoning as part of an inquiry-based classroom. Candidates keep an electronic journal to showcase methods to motivate and engage students in the mathematics classroom at both the middle and high school levels.


In the first few days of each apprenticeship, you lead discussions preparing for analyzing a unit where you explore highly rated instructional materials such as IllustrativeMathematics and College Prep Math.


During the first half of each semester, professional readings will provide you a foundation to understand what you are putting into practice. Each day you will engage in mathematical learning by participating in tasks and activities. You will learn how to ask meaningful questions and facilitate discourse in a classroom using the 5 Practices for Orchestrating Discussion and other questioning strategies.  You will learn about and practice embedding formative assessments and differentiation to guide instruction.


During the second half of each semester, you will begin writing lesson plans and teach lessons in a co-teaching environment. The last four weeks of each semester you will work with cooperating teachers, primarily in the New Richmond School District, to co-plan, co-teach, and co-assess a 3-5 day learning segment. Each semester will fulfill approximately 75 hours in the field and will familiarize you with both middle and high school settings.


During the Middle School Apprenticeship, you will work with secondary and elementary math teacher candidates focused on teaching middle school mathematics. You will explore how the different mathematical content domains (Ratios & Proportions, Expressions & Equations, Statistics & Probability, Geometry, and Number Systems) progress through the different grade levels. You will learn how to differentiate instruction and use applied supports: manipulatives such as tape diagrams, double number lines, algebra tiles, hanger diagrams, CPM probability tools, and more. You will use technologies such as: Desmos Activity Builder, Classkick, and SeeSaw to construct and facilitate lessons.


During the High School Apprenticeship, you will work with secondary math teacher candidates learning how to teach high school mathematics. You will explore different mathematical conceptual categories and use tools such as: algebra tiles to facilitate algebraic thinking, dynamic geometric software such as Desmos Geometry & GeoGebra to showcase transformations, and StatKey to develop an understanding of simulation-based statistics. Halfway through the experience, your team will create a math parody video that showcases collaborative creative/critical writing in the mathematics classroom. You will strengthen your understanding of using language in the mathematics classroom and supports for the language demands of vocabulary, discourse, and syntax through literacy strategies such as: multi-rep charts, Frayer Model, think-ink-pair-share, give & take, pass the problem, and pencils in the middle. You will consider the context for learning to build relationships and community with students.


Director of the Program

Dr. Erick Hofacker
Mathematics Department
214c North Hall

Student Testimonials

"Collaborating with a small group of others who share my same passion has given me life-long friendships and enhanced my passion and confidence in my chosen career path." - Kaydan Geiger (Fall 2021 Graduate)

"The Mathematics Education Program at the University of Wisconsin River Falls prepared me for a successful transition from being the pupil to teaching the pupil." - Paige Schrader (Spring 2016 Graduate)

"I am thoroughly grateful for having had the opportunity to be part of the Mathematics Education Program at UWRF. Ten years after getting a BS in mathematics, I decided to attend UWRF to get on the path to obtain a math teaching certification. I definitely made the right choice! Under the exemplary leadership of Dr. Erick Hofacker, the UWRF Math Education Program was key in my development of becoming a solid math educator." - Maria Miller (Fall 2008 Graduate)

"Looking back, I really am amazed at the sheer amount of information that I have been able to take in, retain, and apply to my teaching. I have known that I wanted to be a teacher for quite some time now, but being a part of this two-semester experience has just ignited something in me. I honestly cannot say enough good things about it and find myself bragging about how much I've learned from and loved about this process! I found that I was excited to come to class each and every day. I want to read everything I can get my hands on to better myself as a teacher for my future students. I'm beyond ready for student teaching and to finally have my own classroom, and I thank my professors and the two-semester apprenticeship part of the program for all of the incredible growth I've made." - Danielle Wieler (Fall 2021 Graduate)

"The Mathematics program at UW-River Falls is really something special. The Math block Erick and Mary have created at UW-River Falls is amazing. You would learn something new each day and it was fun doing so. I do not think many other universities have something as special as that. The Mathematics Education program prepared me so well for the real-world classroom experience. Attending UW-River Falls and going through the Math Education program was one of the best decisions I have made." - Zac Weber (Spring 2019 Graduate)

"No college program can truly prepare a teacher for everything that the education profession will throw at them (PT conferences, meeting after meeting, school board politics, etc.) but at UWRF I felt that the professors did a phenomenal job of teaching me some of the important things that will allow me to make a positive difference in the education of my students (lesson planning, differentiating pacing, curriculum review, etc.) It was also great at UWRF because the class sizes were relatively small, so I was able to get more one-on-one attention and the feel of a more personal education." - Bryan Kinkel (Spring 2009 Graduate)

"The Mathematics Education program at UWRF instilled in me what is to be a flexible teacher that focuses on the needs of the students; how to adapt to best support students in and out of the classroom; and how to build strong relationships that positively impact students. The program equipped me with the tools and knowledge to plan rich activities that engage students through hands-on and problem-solving based learning. My experience at UWRF allowed me to step up to the challenges that all teachers faced during the 2020-2021 school year." - Emily Ness (Fall 2020 Graduate)

"I loved the Mathematics Education program at UWRF. The professors were wonderful; they all knew me by name. I felt challenged while going through the program and very prepared leaving it. I would recommend this program to anyone aspiring to be a great mathematics teacher!" - Laura Breidenstein (Fall 2015 Graduate.

"The Math Education program at UWRF provides high quality learning opportunities for all of its students. Erick and Mary have such a wealth of knowledge and work hard to help all of their students learn the best practices for teaching math. The content knowledge and classroom experiences I gained on campus and during my school placements truly shaped me into the math teacher I am today. I am very grateful that I chose to attend college at UW-River Falls." - Emily Amundson (Spring 2020 Graduate)

"The Mathematics Education Program at UWRF has prepared me for my career in many ways, teaching both in person and virtually, using tools and multiple platforms to keep students engaged an excited to learn about math. The math block. along with the math grant, made my first year of teaching an easier transition than I expected. I was provided with a large network of professionals to reach out to if I ever have any questions or am in need of new material." - Emily Stark (Spring 2018 Graduate)

"I am so grateful for the opportunities I received through the Math Education program at UW-River Falls. Some of the priceless experiences included networking with area teachers, presenting at various conferences, and gaining a wealth of knowledge from so many wise and experienced professionals in the field of math education. All these opportunities and more have shaped who I am as a math teacher, provided me with so many professional contacts and resources, and I would truly not be where I am today without having been a part of the UWRF Math Education Program." - Chelsea Richmond (Fall 2016 Graduate)

"The mathematics education program at UWRF is excellent. I felt very well supported with a variety of superior instructors through my pure math courses. The math education block introduced me to so many strategies, tools, and gave me a strong mental framework for math education. Dr. Hofacker has continued to be an excellent support for me as I have continued into the teaching work force." - Shawn Breidenstein (Fall 2015 Graduate)

"The Mathematics Education program at UWRF has provided me with the tools necessary to make my starting years teaching a success. I was challenged over the years to think about mathetmatics form a new lens (collaboration, selecting/sequencing work, math practice standards, mathematical tasks, etc.), rather than the lecture style of learning. The professors truly care about your success and provide you with opportunities both inside and out of the UWRF classroom. I couldn't ahve asked for a better program to prepare me for today!" - Austin Wilcox (Fall 2018 Graduate)

Contact Us


Department of Mathematics
Laurel Langford, Department Chair
207 North Hall
410 S. 3rd Street, River Falls, WI 54022-5001


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