Postdoctoral Scholars

Michelle Hurst

Postdoctoral Fellow

I’m interested in how children and adults reason about mathematical relations, including proportions, ratios, and numerical comparisons (e.g., “bigger”, “more”, “after”). In this work, I ask research questions such as: How do children develop relational reasoning skills? What impacts whether children will notice different quantitative relations? How do children think about multiple relations simultaneously, such as 5 being both bigger than 4 and coming after 4? Most of my work has been focused on questions about basic cognitive and developmental science, with the goal of contributing to a deeper theoretical understanding of how the human mind reasons about mathematical and quantitative relations. As part of Susan Levine’s lab and the Development and Research in Early Math Education Network, I am also involved in several projects focused on developing, testing, and disseminating resources for parents and teachers to support their children’s engagement in high quality math activities for encouraging mathematical thinking.

Yu Zhang

Postdoctoral Scholar

My research focuses on cultural perspectives of children’s everyday math learning. Mathematics is embedded in almost all aspects of our everyday life. Children build their mathematical foundations through daily interactions with other and activities that are available and relevant in their community. I am interested in employing a strength-based approach to investigate parent-child interactions in math learning. For example, how do parents from various sociocultural backgrounds use relational language in everyday activities to support their children’s math and spatial learning? How are families’ beliefs and values about math learning conveyed through parent-child interactions?

Ariadne Nelson

Postdoctoral Scholar

I am interested in developing a nuanced understanding of how young children and their caregivers participate in everyday learning activities and how they construct shared understandings through their talk. My research has focused on how families engage in number talk during play and cooking. Using qualitative and quantitative approaches to analyzing human interaction, I am working to uncover how families engage in math conversations. Guided by my work developing resources to promote family math engagement, I also examine the impact of learning tips on family interaction.