Patrick W. Thompson


Pat with Beautiful Daughters

E-Mail: pat at

Professor, School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, Arizona State University

Professor of Mathematics Education, Vanderbilt University

Professor of Mathematical Sciences Emeritus, San Diego State University and Center for Research in Mathematics and Science Education

Ed. D. Mathematics Education, University of Georgia, 1982

M. Ed. Mathematics Education, University of Georgia, 1977

B. Sc. Mathematics, Central Washington State College, 1972


About Me

I grew up in a farming community (350 people) in southwestern Washington State, enjoying all the advantages of being young in the country. After finishing college in 1972 I joined the Peace Corps, eventually working with the African Mathematics Programme--and becoming interested in mathematics education. In graduate school I specialized in research on mathematical cognition and uses of technology in learning/teaching mathematics, and have continued these interests since.

Now I live in Nashville, TN with my two beautiful daughters (well, with one most of the time when she is not at soccer tournaments and the other when she is home from college). When not hunting I like to drive fast cars.


I've conducted research in a number of areas, but all within the overall framework of quantitative reasoning and representations of it.

Here is a list of major current and past research projects:

DIRACC: Developing and Investigating a Rigorous Approach to Conceptual Calculus (2015-2019; funded by NSF)

Aspire: Defining and Assessing Mathematical Meanings for Teaching secondary mathematics (2011-2019; funded by NSF and NIE)

TPC2: Teachers Promoting Change Collaboratively (2005-2010; funded by NSF)

Teaching and learning statistical and probabilistic reasoning (overview, project website; 1997-2002; funded by NSF).

Quantitative Reasoning as a Foundation for Algebraic Reasoning (1988-1994; funded by NSF)


One publication of note, aside from those at the above link, is a special issue of ZDM - Mathematics Education I co-edited with Guershon Harel. It culminated in an international Zoom event across two days in which over 250 people participated.

Selected Presentations

Dissertations and Theses


Since retiring I've taken up astrophotography. Click here to see a page where I archive photos. Click on a photo to see an explanation of it.

My grandchildren are now interested in astronomy, too. One question they puzzled about was why the moon has "different shapes". I created these animations to help them envision the moon in relation to the earth as they both orbit the sun.

Here is an exposition of how to calculate exposure times for one telescope to create the same exposure on a telescope with a different focal ratio.

I created this page (an adaptation of a page at to assist me and others in choosing targets from the Messier Catalog, a list of deep-sky objects created by Charles Messier in the mid to late 1700's.

List of journals carrying mathematics education articles

Courses that have been web based

MTED 2250, Methods of Teaching Elementary Mathematics (Spring, 1998)

MTED 2360/3360, Methods of Teaching Secondary Mathematics (Fall, 1999)

MTED 2800/3800 Computers, Teaching, and Mathematical Visualization (Fall, 2002/Fall 2004)

Extended Analysis of Functions 1

Extended Analysis of Functions 2

Advanced Methods of Teaching Secondary Mathematics:

Fall 2008 Spring 2009

Research in Undergraduate Mathematics Education (RUME):

RUME 1 Fall 2018    RUME 2 Spring 2019

Odds and Ends (on the fly pages for special purposes)

My dogs

My pups

Sailing in the Carribean (Granada)

Other Interesting Sites

Mixture Problems Discussion

Examining Cardiods

Photos from the Conference on Math Ed Ph.D's (Lake Ozark Resort)


The Math Forum

Manipula Math Java Applets

John Olive's Home Page

Jim Wilson's Home Page

Bruce Simmons' Home Page

Gary King's Statistics Homepage