Georgia Southern education professors awarded nearly $400K from National Science Foundation for collaborative initiative to improve math problem solving through innovation

SAVANNAH, Ga., August 15, 2023 — Almost 30% of adults in the U.S. lack basic numeracy skills, meaning they don’t understand simple processes like counting, arithmetic and calculating percentages.
Two professors from Georgia Southern University’s College of Education (COE) are part of a collaborative effort, funded by a $3 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, aimed at improving that number for upcoming generations.
Sam Rhodes, Ph.D., assistant professor of elementary mathematics education, and Antonio Gutierrez de Blume, Ph.D., professor in curriculum, foundations and reading, were awarded almost $400,000 of the overall sum.

In collaboration with researchers from the University of Minnesota and the University of Pennsylvania and CueThink, an online application focused on improving math problem-solving and collaboration skills, they will help middle school students better understand numerical and mathematical concepts.

“The grant is important to me because I am passionate about helping students improve their abilities to engage in mathematical problem solving,” said Rhodes. “Collaborating with peers to tackle challenging problems is one of the most exciting parts of learning and doing mathematics. I want to work to bring these experiences to all students in ways that are engaging and that effectively support their learning of mathematics.”

The four-year grant is part of NSF’s Discovery Research preK-12 program.

Georgia Southern’s COE offers students multiple program opportunities, including undergraduate and more than 30 graduate program options that span campus locations in Savannah, Statesboro and Hinesville, and online. Programs offered by the COE prepare future teachers, school psychologists, counselors, school library media specialists, instructional technologists, researchers and leaders through intensive field experiences, cutting-edge technology and research-based instruction.

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/R2 institution founded in 1906, offers approximately 140 different degree programs serving nearly 26,000 students through 10 colleges on three campuses in Statesboro, Savannah, Hinesville and online instruction. A leader in higher education in southeast Georgia, the University provides a diverse student population with expert faculty, world-class scholarship and hands-on learning opportunities. Georgia Southern creates lifelong learners who serve as responsible scholars, leaders and stewards in their communities. Visit