Samuel Otten, Ph.D.

Samuel Otten is an associate professor of mathematics education and the Lois Knowles Faculty Fellow at the University of Missouri. In 2019-2022 he served as the Associate Chair for Learning, Teaching, and Curriculum and since Spring 2022 he has been the Department Chair. Sam received his PhD in 2012 from Michigan State University where he worked primarily with Beth Herbel-Eisenmann. He also earned degrees in mathematics from Michigan State University and in mathematics and mathematics education from Grand Valley State University. He grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where his mother was a teacher and his father was a farmer.

Research Interests

Other Activities

Selected Publications:


Otten, S. (2011). Cornered by the real world: A defense of mathematics. Mathematics Teacher, 105, 20-25. [Subscription version, Free version]

Otten, S., & de Araujo, Z. (2015). Viral criticisms of Common Core mathematics. Teaching Children Mathematics, 21, 517-520. [Subscription version, Free version]

Otten, S., & Engledowl, C. (2015). Attending to precision and revisiting definitions. Mathematics in Michigan, 48(2), 10-13. [Free version]

Otten, S., & Otten, A. A. (2016). Selecting systems of linear equations. Mathematics Teacher, 110, 222-226. [Subscription version]

Otten, S., Bleiler-Baxter, S., Wambua, M. M., & Engledowl, C. (2020). Sharing authority in proof but not all at once. The Oregon Mathematics Teacher, (Nov/Dec), 26–31. [Free version]

Otten, S., & Wambua, M. M. (2022). The advantages of proof in algebra. The Colorado Mathematics Teacher, 54(1), article 2. [Free version]


Herbel-Eisenmann, B. A., & Otten, S. (2011). Mapping mathematics in classroom discourse. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 42, 451-485. [Subscription version]

Otten, S., Gilbertson, N. J., Males, L. M., & Clark, D. L. (2014). The mathematical nature of reasoning-and-proving opportunities in geometry textbooks. Mathematical Thinking and Learning, 16, 51-79. [Subscription version, Podcast interview]

Otten, S., Keazer, L., & Karaman, R. (2017). Teachers' talk about the mathematical practice of attending to precision. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education. doi: 10.1007/s10857-017-9375-1 [Free version]

Otten, S., de Araujo, Z., Sherman, M., & Birişçi, S. (2021). A framework for capturing structural variation in flipped mathematics instruction. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology. [Subscription version]

Otten, S., Wambua, M. M., & Govender, R. (2021). Who should learn proving and why: An examination of secondary mathematics teachers’ perspectives. International Electronic Journal of Mathematics Education, 16(3), em0662. [Free version]


Otten, S., & Thomas, L. (2020). Missing Letters: An Alphabet Book. Olympia Publishers. [Order from your local bookstore, Missing Letter worksheets for kids]

Koestler, C., Felton, M. D., Bieda, K. N., & Otten, S. (2013). Connecting the NCTM Process Standards and the CCSSM Practices. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. [Book, eBook]

Herbel-Eisenmann, B. A., Cirillo, M., Steele, M. D., Otten, S., & Johnson, K. J. (2017). Mathematics discourse in secondary classrooms: A case-based professional development curriculum. Sausalito, CA: Math Solutions. [Website]

See Sam's Amazon Author Page