About AMP 21

Applied Math Practices (AMP21) was co-founded by lifelong educators Kenneth Chelst, Ph.D, and Tom Edwards, Ph.D. Finding that many students had trouble relating math concepts to their real-world applications, Chelst and Edwards came together to combine their years of experience in the field and teaching to create a curriculum that better engages learners.

In AMP21, you’ll find that each problem stems from actual issues faced by governments, corporations, and everyday people, showing students firsthand how they can use mathematics to make better decisions and solve real-world problems!

Our Mission

  • Develop mathematics concepts within realistic decision contexts relevant to middle school or high school students.
  • Demonstrate that mathematics is a tool for exploring options and determining the preferred solution and not simply a process for getting the correct answer.
  • Design and disseminate mathematics curriculum that develops and reinforces the higher-order thinking and skills described in the Common Core Mathematical Practices, MP1-MP8.

Our Team

Ken Chelst, Ph.D.

Kenneth R. Chelst is a professor of operations research in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan where he has received more than a dozen teaching awards. He completed his Ph.D. in operations research at MIT in 1975. His original area of interest was the development and application of mathematical models to improve the performance of police, fire and emergency medical systems.  Dr. Chelst has also developed optimal location models that are routinely used by all automotive retailers to determine the optimal configuration of new car dealership networks in the US and Western Europe. Dr. Chelst is also the Director of the Engineering Management Master’s Program (EMMP) offered to the next generation of technical leaders of Ford. In 1999, he led a team at Ford Motor Company that was an Edelman Prize Finalist for “Rightsizing and Management of Prototype Vehicle Testing at Ford Motor Company.” The projected savings was in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Dr. Chelst’s current research interest is the application of decision and risk analysis to problems in engineering management. Dr. Chelst is a member of the INFORMS Roundtable and meets two times a year with executives from diverse companies including, IBM, Intel, Disney, Marriott, Mayo Clinic, Boeing, McDonald’s, Kroger, and Chevron. It is this breadth of  knowledge that has driven Dr. Chelst’s passion for placing the development of mathematical concepts in authentic real world contexts.

Thomas Edwards, Ph.D.

Thomas G. Edwards, Ph.D. taught secondary mathematics for 24 years in the Buffalo, NY Public Schools prior to completing a doctorate in mathematics education at the Ohio State University in 1994. Later that year, he came to the Wayne State University College of Education as an assistant professor, was tenured and promoted to the rank of associate professor in 2000, was promoted to the rank of professor in 2010, and retired and was granted emeritus status in 2019. Including his three years as a graduate teaching assistant and visiting assistant professor at Ohio State, he completed 52 years in public education. In his time teaching at Wayne State, he directed 132 master’s research projects, as well as 26 doctoral dissertations. His primary research interests are the use of technology to support students’ learning of mathematics, teaching mathematics in the context of authentic real world problems, and the means by which students learn mathematics. He has been PI or co-PI on over $5.8 million of external funding, and his 103 publications include 42 papers in peer-reviewed journals and 16 papers in peer-reviewed conference proceedings. Of the 42 peer-reviewed journal articles, 26 were published in NCTM practitioner journals (Mathematics Teacher, Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, Teaching Children Mathematics).
Dr. Edwards served as an administrator in the College of Education in interim roles from 2012 to 2018. During that time, he was Associate Dean for Research for 5 years.

Marianne Srock

Marianne Srock has been a mathematics educator for over forty years.  She received her Bachelor’s Degree from the College of Engineering at the University of Detroit and her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Wayne State University.  She has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Michigan, the Detroit College of Business, and Davenport University.  Her post graduate work includes many research grants in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina, as well as the Educational Partnership Fellowship Program through Michigan State University.  After a career as a high school math teacher for 20 years, she worked as an assistant principal, principal, and as a K-12 county math coordinator servicing over 350 schools.  Her passion for reform in mathematics instruction has resulted in her work with lesson creation and instructional planning on “real” math problems including CTE and STEM.  These “real” problems involve students making decisions and justifying those decisions around topics that engage the 21st Century learner.  She has worked as a math coach in urban and suburban Detroit, Charleston SC, and Philadelphia and has co-authored two math books designed to improve critical thinking skills.  Marianne is a member of the Detroit, Michigan, and National Councils of Teachers of Mathematics and she has served on the board of the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics.

Thad Wilhelm

Thad Wilhelm is a teacher and the head of the mathematics department at Seaholm High School in Birmingham, Michigan. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Albion College in Albion, Michigan in 1998 and a master’s degree in mathematics education from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan in 2007. Thad completed his Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction at Wayne State University in 2020, under the direction of Dr. Chelst and Dr. Edwards. He has been a classroom teacher for more than 25 years and an instructional leader at a National Blue Ribbon School since 2015. Thad was part of the first writing team that developed the NSF-funded high school operations research curricular materials, beginning in 2007. Since then he has remained engaged in writing, editing, and revising the instructional materials. He is also a frequent facilitator at professional development workshops where other high school mathematics teachers come together to learn how to implement a fourth-year high school mathematics course that shows students how mathematics is actually put to productive use in the world outside of school. Thad has been teaching operations research courses at Seaholm since 2013.

Deborah Ferry

Deborah Ferry holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Central Michigan University with a major in mathematics and a minor in art as well as a Masters of Arts in Teaching Mathematics degree from Oakland University. She worked as a mathematics teacher in grades 6-12 and at the university level for 40 years. During this time she also worked as a mathematics consultant and professional developer for an educational service agency serving grades PreK-12 and continues to work on a part-time semi-retired basis. Deborah has served as project director and principal investigator on several Mathematics and Science Partnership grants including Lessons Studied Lessons Learned (LSL2), Embracing Mathematics, Assessment and Technology in High Schools (EMATHS), and Improving Proportional Reasoning Instruction through eNgineering Tasks (IMPRINT). She also served as the principal investigator of EMATHS through Lesson Sketch Story Circles.  She uses her vast experiences as a mathematics instructor, mathematics consultant, professional developer, and presenter to share insights about teaching, learning, and assessment at the local, state, and national level. Deborah has presented at many local, state and national conferences including the Detroit Area Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the Michigan Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the US DOE MSP Annual Conferences, the Park City Mathematics Institute, and AMTE. Deborah has provided professional learning experiences for secondary mathematics teachers in an online environment.  Her primary interest is providing quality educational experiences for all students whatever their cultural backgrounds, personal interests, or talents using authentic problem contexts. Deborah has over 45 years of experience working with students, parents, teachers, and administrators.

Asli Koca

Asli Özgün-Koca is a professor of mathematics education in the College of Education at Wayne State University. She received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics education at Hacettepe University and her master’s degree in mathematics at Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. Her doctoral degree on mathematics education is from the Ohio State University.  She teaches secondary methods course for preservice secondary mathematics teachers, mathematics courses for the undergraduate students, and graduate courses in mathematics education. Her research interests are in the use of technology to enhance middle school and high school mathematics education and mathematics teacher education. She served as the Association of Mathematics Teachers Educators’ Technology and Mathematics Teacher Education Committee chair between 2014 and 2016. Currently, she is serving as the president of Michigan Association of Mathematics Teachers Educators (MI-AMTE).