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About Heather L. Johnson

My program of research focuses primarily on middle and high school students’ reasoning about quantities that change together (covariational reasoning). Important, covariational reasoning is an overarching form of reasoning, playing a role in students’ reasoning related to key mathematical concepts, including the difficult to learn, gatekeeping concepts of ratio, function, and rate.
The following research questions have guided my investigation: (1) How do secondary students form and interpret relationships between change in quantities when interacting with mathematical tasks involving multiple representations of quantities that change together? (2) How could mathematical tasks be designed to promote students’ forming and interpreting relationships between quantities that change together?


Present Associate Professor of Mathematics Education, School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver

Curriculum Vitae

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Honors and Awards

  • February 2015 | Faculty Award: Excellence in Teaching (SEHD, University of Colorado Denver)
  • April 2014 | Linking Research and Practice Outstanding Publication Award – Mathematics Teacher (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics)
  • April 2014 | Faculty Award: Excellence in Research and Creative Activities (SEHD, University of Colorado Denver)
  • March 2003 | Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching (National Science Foundation)


  • Teaching Elementary Mathematics I
  • Teaching Elementary Mathematics II
  • Teaching Secondary Mathematics I
  • Topics in Mathematics Education
  • Critique of Mathematics Education Research
  • Curriculum and Methods in Secondary Mathematics
  • Mathematics for Elementary Teachers
  • Assessment and Equity in Secondary Mathematics
  • Expanding Conceptions of Algebra: Algebraic Reasoning Underlying K-12 Common Core Standards
  • A World of (Different) Numbers: Quantities & Operations Underlying K-12 Common Core Standards
  • Geometrical Ways of Reasoning Underlying K-12 Common Core Standards


2010 PhD, The Pennsylvania State University ‐ Curriculum & Instruction: Mathematics Education
1997 M.Ed., The Pennsylvania State University ‐ Teaching & Curriculum
1992 B.S., The Pennsylvania State University ‐ Mathematics

Contact Information

University of Colorado Denver
School of Education and Human Development
P.O. BOX 173364
Campus Box 106
Denver, CO 80217-3364


Peer Reviewed Journal Articles (14)

Peer Reviewed Conference Proceedings (8)

Peer Reviewed Book Chapters (26)