Rita Barger

Rita  Barger
Associate Professor Emerita
Education, Social Work and Psychological Sciences

Contact Info
311 Education


How I Help Students

Dr. Barger is the Interim Co-Chair for Graduate Programs in the Division of Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies. She is an academic advisor in for mathematics education, the Master of Arts in Teaching, and the Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction-General Emphasis. Her teaching duties include TE 130 – Number Systems and EDCI 5511 – Multidisciplinary Problem Solving.


Rita Barger taught middle school and high school mathematics, as well as gifted students in the Hickman Mills School District before coming to UMKC as a professor in mathematics education. She earned her PhD from the university of Missouri-Columbia where she played drums in Marching Mizzou. She earned a B.S. in Education with a dual major of mathematics and instrumental music. She has an M.A. in Mathematics, and an M.S. in Gifted Education. She was a state finalist for the Teacher in Space Program – the one that ended with the Challenger disaster in 1986, has been recognized as the Outstanding Post-Secondary Mathematics Teacher in the State of Missouri, and has been recognized with the Kansas City Spirit Award.

Research Areas

The affective side of teaching mathematics, including: recreational mathematics, attitudes and beliefs about mathematics, and problem solving.


Ph.D., Curriculum and Instruction, Mathematics Education Specialization, University of Missouri-Columbia.
M.S., Education (Gifted Education), Drury College (Springfield, MO)
M.A., Mathematics, University of Missouri-Columbia.
B.S., Education (Mathematics and Music), cum laude, University of Missouri-Columbia

Advising Interests

She has expertise in education, mathematics education, gifted education, music education. She works with students at all levels, freshmen, undergraduates, master’s candidates, and doctoral students.



Barger, R. (1998). Math for the gifted child. Jefferson City, MO: Gifted Association of Missouri.

Reys, B. J., Barger, R., et al. (1991). Developing number sense in the middle grades. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Book Chapters

Demiroz, Erdem and Barger, Rita. Course Redesign and Infusion of Educational Technology into College Algebra. In Lin & R. Atkinson (Eds.), Educational Technologies: Challenges, Applications and Learning Outcomes. Nova Science Publishers.

Reys, Barbara and Barger, Rita. Mental Computation: Issues from the United States Perspective. In Computational Alternatives for the Twenty-First Century: Cross-Cultural Perspectives from Japan and the United States, pp. 31-47. 1994. NCTM, Reston, VA. Ed. Reys, Robert and Nohda, N.


Demiroz, Erdem, and Barger, Rita. Impacts of the Math Emporium Delivery Model on Psychosocial Factors of Learning in College Algebra. Journal of Research in Mathematics Education. (Submitted)

Keown, Daniel J., Robinson, Charles R., & Barger, Rita. (2013). Student-Centered Technology Use Among Missouri K-12 Music Students within Music Classrooms, Missouri Journal of Research in Music Education, 50, 33-50.

Barger, Rita and Jarrah, Adeeb. (December 2012). Every Day Is Mathematical. Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, 18(5), 280-285.

McCoy, Ann, Barger, Rita, Barnett, Joann, & Combs, Emily. (May 2012). Functions and the Volume of Vases. Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, 17(9), 530-536.

Barger, Rita and McCoy, Ann. (February 2010). Calculus in the Middle School? It’s Already There. Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, 15(6), 348-353.

Barger, Rita. (October 2009). Gifted, Talented, and High Achieving. Teaching Children Mathematics, 16(3), 154-161.

Cooper, Brett and Barger, Rita. (September 2009). Listening to Geometry. Mathematics Teacher, 103(2), 108-115.

Barger, Rita and McCoy, Ann (February 2009). Sacred Cows Make the Best Hamburger. Mathematics Teacher, 102(6), 414-418.

Barger, Rita, (November 2008). Att använda tankenötter för att utveckla kritiskt tänkande [Using Brain Teasers to Develop Critical Thinking]. Nämnaren, 35(4), 20-24.

Barger, R. and Haehl, M. (April 2007). Guitars, Violins and Geometric Sequences. Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, 12(8), 462-466.

Barger, R. (2005). Using brain teasers to improve MAP scores. Confluence, 2(1), 5-8.

Barger, R. H. and Bryant, C. G. (February 2003). Calendar capers: A star is born. Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, 8(6), 317-323.

Barger, R. (January 2003). What’s up in mathematics education. Missouri Council of Teachers of Mathematics Bulletin, 29(1), 1-2.

Barger, R. (Fall 2002). Uppslaget: Vid smalls sommarkurs i Skellefteå presenterade Rita Barger, University of Missouri, en aktivitet för det viktiga arbetet med att utveckla god taluppfattning [From SMaL’s summer course in Skellefteå, presented by Rita Barger, University of Missouri, an activity for developing number sense in the middle grades]. Nämnaren, 29(3), 32-33.

Barger, R. (January 2002). Beliefs about mathematics, true or false. Missouri Council of Teachers of Mathematics Bulletin, 27(1), 1-2.

Barger, R. (Fall 2001) Gifted children need help, too. Nämnaren, 28(3), 18-23.

Horn, J., Zamierowski, A. & Barger, R. (November 2000). Correspondence from mathematicians. Mathematics Teacher, 93(8), 688-691.

Barger, R. (Unpublished Dissertation). The effects of instruction in recreational mathematics on attitudes and beliefs about mathematics of high school, low-achieving mathematics students. (1999).

Bock, M. A. and Barger, R. (May 1998). The popcorn book: A diagnostic teaching unit. Intervention, 33(5), 290-303.


Funded Grants

United States Department of Education (DOE). “Project EXCELL: Excellent Collaboration for English Language Learners.” Grant partnering with the North Kansas City (MO) Public Schools to develop and train 60 new certified ELL teachers in North Kansas City and to inform the Teacher Education Program at UMKC. I was asked to take over as PI of this five-year grant when Dr. Susan Adler retired. I was responsible for all the work of the last three years of the grant, plus one additional no-cost extension year. Approx. $1,500,000.

Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE). “(EMT)²: Empowering Elementary Missouri Mathematics Teacher Teams.” Grant to create a community of learners from KCMO elementary teachers. I was the PI and the co-author of the grant with one of my doctoral students, Ann McCoy. (EMT)² established a partnership between UMKC, the University of Central Missouri, and the Kansas City, Missouri, School District. $137,587.

Dean’s Small Grant, School of Education. “Mathematical Learning Styles.” Grant to validate an instrument to be used in mathematics education. I was the PI and only author of the grant. $750.

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. “AAAS/NSBA Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education Seminar Project.” Grant to develop resources in the areas of science, mathematics, and technology to be presented to and used by school boards across the nation. Originally submitted to the funding agent as a science grant only, the proposal was returned to AAAS with the recommendation that it be expanded to include mathematics and technology. The President of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics asked me to join the grant at this stage on the organization’s behalf. It was resubmitted in January 2007. I provided all plans and narrative relating to mathematics, and I served as the lead person on the mathematics portions of the grant. $738,851.

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. “Math = KCATM.” Grant to support the Kansas City Area Teachers of Mathematics’ work with mathematics teachers. $20,000. (2007-2009). Missouri Department of Higher Education. “Kansas City Geoscience and Mathematics Advancement Partnership (KC-GeoMAP).” I represented the School of Education and was responsible for all aspects of the grant that related to mathematics and to classroom implementation. The PI for this grant was Jimmy Adegoke; I was one of four co-PIs. Implementation of the grant occurred in 2006 and 2007. $113,567.

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Grant to support the Kansas City Area Teachers of Mathematics’ annual math contest. I was the PI. The final report was submitted in 2006. $5,000. Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Grant to support the Missouri Council of Teachers of Mathematics as it presented Missouri Mathematics Grade Level Expectations to area mathematics teachers. I was the PI. The final report was submitted in 2006. $4950.

Missouri Council of Teachers of Mathematics. This grant was a partnership between MCTM (the state organization) and the university. UMKC provided office space and partial salary for an executive secretary. The grant lasted three years, and I was liaison to the funding agencies and supervisor of the executive secretary. Total funding was $75,000. (2001-2003).

Metropolitan Council on Child Care. “Early Childhood Student Academic Support” pilot project. This grant provided tutoring support in writing and mathematics to pre-service teachers enrolled in UMKC’s Early Childhood Education Program. Sue Vartuli was the PI, and I was co-PI. The final report for this grant was submitted in 2002. $5,000.

NSF – Teacher Planning Grant – Math Initiative. “Increasing the Capacity at the Fort.” The grant worked with middle school teachers in the Fort Osage (MO) School District on professional development in mathematics education. I became a co-PI on this grant in August 1999, its last year of implementation, when I joined Vena Long and Cynthia Clawson. The final report for this grant was submitted in 2000. Amount of grant: $49,853.

University of Missouri – Mission Enhancement Grant. “Doctoral Program Collaboration in Mathematics Education.” I worked with Robert Reys in planning for the grant, which resulted in a yearly stipend of $12,000 to UMKC to recruit and support a new doctoral student in mathematics education. Total amount of grant: $58,000 paid in recurring funds. (1999, 2000).