Nicora Placa

Picture of Nicora Placa

Assistant Professor

Nicora Placa is an assistant professor at Hunter College. Previously, she taught elementary and middle school mathematics in New York City and conducts professional development for teachers both nationally and internationally.

Her current research is focused on exploring teacher learning, particularly urban K-8 mathematics teachers and teacher leaders. She is a co-PI on an NSF study titled “Taking a Deep Dive: Investigating PD impact on what teachers take up and use in their classroom.” She is also the author of a book on collaborative coaching that describes how school culture can be transformed through mathematics coaching practices that is scheduled to be released by Stenhouse in 2020.

  • Ph.D., Mathematics Education, September 2017, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development New York University, New York, NY.
  • Master of Science in Education, May 2005 Mercy College, New Teacher Residency Program, Dobbs Ferry, NY New York City Teaching Fellow.
  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Bachelor of Arts in Communication, May 2000 University of Pennsylvania, College of Arts and Sciences, Philadelphia, PA.

CEDC 705: Mathematics Curriculum and Methods

QSTA 406: Mathematics Teaching and Learning in Elementary School

CEDC 739: Advanced Methods in Elementary School: Mathematics, Science, Social Studies

EDUC 803: Research on Effective Practice and Curriculum in Math

CEDC 772/773/774/775: Supervised Student Teaching and Seminar


My research focuses on how to foster the development of students’ mathematical practices in early grades. I am especially interested in how young students develop the ability to justify their mathematical reasoning and the role it plays in their conceptual understanding. In addition, my work explores teacher learning, particularly urban K-12 teachers of mathematics (pre-service and in-service) and teacher leaders.


Simon, M. A., Placa, N., Avitzur, A., & Kara, M. (2018). Promoting a Concept of Fraction-As-Measure: A Study of Learning Through Activity. Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 52, 122-133.

Simon, M. A., Placa, N., Kara, M., & Avitzur, A. (2018). Empirically-based hypothetical learning trajectories for fraction concepts: Products of the Learning Through Activity research program. Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 52, 188-200.

Kara, M., Simon, M. A., & Placa, N. (2018). An empirically-based trajectory for fostering abstraction of equivalent fraction concepts: A study of Learning Through Activity Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 52, 134-150.

Simon, M. A., Kara, M., Placa, N., (2018). Promoting reinvention of a multiplication of fractions algorithm: A study of the Learning Through Activity Research Program. Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 52, 174-187.

Simon, M. A., Kara, M., Placa, N., & Avitzur, A. (2018). Towards an integrated theory of mathematics conceptual learning and instructional design: The Learning Through Activity theoretical framework. Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 52, 95-112.

Simon, M. A., Kara, M., Norton, A., & Placa, N. (2018). Fostering construction of a meaning for multiplication that subsumes whole-number and fraction multiplication: A study of the Learning Through Activity Research Program. Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 52, 151-173.

Simon, M.A., Placa, N. & Avitzur, A. (2016). Participatory and Anticipatory Stages of Mathematical Concept Learning: Further Empirical and Theoretical Development. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 47(1), 63-93.

Simon, M. A., Kara, M., Placa, N., & Sandir, H. (2016). Categorizing and promoting reversibility of mathematical concepts. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 93(2), 137-153.

Placa, N. & Simon, M.A. (2012). Demonstrating The Usefulness Of The Participatory-Anticipatory Distinction. Proceedings of the Thirty-Fourth Annual Conference of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education(pp. 1156-1162). Kalamazoo, MI: Western Michigan University.

Simon, M. A., & Placa, N. (2012). Reasoning about intensive quantities in whole-number multiplication: A possible basis for ratio understanding. For the Learning of Mathematics, 32(2), 35-41.