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An Integrative Approach To Teach Middle School Mathematics And Science

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Pre-College Initiatives in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.210.1 - 8.210.6



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Paper Authors

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Lang Wah Lee

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Tamer Ceylan

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2253


Lang Wah Lee, Tamer Ceylan

University of Wisconsin-Platteville


To cope with the rapid advancement in science and technology and the challenge of economic globalization, our country must have a good supply of competent engineers and scientists. However, most students from our nation’s schools are not sufficiently prepared for science and mathematics subjects. As a result, many of them are not qualified to enter engineering programs. Among those who are admitted, the dropout rate is high. To search for the root of the problem, one can look at the recently released results from the Third International Mathematics and Science Study-Repeat1 . That report showed that the U.S. 8th grade mathematics and science scores were below the international average. Even more alarming is the fact that those scores declined from 4th to 8 th grade

This disappointing picture shows that a major effort must be made to implement national and state standards.2, 3, 4 In a recent report entitled “Before It Is Too Late,”5 the National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21 st Century warned that time is running out for action and stated that the most urgent need is to upgrade the quality, skills, and knowledge of mathematics and science teachers. It further stated “...summer institute must be established to address the professional needs identified.” In 2001, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act set new goals in the No Child Left Behind Act.

We believe that one key element in addressing the problem would be to improve middle school mathematics and science education, in particular the mathematics education. The reason is twofold. First, available statistics show that is the weakest link in American schools. Second, students' attitude towards mathematics is formed early in life and that attitude becomes fairly well established at the age of 10 to 14 during the middle school years. 6 If students lose interest in mathematics and science at this young age, it is very difficult to get them excited about these subjects in high school.

Effective teaching of mathematics and science requires that teachers possess an in-depth understanding of not only the subject content, but also connections of these two subjects with applications. However, most teachers' collegiate education experiences did not provide an adequate foundation to make these connections. An effective method to fill the need must be developed.

It is well known that science concepts are best understood in the context of practical problem solving. An exceptionally appropriate field of study to address this issue is engineering. Engineering and applied science topics would offer not only many interesting open-ended problems, Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright @ 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Lee, L. W., & Ceylan, T. (2003, June), An Integrative Approach To Teach Middle School Mathematics And Science Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11541

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