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Dreams: Strengthening Math And Science For Native American Students With Disabilities

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.207.1 - 4.207.6

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Paper Authors

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John Hoover

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Arnold F. Johnson

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

Session 1380

DREAMS: Strengthening Math and Science for Native American Students with Disabilities

Arnold F. Johnson, John H. Hoover University of North Dakota


The Disability Research Encompassing American Indians in Mathematics and Science (DREAMS) project was designed to facilitate the entry of Native American students with disabilities into science and technical careers. Students, their teachers, and family members attend two summer institutes annually where university faculty and a core planning team design and implement hands-on, integrated science and mathematics experiences. Teachers and school officials offer technical assistance in four domains: (1) culturally-sensitive teaching, (2) systems change in mathematics and science instruction, (3) career development in technical areas, and (4) disability adaptations in science and math instruction. Evaluation data and the experience of the authors over the first four years of the project are described.

Introduction: What is Dreams?

DREAMS (Disability Research Encompassing American Indians in Mathematics and Science) is an experimental program serving 30 Native American students with disabilities by teaching mathematics and science through classroom-based and other activities. The program, focusing on elementary students 8 to 14 years old, is supported by a multi-year National Science Foundation grant. Students are introduced to science and math activities during the two, one-week summer institutes held each year since 1995. During the summer institutes, DREAMS educators, tribal elders (culture teachers), university faculty members, mentors, and role models design and deliver hands-on science activities to participating students. Teachers who will work with the students during the subsequent school year receive in-service training during the sessions. Those participating in the DREAMS program come to realize that many of the students have the potential to succeed in technical careers such as engineering.

Members of a core team (funded via the project) also provide technical assistance in the schools during the year. In addition, these individuals are responsible for advocating systems change in science and mathematics instruction. Based on emerging views of pedagogy in these areas, program representatives advocate hands-on, experiential-based, integrated activities in science and mathematics. In addition, a concept-heavy approach is emphasized in contrast with the traditional read-test, facts-based approach.

Teachers draw from their own area of expertise and then add adaptives and introduce Native American culture. Goals of the DREAMS program are as follows: 1) to increase professional, parent, and student awareness of the options available to Native Americans with disabilities in the mathematics and science fields; 2) to enhance curriculum, hands-on experiences, and counseling options for participants; 3) to increase team building and liaisons among the university , schools,

Hoover, J., & Johnson, A. F. (1999, June), Dreams: Strengthening Math And Science For Native American Students With Disabilities Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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