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How Do Secondary Science Texts Cover Mathematics And Engineering Principles And Design?

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.543.1 - 6.543.9

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Mohammed Fadali

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Michael Robinson

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

Session 2432

How Do Secondary Science Texts Cover Mathematics and Engineering Principles and Design?1

Mike Robinson, M. Sami Fadali Curriculum & Instruction/Electrical Engineering University of Nevada Reno, NV 89557


Textbooks are the primary source of information for secondary teachers and students in learning science. We examined 13 new edition middle school and high school textbooks in earth science, life science, physical science, biology, chemistry and physics to determine how they addressed the following three research questions: 1. Do the science textbooks use science conceptual knowledge and mathematical applications to make applications and connections to society? 2. Do the science textbooks use the science and/or mathematical knowledge in technological applications? 3. Are any applications of engineering principles and design included in the laboratory activities and the problems and questions within and at the end of the chapters? Six older edition science textbooks were compared to the newer textbooks for length and use of mathematics. The results indicate that the newer texts do a good job in addressing questions one and two but fall short on question three. Furthermore, even though the older science textbooks are generally much shorter, they contain more applications and problems in mathematics.

I. Introduction

The overall goal of the recently developed National Science Education Standards (NSES)1 and Principles and Standards or School Mathematics 2 (PSSM) is to promote scientific and mathematical literacy, in all of our citizens. The standards include engineering and technology as important components of scientific and mathematical literacy. We examined the NSES in an earlier paper3 , and identified three major obstacles to their implementation, particularly regarding engineering and technology content: 1- Inadequate teacher preparation. 2- Discrepancies between state and national standards. 3- Inadequate grades 7-12 science and mathematics texts.

We have developed a course for high school teachers that demonstrates how the first obstacle can be overcome 4 . We have attempted to influence the state standards in Nevada so as to include more engineering and technology. This paper examines the third obstacle and suggests means of overcoming it. The paper addresses the application of science conceptual knowledge and

1 This work was supported in part by NSF DUE grant number 9752186.

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Fadali, M., & Robinson, M. (2001, June), How Do Secondary Science Texts Cover Mathematics And Engineering Principles And Design? Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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