June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
11.1044.1 - 11.1044.13
Project Pathways: Connecting Engineering Design to High School Science and Mathematics in a Mathematics Science Partnership Program
An NSF Math Science Partnership, Project Pathways: Opening Routes to Math & Science Success for All Students, is targeting mathematics and science learning and achievement in grades 9-12 by connecting mathematics with context-rich content and processes in science and engineering. The project will produce a research-based and tested model to support secondary mathematics and science teachers in four partner school districts which have demographics mirroring those of Arizona with 45% minority students. Mathematics, science, engineering and education faculty are teaming with community college master teachers to produce modules for four courses. The courses promote conceptual competence in core content subjects and problem solving process behaviors in scientific inquiry, mathematical problem solving, and engineering design. The unifying concept of understanding and using mathematical function and covariation is applied throughout the courses. Professional learning communities enhance teacher communication and develop shared knowledge that facilitates use of new content and teaching strategies in their own classrooms. The unifying concept, developed in the first pilot Functions and Modeling course, is being integrated into science and engineering topics in the following three courses. An example is its use in the Universal Gas Law for design in the Hot Air Balloon Project. Teacher change in the pilot course showed improved understanding of the function and covariation concept which will facilitate modeling later in engineering design. Language and notational barriers between the mathematics and science teachers were reduced which will facilitate team-based projects in engineering design. Mathematics teachers found science contexts facilitates modeling physical relationships in science and design. Science teachers awareness of mathematics in their own courses increased which will facilitate modeling in engineering design. Additional detail and results are described in the paper.
There is a need to improve performance in mathematics and science of high school students in Arizona because fewer than 25% of Arizona students score “proficient” or higher on the National Assessment of Educational Progress test1. Additionally, 43% of Arizona’s Hispanic students, more than 30% of blacks, and 48% of Native Americans fail to earn high school diplomas2. Minority students who do graduate often cannot meet university admissions requirements because they lack four years of mathematics3. Better teachers would help, but preparing them is difficult because, like elsewhere, most Arizona teachers receive limited professional development (PD) support. A recent report concluded that the state’s secondary mathematics and science teachers spend an average two days per year in PD activities that focus on deepening knowledge of math and science or improving their methods for teaching those subjects4.
To address the issues of teacher preparation and underperforming students, NSF has funded a five-year Math Science Partnership program at Arizona State University entitled, Project Pathways: Opening Routes to Math & Science Success for All Students. It is based on an in-
Krause, S., & Burrows, V., & Pizziconi, V., & Culbertson, R., & Carlson, M. (2006, June), Project Pathways: Connecting Engineering Design To High School Science And Mathematics In A Mathematics Science Partnership Program Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--669
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