This research and development project provides resources for ninth-grade mathematics students and teachers by developing, piloting, and field-testing intervention modules designed as supplementary materials for Algebra 1 classes (e.g., double-period algebra). Rather than developing isolated skills and reviewing particular topics, these materials aim to foster the development of mathematical habits of mind—in particular, the algebraic habit of abstracting from calculations, a key unifying idea in the transition from arithmetic to algebra.
Transition to Algebra, A Habits of Mind Approach, is aimed at very quickly giving students the mathematical knowledge, skill, and confidence to succeed in algebra, and showing them that they can be good at things they believed they couldn't do. The students were all smart and intrepid when they were six. Even now, they are better and more persevering than we are about figuring out their smartphones and video games. Transition to Algebra aims to tap that smart, intrepid, persevering spirit of puzzling things out and making sense of them by presenting mathematics based in common sense, not arbitrary rules.
This project is developing a collection of modules introducing key ideas of algebra in ways that complement the core curriculum when a school is offering double period algebra. The key habit of mind being developed is abstracting from calculation. Modules deal with the transition from arithmetic to algebra, rational numbers, expressions/equations/word problems, graphs and equations, geometry of algebra, and proportional reasoning. The target population is students in urban high poverty schools with a significant ELL sector.
Our hypothesis is that instructional materials focused on developing conceptual understanding and mathematical habits of mind can complement traditional skill-focused algebra instruction in ways that are engaging to students. Furthermore, they argue that using materials with such meta-cognitive aims will actually strengthen the learning of core algebraic concepts and skills.
The supplementary algebra modules are being developed by a form of design research. Concurrent with development and field test of the student and teacher materials, the investigators are addressing four research questions. The first two questions are focused on the effects of the intervention in developing student habits of mind and in improving their competence and confidence in algebra. The other two address the feasibility of implementing the new approach to double-period algebra in a variety of school settings. A small-scale quasi-experimental field test is being used to give preliminary estimates of the effectiveness of the instructional materials and the implementation guidelines. The core purpose of these research activities is to inform development and refinement of the student and teacher instructional materials.
Products of this development effort will be a valuable resource to schools as they devise strategies for helping all students master the essentials of elementary algebra.
EDC is developing a high school capstone course in linear algebra. Student resources contain a core semester that develops two- and three-dimensional geometry using vectors and that treats matrix algebra and its applications to geometry; a semester of material that completes a typical undergraduate course (exploring bases, determinants and eigentheory); and 5 stand-alone modules that develop applications of this core to mathematics, engineering, science, and other STEM fields.
Supporting Staff Developers in the Implementation of Professional Development Programs to Improve Mathematics Education for Students with Disabilities
This project is (1) conducting a qualitative study on the way facilitators use Math for All (MFA), an NSF-supported set of professional development materials for teachers who teach elementary school students with disabilities; (2) developing resources based on that study for teacher leaders and other facilitators of professional development; and (3) conducting fieldtests of the resources to examine their usefulness and impact.
An Examination of the Impact of Teachers' Domain as a Professional Development Tool on Teacher Knowledge and Student Achievement in Biology
Using an experimental design, this project examines the effects of online professional development courses on high school biology teachers' content and pedagogical knowledge, and on their students' knowledge. The project is testing the impact of using digital resouces and is using hierarchal linear modeling techniques to analyze data. It will contribute to the knowledge base of what impacts student achievement by testing the efficacy of online professional development for science teachers.
The goal of this project is to investigate what teachers learn from an online professional development course, and whether teacher learning impacts student learning. High school biology teachers were randomly assigned to take an online course designed to enhance the teaching of genetics and evolution. in the course, participants explore the “big ideas” of the hard-to-teach topics of genetics and evolution through an exploration of online media resources and reflection on a range of teaching strategies. The course was created by WGBH Teachers’ Domain, an online library of free media resources from public television with funding from NSF and is administered by PBS TeacherLine.
Center for High Energy Physics Research and Education Outreach (CHEPREO): An Inter-regional Grid Enabled Center for High Energy Physics at FIU
In its first five years, this project established a durable and vibrant learning community of high school teachers, high school students, university students, scientists, faculty, and associated stake-holders that continues to attract science and math students, using the project’s cutting-edge science and advanced cyberinfrastructure as compelling elements of study. This project continues by providing an education and research partnership derived from basic research in particle physics, grid computing, and advanced networking.
This project is developing and implementing a rigorous eighth grade physical science program that utilizes engineering design, LEGO™ robotics and mechanics, and a problem-based learning approach to teach mechanics, waves, and energy.
SLIDER is a 5 year $3.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Discovery Research K-12 (DR-K12) program. During the grant period (10/1/09 -9/30/14), the SLIDER program will seek to answer the question: "What effects do robotics, engineering design, and problem-based inquiry science have on student learning and academic engagement in 8th grade physical science classes?"
Georgia Tech faculty and staff from a number of academic units (CEISMC, CETL, Math, Psychology, Biomedical Engineering & Computing) and a national-level advisory board.
Teachers, principals and school system administrators representing Fulton County Schools, Cobb County Schools and Emanuel County Schools and the Georgia Department of Education.
Richard Millman PI
Marion Usselman Co - PI
Donna Llewellyn Co-PI for Research
- Design and implement a problem-based robotics curriculum as a context for 8th graders to learn physics and reasoning skills, and as a way to increase student engagement, motivation, aptitude, creativity and STEM interest.
- Conduct research to determine the effectiveness of the program across all curriculum development parameters.
- Determine how students engage the material across ethnic, socio- cultural, gender and geographic (rural, urban, and suburban) lines.
- Measure the “staying power” of the experience as students move from middle to high school.
Using “backwards design” strategies, the SLIDER curriculum development team at CEISMC will create inquiry-based engineering design instructional materials for 8th grade Physical Science that use robotics as the learning tool and that are aligned with the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS). The materials will employ problem-based challenges that require students to design, program, investigate, and reflect, and then revise their product or solution. They will consist of three 4-6 week modules that cover the physics concepts of Mechanics (force, motion, simple machines), Waves (light, sound, magnetism, electricity, heat), and Energy. CEISMC will also design the teacher professional development necessary for effective implementation of the curriculum.
Mathematics Attainment and African-American Students: Discourse from Multiple Perspectives (Collaborative Research: Stinson)
This project convenes two professional mini-conferences and one professional summit to address issues related to the mathematical education of African American students. Research suggests that there is a negative relationship between African American students and mathematics. This relationship is exacerbated by the underrepresentation of African American students in advanced mathematics classes, even when they are the majority of school populations, and the overrepresentation of African American students in lower-track mathematics courses and special education.
This project uses Antarctic pack-ice penguins to hook students into exploring how science investigates changes in Earths biota and climate. The project builds on a pilot effort, called Penguin Science, and will develop PowerPoint presentations, short video \"webisodes,\" background reading material, and live and interactive website components to engage students in ongoing field research. Students, K-14, will be involved in climate-change research that will include ecology, sedimentology, paleontology, glaciology and oceanography.
Investigating the Effect of Professional Development, Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching, and Instruction on Student Outcomes
This project aims to shed light on twin problems facing efforts to improve teacher quality in mathematics. The first problem is theoretical: What mathematical knowledge do teachers need to effectively instruct children? Does teacher basic, advanced, or profession-specific knowledge (e.g., mathematical knowledge for teaching) matter most to student outcomes? The second problem is more practical: Can a particular professional development program, Math Solutions, improve teachers’ mathematical knowledge for teaching, their instruction, and student outcomes?
This project collects evidence supporting the validity of test instruments and initial characterization of high school teachers' background and use of materials and pedagogies. The project is constructing and validating multiple forms of test instruments that can be used for the evaluation of interventions (e.g. professional development, implementation of new curricula) and the measurement of aspects of teacher knowledge (e.g. subject matter, knowledge of student misconceptions).