Course

CAREER: Characterizing Critical Aspects of Mathematics Classroom Discourse

This research study expands on the characteristics of mathematical discourse and examines and specifies relationships between descriptive elements across multiple content foci in mathematics. The micro-genetic study is based on examination of video data from multiple routine classroom settings with teachers who demonstrate varying levels of discourse across three curricular topics in mathematics. The resulting framework and redesigned teacher education courses will provide models on which other teacher education programs might build.

Award Number: 
1649979
Funding Period: 
Mon, 07/30/2012 to Sun, 05/31/2020
Full Description: 

The research in mathematics discourse has examined important issues in the characterization of effective teaching ranging from teacher goal setting to supporting student thinking. Much of this research has focused on describing the elements of discourse that investigators have posited as contributing to teaching and learning. This research study systematically expands on the characteristics of mathematical discourse and examines and specifies relationships between these descriptive elements across multiple content foci in mathematics and across a range of teachers at the middle grade levels. The principal investigator is conducting a micro-genetic study based on examination of video data from multiple routine classroom settings with teachers who demonstrate varying levels of discourse across three curricular topics in mathematics. A review of the research literature on classroom discourse, with a focus in mathematics, supports the development of an analytic framework to characterize the discourse of both teachers and students in the classrooms. The discourse patterns from teachers at grades 5, 6 and 7 provide a comparison of the discourse across upper elementary and middle grade classrooms.

The use of the analytic framework supports the development of metrics that can reliably measure critical aspects of mathematical discourse. These metrics examine both the function of the discourse in the classroom and the mathematical intellectual work that the discourse supports. The researcher builds on the analytic framework and resulting metrics to redesign courses offered to pre-service and practicing teachers in the university teacher education program. The resulting framework and redesigned teacher education courses will provide models on which other teacher education programs might build. The redesign of the pre-service and in-service courses effectively integrates the research into education.

This project was previously funded under award # 1149313 and 1265677.

Energy: A Multidisciplinary Approach for Teachers (EMAT) Designing and Studying a Multidisciplinary, Online Course for High School Teachers

This project will iteratively design, develop, field test, refine, and rigorously study a six-unit, facilitated, online professional development (PD) course focusing on energy-related concepts in the context of alternative energy. The primary audience is high school science teachers teaching out of their field of endorsement and serving students underrepresented in the sciences. The project will investigate whether the PD will precipitate changes in teacher knowledge and practice that result in higher student achievement.

Award Number: 
1118643
Funding Period: 
Thu, 09/01/2011 to Thu, 08/31/2017
Project Evaluator: 
RMC Research Corporation
Full Description: 

The Energy: A Multidisciplinary Approach for Teachers (EMAT) project will iteratively design, develop, field test, refine, and rigorously study a seven-unit, facilitated, online professional development (PD) course focusing on energy-related concepts in the context of alternative energy. The primary audience is high school science teachers teaching out of their field of endorsement and serving students underrepresented in the sciences. The project will investigate whether the PD will precipitate changes in teacher knowledge and practice that result in higher student achievement. As a result, EMAT will improve the science achievement of underrepresented students and enhance their future participation in science. Biological Sciences Curriculum Study and partners Oregon Public Broadcasting, the National Teacher Enhancement Network, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, and RMC Research Corporation bring significant resources and are highly qualified to develop and research EMAT.

The EMAT project advances knowledge in the field of teacher professional development by merging two facets of PD that have hitherto been studied separately and testing hypotheses about the degree to which this pairing enhances learning and practice. These facets are structured constructivist experiences and experiences grounded in situated cognition learning theory. Teachers reflect on research-based teaching practices in the lesson analysis process through Science Content Storyline and Student Thinking lenses. EMAT tests longitudinal impacts on teachers' content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, and teaching practices and students' content knowledge, contributing much needed data for future PD projects. EMAT also studies which aspects of online environments are most effective for teachers. Data collected will inform full revisions of the course and will help address significant gaps in our understanding of online PD.

EMAT advances the field's understanding of which elements of online PD are effective and the extent to which high-quality online PD translates to improved student learning. Simultaneously, the project develops and tests a scalable, flexible resource to enhance teacher learning and practice. As a result, EMAT will have a broad impact by promoting research-based teaching and learning while advancing discovery and understanding. Furthermore, by targeting the recruitment of teacher participants from large urban districts with high numbers of teachers teaching out of field, EMAT impacts students traditionally underrepresented in the sciences. EMAT will not only contribute to the research on PD, but also will be available for use in diverse settings. A facilitation guide allows the course to be freely used by school districts and teacher education and certification programs across the country. In addition, the facilitated course will be offered for graduate credit through the National Teacher Enhancement Network and will be freely available to individuals for independent study. Results of all research and evaluation will be published in science education journals and practitioner journals for teachers, and presented to PD groups at conferences. EMAT will benefit society by impacting teacher and student understanding of energy-related concepts, thereby increasing the capacity of U.S. citizens to creatively address energy challenges from a foundation of scientifically sound knowledge.

CAREER: Noticing and Capitalizing on Important Mathematical Moments in Instruction

This project investigates the outcomes of a teacher education model designed to foster prospective mathematics teachers' abilities to notice and capitalize on important mathematical moments in instruction. The project engages prospective teachers in research-like analysis of unedited teacher-perspective classroom video early in their teacher education coursework in order to help them learn to identify, assess the mathematical potential of, and respond to important student ideas and insights that arise during instruction.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1052958
Funding Period: 
Fri, 04/15/2011 to Sat, 03/31/2012
Full Description: 

This CAREER awardee at Michigan Technological University is investigating the outcomes of a teacher education model designed to foster prospective mathematics teachers' abilities to notice and capitalize on important mathematical moments in instruction. The researcher engages prospective teachers in research-like analysis of unedited teacher-perspective classroom video early in their teacher education coursework in order to help them learn to identify, assess the mathematical potential of, and respond to important student ideas and insights that arise during instruction.

The research is based on a quasi-experimental design and involves three cohorts of prospective teachers. Practicing teachers from local schools collaborate with the research team. The data collected consists of classroom video. The video is coded and analyzed using Studiocode, which allows for real-time coding and for multiple users to code and annotate video segments.

The research findings are integrated into the institution's teacher education program and are also disseminated more broadly through publication and presentations at professional meetings.

Urban Ecology Course Materials Created with a Universal Design for Learning Framework

The Lynch School of Education and the Urban Ecology Institute at Boston College are partnering with the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) to develop, test, evaluate and disseminate a year-long set of urban ecology course materials for use in high school-level capstone science courses. The standards-based materials emphasize locally-relevant field studies and incorporate principles of Universal Design for Learning and Educative Curriculum.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1110524
Funding Period: 
Fri, 10/01/2010 to Fri, 09/30/2011
Full Description: 

The Lynch School of Education and the Urban Ecology Institute at Boston College are partnering with the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) to develop, test, evaluate and disseminate a year-long set of urban ecology course materials for use in high school-level capstone science courses. The standards-based materials emphasize locally-relevant field studies and incorporate principles of Universal Design for Learning and Educative Curriculum. Other features include (1) an on-line resource center that links to professional development resources, (2) a student-written urban environment newspaper called "Green Times," and (3) a writing support toolkit. Evaluation and research studies focus on measuring effectiveness of the materials in promoting content understanding, self-efficacy in science and inquiry abilities of students in urban high schools, particularly those from underrepresented groups.

(Note: This project was originally awarded to the Lead Organization, Boston University under the Award #0628143 and for the Funding Period: Sun, 10/01/2006 - Thu, 09/30/2010. Due to a change in institution by the PI of the project, a new award was issued: Award # 1110524)

Snow and Global Climate: An Online Course to Facilitate Scientist and Teacher Collaboration

Day: 
Thu

Investigations in Cyber-enabled Education presents an online course designed to facilitate collaboration between scientists and teachers. Participants will explore and provide feedback on course products. Please bring your laptop to participate. Participant limit: 20

Date/Time: 
8:30 am to 9:45 am
Session Type: 
Product Feedback Session
Presenters: 
Session Materials: 

This session will showcase and solicit feedback on a prototype online learning community designed to facilitate collaboration between teachers and scientists. A team of scientists and education researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute developed the learning community as part of the Investigations in Cyber-enabled Education (ICE) Program, a DR K–12 program. The unique learning community is the central component of an online course for secondary teachers.

Transition to College Mathematics and Statistics

This project will develop a mathematics course for the fourth year of high school. The new course is being designed for students who will enter post-secondary education and will major in programs not requiring Calculus. The new course includes mathematics from a problem-solving or applications perspective, and serves as a bridge to college mathematics and statistics. Unit topics include functions, modeling, algebraic strategies, binomial distributions, and information processing.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1020312
Funding Period: 
Wed, 09/01/2010 to Fri, 08/31/2012
Project Evaluator: 
Steven Ziebarth
Full Description: 

The Transitions to College Mathematics and Statistics project is developing a mathematics course for the fourth year of high school. The course builds on the NSF-supported Core-Plus Mathematics curriculum and provides an alternative to the Calculus course that is now in place. The new course is being designed for students who will enter post-secondary education and will major in programs not requiring Calculus. The new course includes mathematics from a problem-solving or applications perspective, and serves as a bridge to college mathematics and statistics. Unit topics include functions, modeling, algebraic strategies, binomial distributions, and information processing.

The project is creating both a print version and a digital version of the course. Students are taught to use software tools such as spreadsheets, data analysis tools, interactive geometry programs, and computer algebra systems. These tools are embedded in the curriculum and allow students to apply the mathematics they are learning in interesting and relevant problems. The lessons include hyperlinks that allow students to have immediate access to related text. The designers are exploring the incorporation of video, access to language translation software, and the use of public domain, learner-centered software tools. One goal of the course is to increase student access to needed tools and information and to promote flexibility in how the materials are used. The project will conduct field tests of the materials and will implement an extensive formative evaluation plan where staff will visit classrooms and interview students. The summative evaluation will be conducted by an evaluator at the University of Missouri, and will focus on student achievement as measured by ACT/SAT scores, GPA, placement data, and course-taking.

The Transitions to College Mathematics and Statistics course provides a mathematics course that prepares high school students to transition into college mathematics and statistics courses that are designed to support non-scientific fields. It provides a viable, interesting, and useful technology-based course in the fourth year of high school. The course will also provide an effective way to help schools meet the college and career readiness standards that states have adopted.

The Challenge of Interdisciplinary Education: Math-Bio

This project continues research and development work on high school instructional materials that integrate biology, computing, and mathematics. The project goal is to develop and test a one-semester high school course. The course consists of some modules developed under a previous NSF grant as well as some new material. Intended deliverables include up to five new instructional modules and a coherent one-semester course suitable for the increasing state requirements for a fourth year of mathematics.

Project Email: 
Award Number: 
1020166
Funding Period: 
Wed, 09/15/2010 to Sun, 08/31/2014
Project Evaluator: 
Len Albright at CSU
Full Description: 

Developers and researchers at Rutgers University, Boston University, Colorado State University, and the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications (COMAP) are continuing research and development work on high school instructional materials that integrate biology, computing, and mathematics. The project goal is to develop and test a one-semester high school course. The course consists of some modules developed under a previous NSF grant as well as some new material.

COMAP leads the effort to develop the instructional materials and the process involves mathematicians, biologists, computer scientists, teachers, and writers. The materials are pilot- and field-tested in a number of schools and revised after each test. Subject matter experts review the materials for accuracy and teachers and education professionals review them for their usability. Researchers at Colorado State University collect and analyze data on student learning and interest at all stages of the pilot- and field-testing.

The intended deliverables include up to five new instructional modules and a coherent one-semester course suitable for the increasing state requirements for a fourth year of mathematics. The course is supported by a book in print and electronic format and includes teacher training support tools and activities to prepare teachers to present interdisciplinary bio-mathematics material.

Project AIM: All Included in Mathematics

This project will adapt and study successful discourse strategies used during language arts instruction to help teachers promote mathematically-rich classroom discourse. Of special interest is the use of models to promote mathematics communication that includes English language learners (ELL) in mathematics discourse.The project will result in a full 40-hour professional development module to support mathematics discourse for Grade 2 teachers, with an emphasis on place value, multidigit addition and subtraction, and linear measurement.

Award Number: 
1020177
Funding Period: 
Sun, 08/01/2010 to Fri, 07/31/2015
Project Evaluator: 
Judy Storeygard, TERC
Full Description: 

Developers and researchers at North Carolina State University and Horizon Research, Inc. are adapting and studying successful discourse strategies used during language arts instruction to help teachers promote mathematically-rich classroom discourse. Of special interest to the project is the use of models to promote mathematics communication that includes English language learners (ELL) in mathematics discourse.

The project is conceived as a design experiment that includes successive instructional engineering cycles in which the R&D team designs professional learning tasks, implements the tasks with teachers, and revises the tasks and their sequencing to better support the desired learning outcomes. The members of the project team then examine the effects of the PD on teachers' instruction and the possibilities for scaling up the materials across PD facilitators, grade levels, and curriculum materials. The overarching research questions guiding the research and development effort proposed in this project are: How do generalist elementary teachers learn to promote high quality mathematics discourse that includes all students in their classrooms and engages those students in meaningful mathematics learning opportunities? How do we scale up an intervention designed to support elementary teacher learning of ways to promote high quality mathematics discourse in their classrooms?

The project will result in a full 40-hour professional development module to support mathematics discourse for Grade 2 teachers, with an emphasis on place value, multidigit addition and subtraction, and linear measurement. The main professional learning tasks of the program will have been piloted and studied in a series of sessions with mathematics coaches and teachers.

The Value of Computational Thinking Across Grade Levels

This project is developing and testing a set of 12 curriculum modules designed to engage high school students and their teachers in the process of applying computational concepts and methods to problem solving in a variety of scientific contexts. The project perspective is that computational thinking can be usefully thought of as a specialized form of mathematical modeling.

Project Email: 
Award Number: 
1020201
Funding Period: 
Thu, 07/01/2010 to Mon, 06/30/2014
Project Evaluator: 
Len Albright and Andrea Weinberg at CSU
Full Description: 

The Value of Computational Thinking (VCT) project combines the talents and resources of STEM professionals at the Rutgers University DIMACS Center, the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications (COMAP), Colorado State University, Hobart and William Smith College, the Computer Science Teachers Association, and five partner school districts to develop and test a set of 12 curriculum modules designed to engage high school students and their teachers in the process of applying computational concepts and methods to problem solving in a variety of scientific contexts. The project perspective is that computational thinking can be usefully thought of as a specialized form of mathematical modeling. The product of computational thinking in a particular domain is a model of a situation, a structuring and representation of the situation, that enables computations to be performed to answer questions, solve problems, control processes, predict consequences, or enhance understanding.

Since computational thinking is a relatively new construct in STEM and STEM education, there are few available curriculum materials to support instruction intended to develop the understanding, habits of mind, and specific techniques that are involved. The fundamental goal of the VCT project is to answer an engineering research question: "What kinds of instructional materials and learning experiences will develop effective computational thinking skills and attitudes?" The VCT project is applying a design research process involving iterative phases of development, pilot testing, and revision to produce prototype instructional materials that will be useful as stand-alone curriculum modules or when collected into different packages to support full high school courses. Project field test evaluation will provide preliminary evidence about the efficacy of the materials in developing desired student learning.

Proponents of computational thinking in STEM and STEM education have argued that it offers a powerful general approach to problem solving in discipline-specific and inter-disciplinary settings. They also argue that, when properly taught, it can provide an effective introduction and attraction to careers in computer science and other computing-intensive fields. Thus the VCT project has a long-term goal of broadening participation in computer science and related technology fields. Materials are being designed with special features to enhance their effectiveness in reaching this objective.

Bridging the Gap Between High School and College Physics: An Exploratory Study

This project will bring together two promising innovations: a high school course entitled Energizing Physics and the BEAR assessment system. The goal of this study is to develop and test a formative assessment system for Energizing Physics that has the potential to enable all students to learn physics, so they can succeed in college.

Project Email: 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1020385
Funding Period: 
Sun, 08/15/2010 to Tue, 07/31/2012
Project Evaluator: 
Myron (Mike) Atkin
Full Description: 

This exploratory research study will bring together two promising innovations that have the potential to help more students meet high standards and prepare for college and 21st century careers. One innovation is a new high school course entitled Energizing Physics, designed to help students with a wide range of capabilities by applying best practices and presenting a relatively small number of key concepts in depth. Another is the BEAR assessment system, designed to provide frequent formative assessment data to students and teachers. The goal is to develop and test a formative assessment system for Energizing Physics that has the potential to enable all students to learn how to learn physics, so they can succeed in their first physics course in college. Partners include course authors Aaron Osowiecki and Jesse Southworth from Boston Latin School in Boston, Massachusetts, Cary Sneider and graduate students at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon, and assessment specialists Mark Wilson and Karen Draney at the Graduate School of Education, University of California at Berkeley.

The project will proceed in five phases. Phase I: During the summer of 2010 project teams from Massachusetts and Oregon will meet with assessment experts in California for training in the BEAR assessment system. Phase II: During the subsequent year the team will collaborate remotely to embed the BEAR system into the course materials, and recruit eight teachers (four in Massachusetts and four in Oregon) who will test the new materials in a variety of high school settings. Phase III: Weeklong workshops will be held in Oregon and Massachusetts during the summer of 2011 to familiarize teachers with the course and assessment system. Phase IV: Teachers will present the course to their students, collect pre-post test data on students' conceptual understanding and problem solving abilities, as well as work samples, and report on successes and challenges. Teams will conduct classroom visits and interview teachers at school sites. Phase V: During the summer of 2012 the teams will analyze the results, modify the course materials as appropriate, and report on findings.

Given the substantial body of research on the value of formative evaluation for supporting learning, this exploratory study has the potential to develop a physics course that could help teachers support learning among students with a wide diversity of capabilities. Further, since this research builds on a similar study of the high school course Living by Chemistry, which also uses the BEAR formative evaluation system, it may be possible to generalize ways that high school science courses can be designed to help more students succeed in college science.

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