Middle

Tiering Instruction for Middle School Students

Differentiating instruction (DI) is a pedagogical approach to managing classroom diversity in which teachers proactively adapt curricula, teaching methods, and products of learning to address individual students' needs in an effort to maximize learning for all (Tomlinson, 2005). DI is rooted in formative assessment, positions teachers and students together as learners, and involves providing choices and different pathways for students. Although teachers can differentiate for many characteristics of students, we differentiate for students' diverse ways of thinking.

Author/Presenter: 
Amy J. Hackenberg
Robin Jones
Rebecca Borowski
Lead Organization(s): 
Year: 
2020
Short Description: 

In this article, we describe an example of differentiating instruction (DI) involving middle school students from a five-year project funded by the National Science Foundation.

Exploring Prospective Teachers’ Ability to Generate and Analyze Evidence-based Explanatory Arguments

In this paper, using written responses of 37 PSTs preparing to teach grades 1-8 mathematics, we examined explanations they constructed to support their problem solutions and explanations they provided in support of their critiques of student-generated explanations. We also examined features of explanations on which PSTs drew in their critiques of mathematical explanations of students. Our results draw attention to the importance of helping PSTs develop competencies in constructing and critiquing mathematical explanations concurrently.

Author/Presenter: 
Marta T. Magiera
Vecihi S. Zambak
Lead Organization(s): 
Year: 
2020
Short Description: 

In this paper, using written responses of 37 PSTs preparing to teach grades 1-8 mathematics, authors examined explanations they constructed to support their problem solutions and explanations they provided in support of their critiques of student-generated explanations.

Restoring Mathematics Identities of Black Learners: A Curricular Approach

Black learners are subject to systemic physical, symbolic, and epistemological violence in mathematics classrooms. Such violence has negative ramifications for Black children’s mathematics learning and identity development. The authors argue that space should be made within the mathematics classroom to repair the harm caused by this violence. This article describes an identity-based curriculum, Mathematics for Justice, Identity, and meta-Cognition (or MaJIC), that provides a form of mathematics therapy through a restorative justice framework.

Author/Presenter: 
Maisie L. Gholson
Darrius D. Robinson
Lead Organization(s): 
Year: 
2019
Short Description: 

This article describes an identity-based curriculum, Mathematics for Justice, Identity, and meta-Cognition (or MaJIC), that provides a form of mathematics therapy through a restorative justice framework.

Mathematics Teaching Has Its Own Imperatives: Mathematical Practice and the Work of Mathematics Instruction

How should we expect growing understandings of the nature of mathematical practice to inform classroom mathematical practice? We address this question from a perspective that takes seriously the notion that mathematics education, as a societal enterprise, is accountable to multiple sets of stakeholders, with the discipline of mathematics being only one of them. As they lead instruction, teachers can benefit from the influence of understandings of mathematical practice but they also need to recognize obligations to other stakeholders.

Author/Presenter: 
Patricio Herbst
Daniel Chazan
Lead Organization(s): 
Year: 
2020
Short Description: 

In the article, the authors locate how mathematics instruction may actively respond to the influence of the discipline of mathematics and exemplify how obligations to other stakeholders may participate in the practical rationality of mathematics teaching as those influences are incorporated into instruction.

Visual Access to Mathematics Resources

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic school closures, the VAM project compiled example strategies, tasks, and apps for supporting students who are English learners (ELs) in mathematics, with information about how to adapt these examples to remote learning. Online workshops related to the resources and strategies were also offered for educators. 

Author/Presenter: 
The VAM Team
Year: 
2020
Short Description: 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic school closures, the VAM project compiled example strategies, tasks, and apps for supporting students who are English learners (ELs) in mathematics, with information about how to adapt these examples to remote learning. Online workshops related to the resources and strategies were also offered for educators. 

From Science Student to Conceptual Agent: Examining the Individual Shifts in Engagement During Scaffolded Instruction

In this paper we describe a qualitative study in which we examine individual student engagement during implementation of an instructional scaffold for critical evaluation of scientific models during Earth and space science lessons. We coded dialogic interactions of one student group in a sixth grade science classroom across three observations, wherein we analyzed the trajectory of engagement for a single student - Ray (a pseudonym), within the co-constructed learning of the group.

Author/Presenter: 
Ananya Matewos
Doug Lombardi
Janelle Bailey
Imogen Herrick
Year: 
2020
Short Description: 

In this paper we describe a qualitative study in which we examine individual student engagement during implementation of an instructional scaffold for critical evaluation of scientific models during Earth and space science lessons. We coded dialogic interactions of one student group in a sixth grade science classroom across three observations, wherein we analyzed the trajectory of engagement for a single student - Ray (a pseudonym), within the co-constructed learning of the group. The first of these observations involved implementation of a preconstructed scaffold, called the Model-Evidence Link (MEL) diagram, on the topic of hydraulic fracturing (fracking). With the MEL, students use evidence to compare a scientific model to an alternative model. In the second two observations, students used a more agentic variation of the activity called the build-a-MEL, to study the topics of fossils and freshwater resources respectively. After three observations, we transcribed and coded each interaction of students in the group. We then categorized and identified emerging patterns of Ray’s discourse and interactions with group members by using both a priori engagement codes and open coding. This paper was prepared for the 2020 AERA Annual Meeting. 

Science Strategy Interventions

Strategies and strategic processing within science education are designed to help students learn not only what scientists have come to understand about the world but also how they learn it. Although many domain-general strategies can be implemented in science classrooms, some strategies are either specific to science or are encouraged within science. Historically, concept development and conceptual change approaches and empirical investigations dominated science’s strategies and strategic processing.

Author/Presenter: 
Doug Lombardi
Janelle Bailey
Year: 
2020
Short Description: 

Strategies and strategic processing within science education are designed to help students learn not only what scientists have come to understand about the world but also how they learn it. Although many domain-general strategies can be implemented in science classrooms, some strategies are either specific to science or are encouraged within science. Historically, concept development and conceptual change approaches and empirical investigations dominated science’s strategies and strategic processing. More recently, argumentation, science as modeling, and the incorporation of socio-scientific topics dominate the strategies and strategic processing within science teaching and learning. Challenges to more widespread use of these approaches include lack of teacher experience and pedagogical knowledge around the strategies, as well as time and curricular limitations. Teacher education and professional development programs should seek to explicitly implement contemporary science strategy interventions to improve upon their use in K-12 classrooms and other learning environments. Doing so effectively will require well-researched and validated instructional scaffolds to facilitate the teaching and use of contemporary science learning strategies. This paper was prepared for the 2020 AERA Annual Meeting.

Students’ Plausibility Shifts & Knowledge Gains When Evaluating Competing Models about Freshwater Resource Availability

Critique and evaluation are considered essential to deeper science learning. Furthermore, critical evaluation may influence plausibility judgments about explanations through re-appraisal. We developed the YIS-activity (blinded for peer review) to activate students’ epistemic judgments (i.e., plausibility) about competing models explaining scientific phenomena and to further their learning about Earth science topics.

Author/Presenter: 
Tim Klavon
Janelle Bailey
Doug Lombardi
Archana Dobaria
Lead Organization(s): 
Year: 
2020
Short Description: 

Critique and evaluation are considered essential to deeper science learning. Furthermore, critical evaluation may influence plausibility judgments about explanations through re-appraisal. We developed the YIS-activity (blinded for peer review) to activate students’ epistemic judgments (i.e., plausibility) about competing models explaining scientific phenomena and to further their learning about Earth science topics. This study seeks to answer the question, “How are the plausibility shifts and knowledge gains of students impacted by the evaluation of multiple explanatory models for the future availability of freshwater resources?” Participants (N=76) completed a YIS-activity about freshwater resources, including pre and post-instruction knowledge surveys and plausibility ratings. Paired-samples t-tests determined that the students showed significant knowledge gains [t(75)=4.46, p<.001, d=0.51]. Initial analysis of the omnibus plausibility shifts was not significant, however particular knowledge item score differences caused us to re-evaluate the plausibility relationships between the three presented models. Two models each showed significant differences with the third model, [t(75)=2.66, p<.001, d=0.30] and [t(75)=2.94, p=.004, d=0.33] respectively. These two models also did not have a significant plausibility shift between themselves. While students accomplished significant learning in the YIS-activity, this finding emphasizes the difficulty that students have when evaluating multiple scientific explanatory models. This presentation was prepared for the 2020 Annual International NARST Conference.

TEEMS Curriculum

Transforming Engineering Education for Middle Schools (TEEMS) is a free engineering curriculum for gr. 6-8 learners. TEEMS is based on theories of learning that encourage the use of story to promote engagement. The curriculum includes two 2-week engineering units on (1) the engineering design process and (2) materials and tools and six 1-4 day lessons that connect engineering to NGSS science topics of waves, matter and its interactions, body systems, Earth’s systems, Earth’s place in the universe, and evolution. 

Author/Presenter: 
The TEEMS Team
Year: 
2020
Short Description: 

Transforming Engineering Education for Middle Schools (TEEMS) is a free engineering curriculum for gr. 6-8 learners with units on the engineering design process and materials and tools that connect engineering to NGSS science topics of waves, matter and its interactions, body systems, Earth’s systems, Earth’s place in the universe, and evolution.  View the Website for Teachers | Website for Student Resources

Math Mapper

A digital tool that offers compelling student middle grades math problems and provides students with assessment tools and a dynamic learning map.

Author/Presenter: 
The Math Mapper Team
Year: 
2020
Short Description: 

A digital tool that offers compelling student middle grades math problems and provides students with assessment tools and a dynamic learning map.

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