Middle School

Problem-Based Learning Designed for Science and Mathematics Professional Development

This project aims to: (1) develop, implement and study the impact of a subject matter-focused, Problem-based Learning professional development model; and to (2) design ways of incorporating Problem-Based Learning (PBL) into key subject matter and teacher preparation courses taken by pre-service teachers, and study the impact on pre-service teachers' learning. This project is designed with and for teams of K-12 science and mathematics teachers from school districts of mid-Michigan.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0353406
Funding Period: 
Sun, 08/01/2004 to Sat, 07/31/2010
Project Evaluator: 
SAMPI Western Michigan University

Discourse Analysis: A Catalyst for Reflective Inquiry in Mathematics Classrooms

This project is examining the nature of mathematical discourse in middle school mathematics classrooms; the ways in which middle school mathematics teachers’ beliefs impact the discourse when working to enact reform-oriented instruction; and how this information can be used to incorporate practitioner research using concepts and tools of discourse analysis to improve mathematics instruction. The educational goal is to design a long-term professional development program that will continue beyond funding with other cohorts of teachers.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0829306
Funding Period: 
Thu, 05/01/2008 to Sat, 07/31/2010
Full Description: 

The objectives of this project are to examine: the nature of mathematical discourse in middle school mathematics classrooms; the ways in which middle school mathematics teacher's beliefs impact the discourse when working to enact reform-oriented instruction; and how this information can be used to incorporate practitioner research using
concepts and tools of discourse analysis to improve mathematics instruction. The significance of this work comes in understanding how classroom discourse can affect the learning environment and engage students in learning mathematics in the ways proposed by the Standards. The focus of those documents has been to promote conceptual understanding and sense making instead of the procedural emphasis that often takes precedence in more traditional
mathematics teaching. The Standards vision can only be achieved if some of the discourse patterns in current mathematics instruction are changed from a transmission model of communication to one that supports inquiry.

The project is conducting case studies of the discourse in middle school mathematics classrooms. These case studies highlight classroom discourse patterns -the form, function, and meaning. In addition, we capture the process of teachers engaging in practitioner research projects in which they choose an aspect of their discourse to change and
study the affects of that change on the classroom learning environment. The project also examines how the combination of tools and concepts from discourse analysis and practitioner research projects affect teacher beliefs. Having teachers choose their focus of inquiry helps them invest and own the research process and enables them to understand, change and test out new ideas. It also allows them to gather evidence that can potentially change their beliefs.

The educational goal of this project is to design a long-term professional development program that will continue beyond this funding with other cohorts of teachers. The research case studies and other data are used to write case studies for both undergraduate methods courses and to as part of a long-term professional development program. In addition, these cases are made available to other teacher educators. The university-researchers and teacher researchers are collaboratively developing the courses and workshops that comprise the professional
development program.

This work offers a different approach to professional development (i.e., practitioner research) and different theoretical perspectives (i.e., tools and concepts of discourse analysis) for improving mathematics teaching and learning. focuses on teachers who would like to examine their instructional practice (or "enacted beliefs") at a fine-grained level. The research and educational activities make use of current advances in the study of and development of mathematics teaching and teachers. In addition, these activities offer a new perspective to be brought to the mathematics classroom - that of discourse tools and concepts as a mechanism of inquiry.

As discussed above, the intellectual merits lie in its ability to: a) offer insight into changes in teacher beliefs and classroom practices, b) provide frameworks and methodologies for studying classroom discourse, and c) uncover ways of helping teachers focus more centrally on the role of mathematics in classroom discourse. The broader impacts include: a) graduate students and teacher researchers will do research in a collaborative environment, disseminate findings to broad audiences, and be involved in planning the professional development program and coursework; b) case studies will be written and made available to other mathematics teacher educators; c) a long-term professional development program will continue with other cohorts of mathematics teachers; and d) similar case studies and activities will be used in undergraduate methods courses.

 

Project Publications and Presentations:

Herbel-Eisenmann, B. & Schleppegrell, M. (2008). 'What question would I be asking myself in my head?' Helping all students reason mathematically. Mathematics for all: Instructional strategies for diverse classrooms, Grades 6-8.

Males, L., Otten, S, & Herbel-Eisenmann, B. (2010).Challenges of critical colleagueship: Examining and reflecting on study group interactions. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, v. 13 (6), 459-471.

Herbel-Eisenmann, B.; Wagner, D & Cortes, V (2010). Lexical bundle analysis in mathematics classroom discourse: The significance of stance. Educational Studies in Mathematics, v. 75 (1), 23-42.

Otten, S.; Herbel-Eisenmann, B. & Males, L.M. (2010). Proof in algebra: An example of reasoning beyond examples. Mathematics Teacher, v.103 (7), 514-518.

International Congress on Mathematics Education Travel Grant Proposal

This project supports the participation of 50 U.S. elementary, middle, and high school mathematics teachers or supervisors, graduate students, community college/university mathematics teachers, mathematicians and teacher educators or researchers to attend the Twelfth International Congress for Mathematical Education (ICME-12) to be held in Seoul Korea from June 8 to July 15, 2012.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1127579
Funding Period: 
Thu, 12/15/2011 to Sat, 11/30/2013
Full Description: 

This award, endorsed by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the United States National Commission on Mathematical Instruction, the Mathematical Association of America, the American Mathematical Society and the American Mathematical Association of Two Year Colleges, is supporting the participation of 50 U.S. elementary, middle, and high school mathematics teachers or supervisors, graduate students, community college/university mathematics teachers, mathematicians and teacher educators or researchers to attend the Twelfth International Congress for Mathematical Education (ICME-12) to be held in Seoul Korea from June 8 to July 15, 2012. The work and conversations of mathematics educators across the world will contribute to understanding of curricular frameworks, research on teaching and learning, the use of technology, strategies for reaching all students, educating immigrant children, and teacher education and professional development. The award will help inform and enlighten mathematics education in this country through international conversations with others confronting the same issues. As a special feature of the ICME program, the United States has been invited to host a U.S. National Presentation, which will include two featured sessions and a special exhibit to be open throughout the Congress for sharing artifacts of mathematics education in the United States with the international community. The award includes support for featured speakers and organizing the US National Presentation. It also includes support for the preparation and update of the State of Mathematics Education in the United States, under the leadership of John Dossey, which will be disseminated at the Congress and through NCTM.

Positive Learning Environments Aiming for Success in Science Education (PLEASSE)

This study is aimed at exploring the components and impact of a teacher professional development model on teacher performance and student achievement and motivation in STEM disciplines at schools serving large numbers of minority students. It also aims to research and evaluate the impact of teachers who provide students with school experiences that are geared toward fostering high academic achievement.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0732109
Funding Period: 
Sat, 09/01/2007 to Tue, 08/31/2010

Examining Coaching in Elementary (K-8) Mathematics Classrooms

This project conducts research on knowledge that contributes to successful coaching in two domains: coaching knowledge and mathematics content knowledge. The influence of these knowledge domains on both coaches and teachers is being examined in two ways: (1) by investigating correlations between assessments of coach and teacher knowledge and practice in each domain and (2) by investigating causal effects of targeted professional development for coaches.

Project Email: 
Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0918326
Funding Period: 
Wed, 07/15/2009 to Sun, 07/31/2011

Engaging Youth in Engineering Module Study

This project is revising and field testing six existing modules and developing, pilot testing, and field testing two engineering modules for required middle school science and mathematics classes: Catch Me if You Can! with a focus on seventh grade life science; and Creating Bioplastics targeting eighth grade physical science. Each module addresses an engineering design challenge of relevance to industries in the region and fosters the development of engineering habits of mind.

Award Number: 
0918769
Funding Period: 
Tue, 09/15/2009 to Sun, 08/31/2014
Project Evaluator: 
James Van Haneghan

Industry-Education Partnership: A Model for the Teacher Professional Continuum

This is a project to develop a learning community model that spans the educational continuum. It connects teacher research participation experience (TRE) projects and science, technology, and mathematics (STM) industry and university scientists/professionals to research the factors that contribute to the success of such a model. It will mine both the Principal Investigator's and TRE projects, education and industry partnership immersion projects, and provide new education/workplace experiences for STM participants.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0353441
Funding Period: 
Thu, 04/01/2004 to Wed, 03/31/2010

Exploring Content Standards for Engineering Education in K-12

This project is assessing the potential value and feasibility of developing and implementing content standards for K-12 engineering education. The project is reviewing existing efforts to define what students should know; identifying elements of existing standards for related content areas that could link to engineering; considering how purposes for engineering education might affect content and implementation of standards; and suggesting changes to policies, programs, and practices necessary to develop and implement engineering standards.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0733584
Funding Period: 
Mon, 10/01/2007 to Wed, 03/31/2010

Using Research to Target Title I Needs in Mathematics

This project is producing research syntheses that summarize and make available to practitioners results from research on effective mathematics curricular interventions, teaching practices, and teacher professional development that have been designed to improve achievement by students in Title 1 programs. The project’s goal is to bring together the best resources in both mathematics education and Title I so that programs are better able to serve the mathematical learning and instructional needs of Title I schools.

Award Number: 
0946875
Funding Period: 
Sat, 08/15/2009 to Sun, 07/31/2011

Knowledge Synthesis on STEM Teachers in Professional Learning Communities

This project is evaluating existing knowledge about STEM teachers in professional learning communities (PLCs), both prospective teachers and classroom teachers across grades K-12. It will comprehensively synthesize peer-reviewed research but will also examine additional types of knowledge that influence the field. The project methods adapt those of Knowledge Management and Dissemination project, funded by NSF MSP and seeks to further advance the scope and rigor of knowledge synthesis.

Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0822013
Funding Period: 
Mon, 09/01/2008 to Tue, 08/31/2010

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