Pre-Kindergarten

A Longitudinal Examination of Children's Developing Knowledge of Measurement: Mathematical and Scientific Concept and Strategy Growth from Pre-K through Grade 5

The project proposes a longitudinal study that investigates the development of an understanding of measurement across seven grades-from pre-K through Grade 5. Specifically, the project will establish clear cognitive accounts of the development of students' strategic and conceptual knowledge of measurement on increasingly demanding sets of length, perimeter, and area measurement tasks.

Project Email: 
Award Number: 
0732217
Funding Period: 
Wed, 08/15/2007 to Tue, 07/31/2012
Project Evaluator: 
Richard Lesh
Full Description: 

The Children's Measurement Project examines children's developing knowledge from PreKindergarten through Grade 5 as they develop the capacity and strategies they need to measure geometric space (length, area and volume), investigating number concepts, early algebra, or variability. We investigate ways children learn to use measures as evidence for scientific or mathematical claims. We began by examining the literature on learning trajectories and progressions to interpret existing research on children's understanding of length, area and volume. Our work engages both Rasch modeling and learning/teaching experiments within clinical and classroom contexts to collect data for longitudinal accounts of children's development of measurement concepts and strategies. The work is being conducted as a collaboration of Illinois State University and the University at Buffalo (State University of New York). We are beginning the fourth year of our project (2010).

Project Publications and Presentations:

Barret, J.; Clements, D.; Sarama, J.; Cullen, C.; Witkowski, C. & Klanderman, D. (2010, May). Addressing the Challenge of Learning and Teaching Measurement: Curricular, Learning, and Teaching Analyses (Barrett et al.). Presented at 2010 AERA Annual Meeting, Denver, CO.

Smith, J.P.; Dietiker, L.; Chang, K.; Mosier, A.; Gonulates, F.; Clements, D.; Battista, M.; Barret, J.; Cullen, C. & Zhou, W. (2010, May). Assessing the Alignment of Written Curricula and State Standards for Length Measurement (Smith et al.). Presented at 2010 AERA Annual Meeting, Denver, CO.

Barret, J.; Confrey, J.; Maloney, A.; Knuth, E.; Clements, D.; Sarama, J.& Daro, P. (April 2010) Defining and Implementing Learning Trajectories as Research Tools (Barrett et al.). Presented at 2010 NCTM Research Precession.

Barrett, J. E. (2009). Length Measurement Learning Trajectory: Validation of Learning Trajectories with Longitudinal Research. Presented at Consortium for Policy Research in Education and Friday Institute for Educational Innovation. Raleigh, NC.

McCool, J. K. & Barrett, J. E. , 2010-10-28 "Incorporating a Measurement Learning Trajectory into a Teacher's Toolbox for Facilitating Student Understanding of Measurement" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH Online <PDF>. 2012-06-19 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p428027_index.html

Cullen, C.J.&  Barret, J.E. (2010). Strategy use indicative of an understanding of units and length. Unpublished.

Cullen, C. , Witkowski, C. , Miller, A. L., Barrett, J. E., Clements, D. H. and Sarama, J. , 2010-10-28 "The Key Components for Measurement Tasks" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2012-06-19 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p422400_index.html

Building BLOCKS for Science: What Young Children Should Know and Be Able to Do When They Enter Kindergarten

Building Base Line Objectives for Children’s Knowledge Skills for Science (BLOCKS)is a 4-year project that integrates research and applied teaching to take a close look inside prekindergarten classrooms. The overall research project includes extensive classroom observation by teachers and researchers of children’s ability to learn science processes and content; intensive professional development and mentoring support for teachers to learn science; and multiple qualitative, as well as, quantitative assessment strategies.
Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0821988
Funding Period: 
Mon, 09/01/2008 to Fri, 08/31/2012
Full Description: 

The Texas Regional Collaboratives, headquartered in the Center for Science and Mathematics Education at the University of Texas in Austin seeks to integrate research and applied education to take important tools inside pre-kindergarten classrooms to assess young students' knowledge and skills and test strategies for teaching core science concepts to young learners. The project will involve teachers from multiple backgrounds and will be conducted in a variety of settings with an emphasis on including classrooms where students are culturally and economically diverse. The mixed methods research will include data collection via case studies and technology-based assessment techniques.

Utilizing a robust research community of science and early childhood educators, science content specialists, researchers, and classroom teachers, the project will conduct four years of intense classroom observation and data collection in 25 pre-kindergarten classrooms with the intent of probing for answers to the following questions: (a) What should children know and be able to do when they enter kindergarten? (b)What core STEM ideas should be stressed in pre-kindergarten/kindergarten science learning activities? (c)What professional development practices best support the teaching of complex STEM concepts and processes to young learners?

National Forum for Action on the Report of the National Math Panel

The Conference Board for the Mathematical Sciences (CBMS) is collaborating with the U.S. Department of Education to host a forum in Washington, DC designed to launch action for change in mathematics education based on the recommendations of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel. This forum will focus specifically on the following four areas: teachers and teacher education, learning processes, instructional material, and standards of evidence—research policies and mechanisms.

Award Number: 
0848681
Funding Period: 
Mon, 09/15/2008 to Tue, 08/31/2010

Physical Science Comes Alive: Exploring Things that Go

This project creates eight half-year units in two subject areas—Force and Motion, and Energy Systems— for three grade bands, pre-K–1, 2-3 and 4–6. These projects integrate engineering, science, math literacy and art in the context of design, construction and testing of toys using inexpensive or recycled materials.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0733209
Funding Period: 
Sat, 09/01/2007 to Sat, 09/01/2012
Project Evaluator: 
Dr. Marie Hoepfl
Full Description: 

 The goals of the project are to develop and support the use of materials that promote integration of engineering with science, math, literacy and art in the elementary grades. Children engage in designing, making and testing their own devices. These include cardboard mechanisms that animate stories; paper pop-ups; gravity-, elastic- and electric-powered cars, and gadgets with hidden switches that produce light, sound and/or motion when opened or closed. Through these activities, students develop facility with materials, plus an understanding of systems, models, design, constraints, redesign and troubleshooting, which are core concepts in engineering education. Physics concepts include motion, force and energy. Writing is an essential component of the project, and of science education generally.

There are eight curriculum units in two sets of four each, under the headings of Force & Motion and Energy Systems. Each set consists of one unit each for grades K-1 and 2-3, and two units for 4-5. Classroom sets for the units cost between $100 and $300 apiece, and many of the materials can be acquired by recycling instead of purchase. As part of the Energy Systems Curriculum, students create gravity-powered cars in the K-1 unit Invent-a-Wheel, wind-up vehicles in the 2nd-3rd grade unit Fantastic Elastic, and electric cars in 4th and 5th grades in the EnerJeeps unit. In the course of this work students write their own equipment lists, instruction manuals, trouble-shooting guides and analyses of how their devices work. The analysis leads directly to basic concepts of physical science. When students operate their wind-ups, for example, they experience the use of their own power to store energy in a rubber band, and witness its release as kinetic energy when they let it go.

Connecting Science and Literacy Program: Professional Development Resources for Elementary Teachers

This project is developing multi-media professional development resources that will enhance PreK-8 teachers' understanding of how to employ instructional strategies from the field of literacy in developing students' scientific understanding. Four modules are resources on specific uses of science literacy; four are case studies offering examples of best practices, including video components. The 9th module provides an introduction to the theoretical underpinnings and research studies that support linking science and literacy.

Award Number: 
0353368
Funding Period: 
Thu, 07/01/2004 to Wed, 06/30/2010

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.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0910672
Funding Period: 
Thu, 10/01/2009 to Sun, 09/30/2012

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