skip to main content

Title: Examining the Social Aspect of Climate Change through Mathematics
We designed an instructional module that seamlessly integrates mathematics, environmental science, and technology to help students think critically about climate change. The results from a design experiment in a sixth-grade classroom show that our tasks not only enhanced students' covariational reasoning in mathematics but also helped students identify the different traits of climate change they encounter every day in the news media.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
2019 IEEE Integrated STEM Education Conference (ISEC)
Page Range / eLocation ID:
239 to 244
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Current and future Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine (STEMM) students must grapple with one of the most pressing scientific issues of the century: climate change. Teaching about climate change with our youngest learners requires preparation, and planting roots to foster growth, innovation, and sustainability. Building a community garden with elementary students is a way to act towards climate justice as it reminds us about how all living things are part of an interconnected system. This article describes a fifth-grade climate change action project that was part of a unit that aligns with the state science standards and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), focused on how science learning can be used to protect the Earth’s resources and local environments. The anchoring phenomenon and lessons of the unit highlighted the annual migration of the monarch butterflies, a local endangered species and phenomenon. By planting milkweed in the garden, students learned about migration, life cycles, greenhouse gases, and the survival of monarch butterflies. This article provides educators with ideas and practical suggestions for building a garden and an overview of how the project can be implemented within a school community. 
    more » « less
  2. Meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires innovations in education to build key competencies in all learners. Learning objectives for SDGs identified by UNESCO like the “Integrated problem-solving competency,” if integrated properly with high school curriculum, can contribute sustainable development solutions for Belize. Additionally, the 3rd international conference of SIDS under the theme, “The sustainable development of small island developing states through genuine and durable partnerships,” stressed investment in education and training, including through partnerships with migrants and diaspora communities, with “concrete, focused, forward-looking and action oriented programmes.” The Sagicor Visionaries Challenge, a sustainability challenge launched by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), the Caribbean Science Foundation, and the Ministries of Education across 12 Caribbean countries in 2012, represented an example of such a partnership that fostered many key competencies now needed for meeting the SDGs. It asked secondary school students in the Caribbean to identify a challenge facing their school and or community, propose a sustainable and innovative solution, and show how that solution uses Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) as well as got the support of the school community. For its inaugural year, teacher and student sensitization workshops were organized in each country. Teachers supervised the student projects with support from mentors who were either local or virtual, including many members of the Caribbean diaspora. 175 projects entered the competition, representing 900 students ranging in age from 11 to 19. Experience from the inaugural year, which saw Belize’s Bishop Martin Secondary emerge the regional challenge winner, demonstrated interest by young people of the Caribbean in many of the themes listed in the SIDS outcomes like climate change, sustainable energy, disaster risk reduction, sustainable oceans and seas, food security and nutrition, water and sanitation, sustainable transportation, sustainable consumption and production, and health and non-communicable diseases. Reflection on student projects from Belize from the 2013 challenge, as well as current examples of teacher led inquiry-based projects for CXC’s School Based Assessments (SBAs), offer multiple opportunities for ensuring reef to ridge sustainable development in Belize and the rest of the Caribbean. 
    more » « less
  3. Norman-McKay, Lourdes (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT In an attempt to redesign science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) departments to be more inclusive of all student populations, institutions of higher learning are reviewing their programs, policies, and the ways they engage students. The Partnership for Undergraduate Life Sciences Education (PULSE) has been working with STEM departments over the past 10 years to improve the student experience by incorporating evidence-based teaching practices and creating curricula with a deeper focus on conceptual understanding of scientific principles, competencies, and the process of science. PULSE created the PULSE rubrics, a set of five rubrics designed to assist life sciences departments in assessing their implementation of the recommendations of the American Association for the Advancement of Science Vision and Change report in the areas of curriculum, assessment, faculty practice and faculty support, infrastructure, and climate for change. An additional rubric, on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), is described in this paper. Each of the 13 criteria of the PULSE DEI rubric begins with a context section of background information with references and a scale of 0 to 4 (baseline to exemplar) with descriptors for each score. The PULSE DEI rubric has been added to allow departments to determine the starting point for their DEI work and reveal areas that require attention. All PULSE rubrics can be accessed from the PULSE Community website ( ). 
    more » « less
  4. null (Ed.)
    This research paper studies the challenges that mathematics faculty and graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) faced when moving active and collaborative calculus courses from in-person to virtual instruction. As part of a larger pedagogical change project (described below), the math department at a public Research-1 university began transitioning pre-calculus and calculus courses to an active and collaborative learning (ACL) format in Fall 2019. The change began with the introduction of collaborative worksheets in recitations which were led by GTAs and supported by undergraduate learning assistants (LAs). Students recitation periods collaboratively solving the worksheet problems on whiteboards. When COVID-19 forced the rapid transition to online teaching, these ACL efforts faced an array of challenges. Faculty and GTA reflections on the changes to teaching and learning provide insight into how instructional staff can be supported in implementing ACL across various modes of instruction. The calculus teaching change efforts discussed in this paper are part of an NSF-supported project that aims to make ACL the default method of instruction in highly enrolled gateway STEM courses across the institution. The theoretical framework for the project builds on existing work on grassroots change in higher education (Kezar and Lester, 2011) to study the effect of communities of practice on changing teaching culture. The project uses course-based communities of practice (Wenger, 1999) that include instructors, GTAs, and LAs working together to design and enact teaching change in the targeted courses alongside ongoing professional development for GTAs and LAs. Six faculty and five GTAs involved in the teaching change effort in mathematics were interviewed after the Spring 2020 semester ended. Interview questions focused on faculty and GTA experiences implementing active learning after the rapid transition to online teaching. A grounded coding scheme was used to identify common themes in the challenges faced by instructors and GTAs as they moved online and in the impacts of technology, LA support, and the department community of practice on the move to online teaching. Technology, including both access and capabilities, emerged as a common barrier to student engagement. A particular barrier was students’ reluctance to share video or participate orally in sessions that were being recorded, making group work more difficult than it had been in a physical classroom. In addition, most students lacked access to a tablet for freehand writing, presenting a significant hurdle for sharing mathematical notation when physical whiteboards were no longer an option. These challenges point to the importance of incorporating flexibility in active learning implementation and in the professional development that supports teaching changes toward active learning, since what is conceived for a collaborative physical classroom may be implemented in a much different environment. The full paper will present a detailed analysis of the data to better understand how faculty and GTA experiences in the transition to online delivery can inform planning and professional development as the larger institutional change effort moves forward both in mathematics and in other STEM fields. 
    more » « less
  5. Why do secondary students in the US consistently and increasingly report a lack of interest in mathematics? Lack of interest in mathematics has been well documented in TIMSS responses; students dissatisfaction with mathematics more than doubled by 2011, when 40% of 8th graders reported not liking math, up from 18% as 4th graders in 2007. And, sadly, the trend appears to be worsening; in 2015, 47% of 8th graders indicated not liking math, up from 22% as 4th graders. In order to positively impact student attitudes towards mathematics, it is important to understand factors that may influence secondary students’ relationship with the discipline. This poster presents findings from an exploratory study of student disposition toward mathematics. We designed an online survey to learn about students’ relationship with mathematics, including experiences and settings that contribute to both positive and negative feelings about the subject. We surveyed 275 students, grades 9 to 12, in 11 classes in three schools in three New England districts. Though not randomly chosen, this sample allows us to examine student attitudes across a variety of contexts. We asked students about their feelings towards mathematics over the years, as well as which aspects of class they most enjoyed or disliked. Finally, we included items from the TRIPOD survey (Wallace et al., 2016) and the 2015 NAEP survey, which allows us to compare our sample with the national sample. Initial results indicate that student view their teachers and the topics of study as the central factors influencing their enjoyment of mathematics class. We found a correlation between responses that math is boring and that it is not relevant. Students who like math and those who do not reported different class activity preferences. For example, students who like math reported disliking watching a video in class, while students who dislike math reported disliking learning something new. Both groups of students (those who like math and those who do not) dislike math class when they have to present work to classmates, but hold positive views of solving puzzles and working with other students. Technology seems to appeal equally to both groups. Students who reported disliking math also look forward to playing competitive games. We saw no evidence that gender or race corresponded to students’ level of appreciation math. Finally, students reported liking math class less in high school than in middle school. Identifying factors that influence secondary student mathematical dispositions can inform curriculum designers seeking to improve mathematical attitudes. Future studies can learn if new curricular designs can change student relationships with mathematics to reverse recent trends. 
    more » « less