PROJECT DESCRIPTIONS: FISCAL YEAR 1996
NSF COLLABORATIVES FOR EXCELLENCE
IN TEACHER PREPARATION (CETP)
FULL COLLABORATIVES FOR FY 96
Daniel B. Walker
The San Francisco Bay Collaborative for Excellence in Teacher Preparation, led by San Jose State University and San Francisco State University, identifies and establishes a core group of incoming freshmen – especially from underrepresented groups – who are interested in becoming teachers. Major components of the program are: 1) recruitment of future teachers from several target populations; 2) attention both to science and mathematics majors preparing for secondary school teaching and to students entering elementary school teaching; 3) extensive early field experiences; 4) tutor-mentor-advisor programs; 5) workshops for science and mathematics faculty resulting in their significant involvement in curriculum reform; 6) revision of core science and mathematics courses and creation of innovative capstone/integrated courses; and 7) a support network for new science and mathematics teachers. The project affects approximately 4000 students per year.
Virginia Urban Corridor Teacher Preparation Collaborative
Reuben W. Farley
The Virginia Urban Corridor Teacher Preparation Collaborative is a joint effort of the liberal arts, science, and education faculties of universities and colleges that train the large majority of prospective teachers within Virginia's urban corridor (Longwood College, Mary Washington College, Norfolk State University, and Virginia Commonwealth University), the region's Community Colleges (Germana, J. Sargeant Reynolds, and Tidewater), the Virginia Mathematics and Science Center, and the regional school systems. The goal of the Collaborative is to implement programs that will prepare K-8 teachers who have strong science and mathematics backgrounds, who enjoy science and mathematics, who understand what is known about the types of teaching that enable students to learn, and whose teaching will reflect their scientific and pedagogical knowledge. All science and mathematics courses taken by prospective K-8 teachers are being renewed and reformed by adapting the "best practices" being developed nationwide. Course revision teams include faculty from scientific disciplines, education departments, and master teachers from the school systems. A cadre of clinical faculty (outstanding K-12 teachers) play a crucial role in all aspects of teacher preparation reform, including the in-school experiences of prospective and new teachers and the professional development of discipline faculty. Recruitment and retention efforts enlist pre-service students to work with the faculty as Teaching Associates. The Collaborative will also include three cross-fertilization/dissemination activities: an annual week-long science and mathematics colloquium; an annual four week long institute featuring courses which are being developed by Collaborative institutions, and a published journal devoted to the preparation of prospective K-8 teachers in science and mathematics. This Collaborative will impact policies required for preparation of K-8 teachers, improve the nature and quality of instruction in mathematics and the sciences, improve in-school experiences of prospective teachers, enhance recruitment of qualified teachers of science and mathematics (particularly for underrepresented groups), and promote the dissemination of materials and approaches within the Collaborative and beyond.
Recruitment, Training, and Retention of Oklahoma Science and Mathematics Teachers
Robert E. Howard
The Oklahoma Teacher Education Collaborative (O-TEC), a consortium composed of K-12 schools and two-year, and four-year institutions from across the state addresses concerns in the teacher preparation system, from recruitment through pre-service training and into the early years of teaching. A series of summer academies recruits talented youth from under-served populations and allows potential teachers to work under the direction of classroom teachers to present model lessons in science and mathematics. Activities at two-year institutions of higher education feature the development of courses articulated with four-year institutions and formulation of a curriculum for para-teachers. Engineering faculty are participating in development of general education courses that are appropriate for teachers, and particular attention is given to retention of new teachers and their professional growth during the early years of teaching. O-TEC is training experienced teachers and building administrators to provide support in science and mathematics teaching through state entry-year committees. A summer in-service program brings new teachers together after their first year to share experiences and address concerns about content and pedagogy. O-TEC sponsors sessions for entry-year teachers at meetings of the Oklahoma Science Teachers Association and Oklahoma Council for Teachers of Mathematics to encourage professional participation. O-TEC institutions also provide consulting for entry-year teachers who experience difficulty and provides some equipment to new teachers. Use of technology is a component of all activities and several modes of evaluation provide feedback for guidance.
This project is a joint effort of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), Auburn University (AU), the University of North Alabama (UNA), and Miles College (MC) featuring intra- and inter- institutional course development. As an example of the former, an innovative course for pre-service teachers at UAB, developed and taught by a faculty member in Materials Engineering and a faculty member in Education, is being disseminated to other institutions. The project supports an analogous effort involving UAB faculty from Chemistry and Education targeting General Chemistry. For inter-institutional course development, projects are being developed that pair Auburn University and Tuskegee Institute, UNA and Alabama A&M, and Miles College and UAB in efforts to improve their teacher preparation programs in the sciences, mathematics, or engineering.
Hawaii Project for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education
The project is developing, testing, and evaluating a small-scale model for effective team efforts to reform science and mathematics preparation for pre-service elementary teachers in the University of Hawaii system. The project brings together scientists and mathematicians from the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) and Kapiolani Community College as well as within the University of Hawaii and specialists and in-service teachers from the Hawaii Department of Education. The project aims to restructure four existing courses to: 1) reflect reforms in science and mathematics content, teaching, and assessment standards; 2) better integrate science and mathematics in these courses; and 3) better articulate these content and education courses.
Delaware's Innovative Science/Mathematics Program for Undergraduate Success
A core group of mathematics and science content and education faculty from the University of Delaware, Delaware State University, and Delaware Technical Community College are working with K-12 teachers in an initial effort to reform 10 existing courses that make up parts of the pre-service teacher preparation programs at these three institutions. Work is also planned on three new courses for in-service teachers. In this project K-12 teachers will work with higher education faculty, leading to the development of a K-16 community of mathematics and science educators dedicated to the continual improvement of its pre-service teacher preparation programs. These reform efforts also leverage the considerable momentum towards reform engendered by the Delaware State Systemic Initiative project.
The SC ATE Center is creating a learning environment which models the new technologically sophisticated work environment. Objectives are focused in three broad areas including curriculum reform, program improvement, and faculty development. Curriculum reform centers on developing integrated engineering technology core curricula using a systems-based approach. Program improvement encompasses recruitment/retention reforms as well as the development of an electronic communications infrastructure for state-wide curriculum design and delivery. Faculty development emphasizes the use of interdisciplinary/intercampus teams for designing and implementing curriculum reforms. The primary target audience of the SC ATE Center is technical college students enrolled in, or desiring to enroll in, engineering technology programs with a particular emphasis on attracting women and underrepresented minorities. The Center seeks to impact the educational pipeline from middle school through the baccalaureate level. A particular emphasis involves working with Clemson University and other four-year colleges to help prepare the middle and secondary school technology teachers of the future. Collaborative partnerships encompass over 25 educational, governmental, and business/industrial entities including the State Department of Education, Clemson University, South Carolina State University, the Virginia Community College System, the Governor's Mathematics/Science Advisory Board, the Governor's Commission on Women, the South Carolina Department of Commerce, AMP Incorporated, Bell South Telecommunications Incorporated, Michelin North America, Bose Corporation, Robert Bosch Corporation, and NCR Corporation. A strong evaluation component, headed by the Academy for Educational Development, facilitates the development of program improvement processes and curriculum products that will have a significant impact on engineering technology education nation wide.
Maricopa Advanced Technology Education Center in Semiconductor Manufacturing and Related Fields
Alfredo G. de los Santos
The Maricopa Advanced Technology Education Center (MATEC) is operated by the Maricopa County Community College District, the nation's second largest community college system with 90,000 students. Maricopa is partnering with: 10 semiconductor manufacturing/supporting industry companies including Intel, Motorola, SGS-Thompson, and Microchip Technology; two Tech Prep consortiums with 13 secondary school districts (60,000 students); Arizona State University, the nation's largest public university (43,000 students); three other Community College Districts in Arizona and Oregon; and Albuquerque Technical-Vocational Institute. The primary objectives of the Center are to: 1) create new curricular systems/materials which reduce the disparity between what is taught and learned in schools and what is needed by technicians in semiconductor manufacturing/related supporting industries; 2) provide technical support, instructional support, and access to resources that faculty/trainers who are preparing students for careers as technicians need to ensure continuing relevance to workplace needs; and 3) increase the number of students, especially women and minorities, who prepare for and become employed as technicians in the semiconductor manufacturing/supportive industries. Targeted programs are Semiconductor Manufacturing/ Processing Technology, Circuit Design Technology, and Facilities Maintenance Technology. MATEC's three components are: Curriculum/Materials Development, Staff Development/Support, and Workforce Development Support. Examples of strategies are Computer-Based Instructional Design System, Continuous Quality Curriculum System, Multimedia "Virtual" Materials, Electronic Resource Center/Form, On-line Q/A, Faculty Internships, Scholarships, and Workshops/Seminars for a national audience. Outcome evaluation uses a gap reduction model with measurement instruments to be developed by American College Testing based on specific job profiles of skill levels necessary in workplace. There is also work with Arizona State University to help prepare the secondary school teachers of tomorrow for programs in grades 7-12 that ensure the students who enter advanced technology programs are prepared to succeed. The Center is closely coordinating its work with the Phoenix Urban Systemic Initiative and the Arizona State Collaborative for Excellence in Teacher Preparation.
Systemic Changes in the Undergraduate Chemistry Curriculum
Orville L. Chapman
Representing 24 area community colleges that have worked together for more than 15 years, the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), California State University at Fullerton (CSUF) Community College Alliance is restructuring the lower division chemistry curriculum and the auxiliary learning and assessment processes. The new curriculum adopts a constructivist approach, emphasizing problem solving and exploratory learning. The new Molecular Science Curriculum cuts across departmental and disciplinary boundaries to embrace all activities that involve the study of atoms and molecules. In particular, environmental science, materials science, and molecular life science have important positions in the new lower-division chemistry curriculum. The new curriculum reflects current practice in research and the chemical industry. Materials being produced include: problem-based molecular science modular learning units; data sets for exploratory learning; prepackaged molecular, mathematical, and schematic models to illustrate important principles and phenomena; and a client/server system that manages educational data. The learning units will be used in the technology programs of several of the community colleges, such as those for science technicians and hazardous materials technicians at Mount San Antonio Community College. New assessment vehicles including cumulative electronic portfolios of group and individual work providing new insight into student development and potential are also being developed.
The CSUF project also addresses the preparation of primary and secondary science teachers by involving them as active participants in the lower division courses of the molecular science curriculum at both UCLA and CSUF. At both UCLA and CSUF, these students will gain experience with the modules, associated learning methods, and the electronic delivery system. These experiences are designed to produce teachers with a practical perspective on science teaching as well as the ability to utilize current technology to direct learning activities. The electronic delivery system allows students at UCLA to work with the science education faculty at CSUF to obtain certification. Two high schools (Aliso Niguel and Crossroads) are also members of the Alliance.
Mathematical Sciences and their Applications throughout the Curriculum
Alan C. Tucker
A consortium of faculty at ten colleges and universities on Long Island, in conjunction with the State University of New York (SUNY) system, is designing a comprehensive, multi-faceted project to develop an environment for interconnected learning in mathematics courses and in mathematically based disciplines. Headquartered at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, other institutions of the consortium include: C. W. Post College, Dowling College, Nassau Community College, New York Institute of Technology, St. Joseph's College, Suffolk Community College, SUNY Agricultural and Technology College at Farmingdale, SUNY College at Old Westbury, and CUNY York College. The model for interconnected learning developed on Long Island is being extended to SUNY-wide implementation (64 institutions), and is being actively disseminated to other institutions inside and outside New York state. The enhanced learning environment has three components: 1) systemic change in instructional practices; 2) creation of new courses and curricular materials; and 3) development of human resources. The connections in this project involve: collaboration and cooperation in instruction among faculty across quantitative disciplines; regional networking of energized faculty at different types of institutions; and the enhanced effect of combining change in modes of instruction with curricular reform, educational technology, and coordination of instruction among departments. Major project activities include:
Multimedia Mathematics: Across the Curriculum and Across the Nation
Steven R. Dunbar
The goal of this consortium project, led by the University of Nebraska and Oklahoma State University, is to integrate the teaching and learning of mathematics and its applications in science, engineering, and quantitative subjects. This will be accomplished through a modern curriculum that provides students with a holistic view of mathematical science coherently tying together fundamental concepts from many disciplines. A critical success factor is a communication structure bringing together educators from many disciplines to share ideas, goals, and strategies. The project will also put in place services and materials that encourage experimentation with and development of curricular innovations as well as new modes of presentation. From the outset, the program will focus on the needs of many students from many disciplines and backgrounds; an especially important group will be those students preparing for careers in K-12 teaching. The implementation plan provides for students who change majors or institutions and it will be easily adaptable to other colleges and universities.
The primary product of the Oklahoma-Nebraska Consortium will be an enduring, integrated core mathematics, science, and engineering curriculum based on a collection of cross-curricular, multimedia mathematics learning module clusters. Each module will be a topic or application in itself, but it will also be part of a larger vertical and horizontal structure. The idea is to draw together and focus horizontally on concepts from other disciplines that fit naturally with fundamental mathematics concepts learned at the same time. Vertically, students revisit topics on more than one occasion and in more than one course, showing the power of mathematics as it unfolds. Thus in a given course, the student witnesses several applications of a single mathematical idea, but over several years he or she also encounters a particular application several times with increasing mathematical sophistication. This structure provides motivation for mathematical development, an appreciation for topics students are currently studying, and an understanding of how fundamental ideas from many disciplines fit together.
Multimedia - here defined broadly to include computer algebra, graphing software, graphing calculators, television, interactive digital video, CD-ROMs, and Internet connections - serves both as a device for focusing attention on changes that are needed as well as a vehicle for making them. The consortium schools will combine their strengths in this area throughout the program to establish new and more effective presentations and expand the range of applications that are accessible to students.
Mathematics and Undergraduate Education: A New Framework for Mutual Invigoration
Daniel P. Maki
The project is an Indiana University System effort to restructure the ways in which mathematics relates to the rest of the undergraduate curriculum. The collaborating institutions are IU-Bloomington, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), IU-East, IU-Kokomo, IU-Northwest, IU-South Bend, IU-Southeast, and IUPU-Fort Wayne.
The ultimate goal of the project is to create a new framework for collaboration between mathematics departments and the faculties of other disciplines, as well as a new culture among undergraduates that will revitalize the learning of mathematics and reinvigorate undergraduate education. A particularly important audience is the pre-service teacher population. There are three interrelated objectives: 1) To create interdisciplinary courses in which students learn new mathematical ideas and acquire new tools through contextual problem solving and that involve the cooperation of the mathematics faculty with other faculty from a variety of disciplines; 2) To change student attitudes about mathematics by developing an academic and social infrastructure to encourage all students to see the relationship to other subjects, the real world, and their own personal ambitions and goals; and 3) To change the academic infrastructure in order to make permanent positive changes in the teaching and learning of mathematics on these eight Indiana University campuses and beyond.
Frank R. Giordano
The project is developing programs where students learn skills in computing, writing, reasoning, and problem solving. Its vision is to establish environments conducive to interdisciplinary cooperation for designing and presenting instruction in all partner disciplines. Interdisciplinary projects are being used as a vehicle to move from disconnected mathematics courses to a fully integrated experience in all partner disciplines. Teams at each institution consisting of faculty from several disciplines are collaborating to develop course materials, termed Interdisciplinary Lively Applications (ILAP). A core set of ILAP materials has already been developed primarily at West Point and has been implemented over the past several years. Several types of ILAPs are envisioned, beginning with the basic ILAP project and culminating in ILAP carry-through projects. Workshops are also being conducted that enable faculty to use projects, design curricula, model student growth, and present "lively" pedagogy.
The consortium is representative of all types of the nation's undergraduate institutions: two-year colleges, liberal arts colleges, engineering schools, historically black colleges, and research universities. Through the joint efforts of the institutions involved, the project is affecting thousands of undergraduate students by making a lasting cultural change with the national dissemination of our activities. The ultimate goal is to develop an interdisciplinary culture that acts like a pump, sending students into mathematics, science, and engineering.
David J. Gibson
A long-term field experiment to improve undergraduate teaching in ecology and environmental science is being incorporated into undergraduate courses. The experiment is designed to address topics of ecological succession contrasting the effects of mowing and fertilizer treatments in upland and lowland abandoned farm fields. Elementary, middle and secondary school pre-service and in-service teachers, and students taking courses in Southern Illinois University's Environmental Studies Program (as a minor for a wide range of major degree programs) participate in the design, implementation, data collection and analysis of the field experiment. Students participating in the experience assess the advantages, disadvantages and limitations of field experiments, better appreciate the role of scientific research in understanding the natural world, and are better able to describe and articulate one of the most important ecological processes: succession. Incorporation of the field experiment into appropriate courses is creating models for other national and international programs.
A School-University Partnership Through Distance & Service Learning
Lay N. Chang
This distance- and service-learning project at Virginia Polytechnic Institute is a partnership between the University's Physics Department and science programs at high schools throughout Southwest Virginia. Two related problems are targeted: 1) the geographic and professional isolation of rural high schools and teachers; and 2) the academic isolation of advanced undergraduate and graduate science students who have little or no opportunity to communicate with populations outside of their highly specialized scientific field. The project employs distance learning to stimulate high school students' interest in and appreciation of rapid developments in the fields of physics and astronomy, and service-learning to engage selected physics students in the delivery of this information through ongoing electronic and face-to-face interactions. As piloted with Floyd County High School, the project is designed to: increase the level of science literacy among the general population of students at Floyd County High School; lead to the creation of an Advanced Placement Physics course; improve the oral, written, and electronic communication skills of physics majors at Virginia Tech; and introduce physics majors to new applications of their discipline, including careers in teaching. All phases of the project pilot will be carefully documented, leading to the production of a teaching guide for school-college collaborations using distance- and service- learning techniques.
Certification of Engineering Students for Teaching in Secondary Schools
P. Aarne Vesilind
This project investigates the feasibility of creating a pilot program for the certification of engineering students for teaching in secondary schools. Given the complexity of secondary teacher certification, the development of a pilot program for engineering students is a challenging task. The project represents the results of preliminary discussions with the North Carolina Board of Education, representatives of the Duke teacher certification program, and the Duke University Master of Arts in Teaching program, indicating that the development of a model requires extensive discussions and evaluations. The project is undertaking the task of developing a comprehensive and useful pilot program for encouraging engineering students to enter secondary education.
An Integrated Mathematics-Engineering Course for Non-Science Students
George T. Rublein
The project involves the design of an integrated two semester general education course in mathematics and science. The project's main goal is to convince non-science students that they can enhance their grasp of the outside world using elementary calculations and data acquisition. There are two primary activities: 1) revision of a first draft of the mathematical material, relying on results of pilot testing with undergraduates at the College of William and Mary and Norfolk State University and with in-service teachers at 10 university sites across Virginia; and 2) construction and piloting of the physics/engineering portion of the material, which directly references the mathematics encountered by students in the first term. Pre-service teachers (primarily elementary and middle school) are particularly affected, since they make up a large part of the enrollment in this sequence. The central theme of the mathematical material is the use of real data. The problems bear directly on an intuitive grasp of a particular physical setting - powered aircraft flight- and the data gathered include: daily wind data, wind histories, navigation maps and runway plates, weights and dimensions of commercial aircraft, and current magnetic declination data. Computations involve arithmetic, elementary algebra, some geometry, some trigonometry, and some use of hand-calculators for numerical integration. The engineering/science part of this work requires students to obtain some of these data themselves, with a view to getting information that is crucial to the proper function of aircraft. Appropriate experiments to test physical laws that are important to flight are also being designed and tested.
Hands-On Activities for Developmental Mathematics Courses
James T. Sandefur
This project is developing a collection of hands-on activities that support introductory college mathematics at the elementary algebra, intermediate algebra and precalculus levels. The units particularly support older students who are coming back to school by including materials that convey mathematics within the context of engaging applications and interesting problems. Applications from physics, economics, biology, genetics, and other areas of interest to students provide a context for the mathematics. The materials support a cooperative learning style, with the students doing hands-on group activities during much of class time. These activities help students visualize mathematics and make connections between mathematics and the real world. Particular attention is paid to developing materials for students in teacher preparation programs and for the faculty who work with these pre-service teaching majors. Many mathematical topics will be integrated into each application. The materials are supported by the use of spreadsheets and the TI-82 calculator. To ensure accuracy, practitioners in a variety of fields will be consulted.
Revitalizing Undergraduate Number Theory
This project is developing and implementing (at Michigan Technological University and Arizona State University) course materials for an improved undergraduate number theory course. The new course incorporates many of the ideas and innovations that have been successfully employed in earlier mathematics education reform projects. New features integrated into the course include: the use of guided discovery as the primary mode of student learning; the use of Mathematica to facilitate numerical experimentation; collaboration between students to work on forming and investigating conjectures; a diminished emphasis on lectures; and student laboratory reports detailing results that have been obtained. The target audience for the proposed course is pre-service secondary mathematics teachers, who comprise the majority of students in the course. Materials being prepared include: pre-laboratory worksheets and homework assignments; Mathematica notebooks; documents to be distributed to students that describe the nature of the course and expectations for laboratory reports; and an instructor's guide to assist in implementation at other sites. All materials will be free and available to interested parties via anonymous ftp.
A One-Quarter, Inquiry-Based Physics Course for Pre-Service Elementary Teachers Using Gender-Neutral Course Materials
Jill A. Marshall
A revised introductory physics curriculum for pre-service teachers, particularly those at institutions employing the quarter system, features a series of hands-on activities and exploration/research projects and includes historical and current biographical material on scientists of both sexes and a diversity of racial backgrounds. The activities focus on areas – such as health and the environment – that have been shown to be of concern to students, particularly women. Effectiveness of the curriculum for both male and female students is being tested in the classroom and results will be disseminated in the literature and through electronic media. A final version of the curriculum will be made available through a publisher for general adoption.
Implementing the Standards for Introductory College Mathematics Before Calculus
Marilyn E. Mays
Standards for Introductory College Mathematics Before Calculus was developed with funding from the National Science Foundation and the Exxon Education Foundation to address the special needs of, establish standards for, and make recommendations about introductory precalculus college mathematics. The standards provide goals for introductory college mathematics and guidelines for selecting content and instructional strategies for accomplishing these goals. The goal of the project is to facilitate the implementation of the Standards. This is being accomplished by holding four regional workshops with the intention of: 1) informing a wider audience of the reform issues and proposed patterns and models for improving curriculum and instruction; 2) encouraging the formation of consortia of two- and four-year colleges and universities in each of several regions, which will continue to work on implementation projects; 3) reviewing current exemplary programs, materials, and activities at the introductory college mathematics level as well as relevant secondary programs based on the NCTM Standards; 4) providing workshop participants with information on relevant research in mathematics education, effective approaches to change, and suggestions for working with their administrations to provide effective mathematics education for their students; 5) preparing a compilation of reports on the implementation projects begun as a result of the regional workshops; and 6) making information on the AMATYC Standards available to all members of the mathematics community. The workshops are enabling faculty and administrators to: learn about successful programs that embody the Standards; observe or experience the process of learning through working in groups, in a laboratory setting, and/or using technology; and engage in active learning processes recommended by the Standards.
WWW and Internet Dissemination of Biology and Computer Labs for Prospective Elementary Teachers and of a Biology Test for Conceptual Understanding
Kathleen M. Fisher
This project is: 1) disseminating, via the World-Wide Web and the Internet, a series of biology modules for prospective elementary school teachers, each of which includes a hands-on laboratory activity, a computer-based knowledge-construction activity, and a Teacher's Guide; 2) developing, disseminating, and assessing a multiple choice test for the conceptual understanding of biology useful for testing prospective elementary school teachers, biology majors, and non-science majors; and 3) developing, refining, and testing several new biology laboratories designed to develop an understanding of evolution and ecology through in-class studies of population.
The biology modules aim to build competence and dispel alternative misconceptions in three areas: 1) Molecular (particulate theory of matter, diffusion, osmosis); 2) Organismal (body systems including circulatory, respiratory, digestive, and excretory); and 3) Population (concepts embedded in evolution including genetic variation, natural selection, competition, producers, food webs, and predation). Each demonstration biology laboratory is accompanied by a knowledge reflection activity supported primarily by SemNet software. The SemNet software will be distributed via a server established by SDSU. The multiple-choice test challenges students' conceptual understanding of biology. Students are asked to interpret items such as a brief description of a laboratory exercise, including graphical representation of results. Open-ended responses obtained initially are converted to multiple choices in which distracters represent commonly given misconceptions. The new biology laboratories are designed for use by undergraduate instructors of prospective elementary teachers, undergraduate education majors, pre-service and practicing teachers, and other interested persons.
The Complete Geography: A Model Curriculum for Pre-service Teachers in Cultural, Physical, Techniques, and Regional Geography
Miriam K. Lo
A four-volume manual of module exercises covering each of the four core areas of geographic education – cultural, physical, geographic techniques, and world regional geography – is being developed by teams of geographers, education faculty, technology consultants, and an advisory committee. The 'Cultural' and 'Physical' volumes are being produced in the first year, and the 'Techniques' and 'World Regional' volumes in the second year. The manual will be tested by an advisory committee for its consistency with the philosophies and objectives of GEO-Teach, a pre-service geography education program funded by FIPSE and currently being implemented at Mankato State University. GEO-Teach strives to model for students successful approaches to interdisciplinary teaching and a content- and process-based pedagogy that integrates up-to-date technology instruction into the curriculum; it is expected that the same principles will be integrated into this four-volume manual. Two external evaluators will conduct testing in large and small university classes outside Mankato State University. It is anticipated that the final product will be available for distribution to other pre-service geography/social studies programs in the spring of 1998.
Cryptography, The Science of Secret Writing: An Innovative Approach to Introductory Mathematics for Non-Science Majors
Terri E. Lindquester
This project is designed to refine a course and develop a text in cryptography – the science of designing methods to disguise secret messages. The goal is to provide an innovative alternative in introductory mathematics for beginning non-science majors as well as students preparing for certification in elementary and high school mathematics. This course is serving to replace more traditional beginning courses such as college algebra and trigonometry and finite mathematics, and is appropriate for all entering college students. The course covers classical cipher systems (systems used during World Wars I and II, for example), modern encryption systems, and error-correcting codes. Some topics presented in the text are: substitution ciphers, transposition ciphers, the RSA Algorithm, digital signatures, the Knapsack Algorithm, and one-way functions used for personal identification number (PIN) security. Mathematical topics to be presented at the beginning level include: modular arithmetic, probability and statistics, matrix arithmetic, number theory, and combinatorics. In an active learning environment utilizing technology, these mathematical tools are used to guide students in the breaking and constructing of cipher systems and in determining the strength and utility of ciphers. The project is being disseminated via a preliminary manual for the course to selected institutions that are beta testing the materials in classes, presentations at national meetings, and preparation of a text for commercial publication. An experienced evaluation team is providing an intensive evaluation of the project.
Lie Theory and Continuous Symmetry in the Undergraduate Curriculum
Roger E. Howe
The course being developed exhibits the unifying nature of continuous symmetry. The course begins by discussing symmetries that are directly related to concepts of physical space: dilations, rigid motions, similarities. It then introduces the basic concepts of linear algebra, and discusses geometric issues in two, three, and four dimensions, culminating in the special theory of relativity. Examples and applications are emphasized throughout. The course emphasizes interactive teaching, and will include extended projects with possibilities for group activities. An important project component, one which involves pre-service teachers, is the work with PIMMS, the leading mathematics and science education effort in the State of Connecticut. A text is planned along with computer laboratory materials. The overall goal of this work is to put students in touch with a major direction of intellectual advance in mathematics over the past century, and to take the ideas of mathematics education reform further into the undergraduate curriculum. The proposed course can be an alternative to a sophomore-level linear algebra course.
The Restructuring at SUNY Cortland of Science, Mathematics, and Pedagogy Experiences for K-6 Pre-Teachers
Bonnie B. Barr
SUNY Cortland has the largest elementary teacher preparation program in the State of New York. The current project resulted from an NSF CETP development project and is developing curriculum and instructional materials to implement a 27 credit hour block of experiences. In addition to the SUNY Cortland staff, science/mathematics faculty from five regional Community colleges are involved in the curriculum development and implementation phases of the project. A research/assessment team from Cornell University is evaluating all aspects of the project. The Level One block contains content courses specifically designed for K-6 pre-teachers and is taught using a conceptual change approach; Composition 101 is taught in conjunction with the Level One Science course. Pedagogy courses in both science and mathematics are taught in conjunction with the Level One content courses. In both pedagogy courses, the pre-teachers are involved in experiences with elementary school-aged students. The Level Two block is an integrated and interdisciplinary mathematics/science experience in which students are introduced to problem solving strategies and utilize the strategies to investigate six significant real world science problems. Mathematical concepts are being developed through the context of science content. During the Level Two block, pre-teachers work with elementary-aged children in a mathematics/science laboratory setting. In a culminating mathematics/science experience, the pre-teachers participate in a Science, Technology and Society (STS) block in which they are engaged in conducting real world STS research under the guidance of a faculty facilitator and a business/industry mentor. Each curricular block is pilot tested three times before the curriculum is integrated into the academic program of the host institution and that of the five satellite campuses.
LDAPS: An Innovative Solution for a Low-Cost, Exciting Laboratory Class in Engineering
This project is developing a laboratory experimentation curriculum for engineering students and liberal arts majors. Two courses are involved: an introductory class geared for first-year engineers and liberal arts students (primarily pre-service teachers engaged in teacher preparation programs), and a required junior-level mechanical engineering course. In the introductory course, students concentrate on simple experimentation techniques, learning how to interface a computer to an experiment, and how to do simple statistical analysis of the data. Students in the upper-level course learn the electronics behind the data acquisition systems, learn more in-depth signal processing, and work on oral and written skills.
The curriculum is based on the LDAPS, or Lego Data Acquisition and Prototyping System, which is a pedagogical technique originally developed for K-6 science education. The LDAP System uses Lego building blocks and a LabVIEW computer interface to provide the tools for students to design, build, instrument, and execute their own experiments. The building blocks give the student freedom in designing the experimental setup, while LabVIEW gives the signal processing freedom necessary to effectively interrogate the data. As examples; learning advanced digital filtering techniques by building a Lego gray-scale scanner or learning active control by building a car to drive around obstacles.
Workshop Physical Science: Project Based Science Education for Future Teachers, Citizens, and Parents
David P. Jackson
The Workshop Physical Science Project is a major effort to improve the science education of future K-8 teachers, parents, and citizens by developing a sequence of introductory laboratory courses in physical science. Guided inquiry is integrated with student-directed projects to help students acquire a better understanding of what practicing scientists actually do. This hands-on approach is aimed at changing the focus of introductory science courses from covering a large number of topics to helping students develop science process skills that will give them the confidence to undertake future investigations independently. The modular design of the curricular materials provides ample flexibility for instructors at other colleges and universities to adapt the program to their own environments. These materials are being developed for use in teacher preparation programs, general studies courses for non-science majors, and courses designed to inspire freshmen and sophomores to pursue science as a major. Curricular materials for a two-semester course sequence will be created and evaluated. Three different institutions: Dickinson College, the University of Nebraska, and Moorhead State University in Minnesota are conducting a two-year pilot test of the materials.
The Role of Randomness in Science: An Interdisciplinary Course for Non-Science Majors
H. Eugene Stanley
A new undergraduate interdisciplinary course in which students explore the key role of randomness in biology, chemistry, physics, and earth science is being created. Students are placed in the position of an independent investigator in order to convey a feeling for "what science really is." A version of these curriculum materials – experiments, simulations, and data analysis software – has already been developed as individual modules for high school science classes. These materials have been tested successfully in many settings, including: suburban and urban high schools in the Boston area; the classes of 35 teachers trained in a two-week summer workshop; as part of a course for liberal arts undergraduates; and as additions to existing physics, chemistry, and biology courses. The modules are being recast into a coherent one-semester course for liberal arts undergraduates. Significant features of the high school version, (i.e., a balanced combination of hands- on activities, experiments, and use of computers for modeling and data analysis), are retained; however, new topics are incorporated and more algebra is incorporated into all modules. Pre-service students participate in the development of course materials. Training workshops assist interested faculty from other institutions to incorporate these materials into new or existing courses. In addition to conventional dissemination channels, selected portions of the teaching materials will be made available on the Internet, along with student research reports, software, and teacher advisement.
Using Computer Technology and Multimedia Materials to Develop an Integrated Systems Approach to the Earth Sciences
Eugene W. Bierly
A series of computer modules is being developed to simulate the physical, chemical, and biological processes active in earth systems in ways not possible with traditional instructional methods. A primary focus of this project is the development of new instructional materials that provide future teachers with a solid knowledge base as well as an appreciation for the conduct of scientific inquiry. The computer models supplement classroom instruction by helping students visualize on scales "ranging from microns to mountains": dynamic processes that occur over geologic time, three dimensional structures, and geologic phenomena. The goals of this multimedia project are to develop curriculum materials that: 1) focus on the physical, chemical, and biological processes at work in earth systems; 2) incorporate multiple learning approaches (hands-on activities, visual aides, three-dimensional models, and system simulations); and 3) contain relevant and integrative problem solving. These materials are part of an integrated curriculum package in which the computer modules enhance the learning process. This project is a collaborative effort sponsored by the American Geophysical Union, with field testing of the materials at the University of Arizona, Glendale Community College, and other institutions. The project will affect 2000 liberal arts and education majors per year at these institutions. A CD-ROM of the computer exercises, a laboratory manual, and an instructor's manual will be developed for national dissemination.
AT-SLICE: Advanced Technologies and Simulations for Learning about Interactions in Complex Environments
Materials, including simulations, are being developed for three research-rich, inquiry-based courses and laboratories. The materials develop students' ability to identify environmental problems, to design and implement research to study these problems, to develop functional literacy in the analysis and interpretation of data, to attain functional literacy in the application and use of advanced technologies, and to draft technical reports. In addition to preparing students for careers in environmental science, the effort benefits future K-12 teachers, since all pre-service students must take a course in environmental sciences prior to admission into the major program. The targeted courses and laboratories are based on societal environmental foci: Nuclear Waste Storage, Coal Power Plants, and Solid Waste Landfills. The consortium of five institutions has formed an Interdisciplinary Faculty Institute to review and implement the simulations. The Institute is creating an across-institution infrastructure of professional development and collaboration through curriculum seminars and practical workshops for faculty. The use of an outside content review panel of industry and government experts grounds these courses in the real world processes. The model we are developing and quantifying will be used at other institutions, especially those with populations of Native-Americans and Hispanic-Americans.
Proposal to Develop and Implement a Model Integrated Introductory Science Course
Gothard C. Grey
The Natural World: Explorations in Science, an introductory, integrated science course for non-science and elementary education majors, is laboratory-based and experientially driven. It is designed around four major concepts: Matter and Energy, Change and Constancy, Diversity and Order, and Interactions. The goals of the course are to provide a strong science base to students preparing to be elementary teachers by: providing broad, integrated science knowledge; fostering the development of effective process-learning skills in science; and creating a continuing interest in science. The course features extensive writing, concept mapping, guided discovery laboratory experiences, readings in the history of science, review of popular journals, use of collaborative student teams, library/Internet research, quantifying, computer modeling, problem solving, and activities to develop critical thinking skills. Collaborations include the teaming of physics, chemistry, and biology faculty with a writing specialist to create the course, and with university science education faculty to assist in project evaluation. The integrated course can serve as a model for introductory science courses at similar small colleges and at teacher preparation institutions.
Redesigning the Introductory-Level Physics Course for Non-Science Majors
Marie C. Damas
The introductory physics course taken by most non-science majors, including education majors, is being redesigned to use methodologies that support student-centered learning, journal writing, ethnography, collaborative learning, and the development of study skills. The project has as its objectives: 1) preparation of material for a student-centered, active learning course; 2) preparation of faculty to teach the course; and 3) enhancement of students' academic and personal self-confidence as future scientists, educators, and citizens. The course is being developed with the participation of NYC Alliance, a project of the Alliance for Minority Participation (CAMP) program. It will be disseminated to serve as a model and resource for other colleges.
Biology in a Human Context: A New Course for Non-Science Majors
Carl A. Huether
This project improves undergraduate biology education for non-science majors in two-year and four-year colleges by creating, developing, and implementing a new and innovative year-long introductory biology course for non-science majors entitled: Biology in a Human Context. A team of faculty from all six University of Cincinnati academic units offering biology courses are working with faculty and staff from the University Center for Academic Technologies, the College of Education, the Office of Writing Across the Curriculum, and the General Education Council. The new course is a significant departure in both content and pedagogy from the existing traditional one. The course is taught by the biology faculty within their respective units, and fulfills both the collegiate and general education natural science requirements. Included are four, two-year and two, four-year colleges involving over 1,000 undergraduates annually, including students preparing to teach grades K-8. Biology majors preparing to be secondary teachers will participate as instructional assistants.
The Mathematics Teacher Development (MTD) Project
Martin A. Simon
The Mathematics Teacher Development (MTD) project is conducting detailed study of pre-service and in-service mathematics teachers as they develop from traditional conceptions of mathematics, learning, teaching, and classroom practice towards conceptions that are consistent with the current mathematics education reform principles. The project identifies patterns of teacher development, obstacles that must be overcome by developing teacher, and key issues that emerge in the development process. The project also seeks evidence for the effectiveness of teacher education practices in addressing the particular problems of mathematics teacher education. Data analysis is from a cognitive and a social perspective and focuses on the individual as well as the collective development of the teachers involved. The project employs a research methodology that incorporates whole-class constructivist teaching experiments in addition to case studies of individual participants to study the development of the prospective and in-service teachers during and following a three-year instructional program. Central to the MTD research effort is unique, extensive, and state-of-the-art teacher development programs designed to promote in-depth development as a context for inquiry.