2019 RiSE June Conference- Talks

Talk Session 1 (Monday, June 24 8:50-9:30)

1. Opportunities for reasoning impact students’ math attitudes and course performance
Heather Johnson, Associate Professor of Mathematics Education, University of Colorado Denver.

Interacting with digital math “techtivities,” linking video animations and dynamic graphs, impacted College Algebra students’ mathematical reasoning, attitudes, and performance.
Through the techtivities, students have opportunities to learn how mathematical systems, such as graphs, work. Not only are students showing gains in reasoning, they are demonstrating
higher perceived competence with math and graphs. Learn how a focus on reasoning and exploration, rather than answer finding, promoted students’ learning opportunities.

2. Responsive Innovation: Developing a Research Practice Partnership that Integrates Literacy and Science Education
Caroline Stabile, Assistant Director, GEMS-Net Project, University of Rhode Island

Come learn from the experience of the GEMS-Net project at the University of Rhode Island about how their research practice partnership came to understand and enact an integrated literacy and science program. Since 1995 GEMS-Net has leveraged the collective expertise of those within the partnership to successfully navigate policy changes at both national and local levels while maintaining a strong foundation grounded in science and literacy educational research. As a networked improvement community we have developed the capacity for responsive innovation. We incorporate what we learn from both our practitioners and from research into strong and sustainable programming. Our project supports a model of ongoing professional learning that ensures opportunities for all teachers within the partnership to learn and grow throughout their careers.

3.How learning cycles can actively engage students in chemical thinking
Mitchell Bruce, Professor of Chemistry, University of Maine

Learning cycles involve an ordered progression of activities which are designed to help learners sequence and coordinate information. Atkin and Karplus created a learning cycle for elementary school students to mirror scientific thinking when analyzing phenomenon. This learning cycle has been the basis for a variety of strategies for high school and college chemistry courses, such as the EIA (Explore Invent Apply) learning cycle and POGIL (Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning). CORE (chemical observations, representation, and experimentation) is a new learning cycle based on the Atkin and Karplus approach, which adds a focus on thinking about what occurs on the atomic scale, to help students develop chemical thinking skills. The talk will introduce these learning cycles, illustrate how the CORE approach targets chemical thinking in a laboratory activity, and present evidence of student work.

Joe Walter, Shirly Avargil,§ and Alice Bruce

Department of Chemistry, University of Maine, Orono, Maine 04469, Unites States
Center for Research in STEM Education, University of Maine, Orono, Maine 04469, United States
§Faculty of Education in Science and Technology, Technion, Haifa, 3200008, Israel 

Talk Session 2 (Monday, June 24, 9:35-10:15 am)

1. Physical science instruction and assessment in the middle-school: Comparisons and contrasts with college-level instruction
David Meltzer, Associate Professor in Science and Mathematics, Arizona State University.

I will discuss some instructional experiences I had in teaching science classes for grades 5-8 over a period of five years, as well as a variety of assessment issues that became apparent during these experiences. In this context, I will discuss some of my findings regarding quantitative measures of learning progress when teaching physics to middle-school students. In particular, I will focus on my efforts to take research-based instructional and assessment materials developed at the college level, and modify and adapt them for use in grades 5-8. I will describe various issues related to assessment, including the importance of clarity in wording, the need for multiple measures to ascertain consistency, and the need to recognize “decay” of learning gains over time.

2. An Introduction to the Oklahoma STEM Framework
Tiffany Neill, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Oklahoma State Department of Education

STEM is a phrase that has numerous and diverse meanings to individuals. Some individuals may see STEM as a set of skills that include critical thinking and problem solving. Others may include an emphasis on content related to science and mathematics. While, some may simply be wondering what STEM means at all. In this session, participants will learn about the development and use of a STEM Framework in Oklahoma aimed at support educators and education stakeholders in developing a shared understanding of STEM.

3. Coming Soon…

Talk Session 3 (Monday, June 23, 10:35-11:15 am)

1. Integrating Science and Engineering in NGSS-designed Classrooms
Kate Cook, STEM Education Specialist, Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance

One of the key conceptual shifts in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) is the integration of engineering and technology into the science curriculum as distinct and essential components of science education.  This is achieved by raising engineering design to the same level of science inquiry in all classroom instruction. In this session, participants will learn how science and engineering can be integrated in distinct yet mutually reinforcing ways in NGSS-designed instruction.  Powerful examples from a variety of grade levels and disciplines will be shared. Participants will leave with a strong sense for how to integrate science and engineering in NGSS-designed Units.

2. The Implementation of Quantitative Reasoning in Biology Instruction
Ann Cleveland, Professor of Marine Biology, Maine Maritime Academy

BIO2010 (National Resource Council 2003) and Vision and Change: a Call to Action (American Association for the Advancement of Science 2010) laid out new approaches to the teaching and pedagogy of undergraduate biological sciences. These documents focused on core concepts and skills needed for success upon graduation. One core skill identified by these documents was the ability to use quantitative reasoning (QR). Biology increasingly relies on quantitative analysis and mathematical reasoning. From mapping neural networks to predicting changes in global climate, an increased need for data analysis and data management skills among undergraduate biology students continues to emerge. Despite this need, students have difficulty in performing simple calculations, representing data graphically, and articulating data-driven arguments. My research focusses on the use of quantitative skills in the introductory/general majors biology course sequence. I am interested in learning to what extent faculty of these introductory courses incorporate teaching of quantitative reasoning skills. My hope is that an understanding of current instructional practices may inform effective teaching of general biology at secondary and post-secondary levels to more effectively integrate and streamline skills transfer as students move into higher education.

3. A Driver for Integrated STEM Education: Quantitative Reasoning
Franziska Peterson, Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education and RiSE Center Faculty, University of Maine

Quantitative reasoning (QR) is mathematics and statistics applied in real-life, authentic situations that impact an individual’s life as a constructive, concerned, and reflective citizen. QR problems are context dependent, interdisciplinary, open-ended tasks that require critical thinking and the capacity to communicate a course of action (Mayes, Peterson, & Bonilla, 2013). QR is not meant to replace mathematics or statistics in any way; rather, it should be a supporting partner guiding students to navigate the quantitative demands of today’s society. In this talk we will identify some context-dependent QR components within science topics. Working across disciplines demands that teachers use language agreed upon across disciplines and QR could be the driver for integrated STEM education.

Talk Session 4 (Monday, June 23, 11:20 am -12:00 pm)

1. Helping students understand covariation in linear and exponential functions
Tim Boester, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, University of Maine

What types of questions or classroom experiences can help students learn how to describe changing quantities? This talk will connect two different projects focused on the research of student thinking of covariation, the “reasoning about values of two or more quantities varying simultaneously” (Thompson & Carlson, 2017). First we’ll examine how a sixth grade classroom developed meta-representational competence of the slope of linear functions. Then we’ll turn our attention to how undergraduates taking MAT 122 at the University of Maine, using the Pathways Pre-Calculus curriculum, develop the concept of exponential growth.

2. Characterizing mathematical reasoning in a chemistry context
Marcy Towns, Professor of Chemistry and Director of General Chemistry, Purdue University, Indiana

Research indicates mathematical ability is correlated to success in undergraduate chemistry courses, and given the role of mathematics in describing processes and modeling phenomena, it is important to investigate how students understand and use mathematics in
chemistry. Here we describe the use and adaption of an analytical framework for investigating mathematical reasoning. Our work utilizes Sherin’s (2001) symbolic forms, which characterize mathematical resources that involve attributing ideas to patterns in an equation. In our work, we have expanded on the symbolic forms framework, adopting the analogous construct “graphical forms”, which reflect mathematical ideas about graphs. By providing examples from our recent work, we illustrate analysis involving symbolic and graphical forms, focusing on the insights gained for classroom practices from this approach.

3. Building Better Student Modelers
Marisa Castronova, Adjunct Lecturer, Department of Education, Caldwell University

Many students are unsure what it means to be a good modeler. This is because students are not always given ample opportunity to “think about” their models. That is, deciding what scientific evidence and ideas should be included and why. Students are also not given enough opportunity to “think with” their models to explain and predict phenomena. In this talk, the presenter will showcase how to foster both types of student thinking through use of a three- pronged strategy. The presenter will show evidence of using this strategy in an original, instructional context so that attendees can see specific questions and talk moves used to promote student thinking “about” and “with” models. Discussing the strategy in context also highlights how to increase student agency for the practice thereby promoting better epistemic understanding of modeling.