Donna Alford
Patty Benitez
Harold Wiggs Middle School
Martha Costanzo
Richardson Middle School
Julio Escajeda
Henderson Middle School
Rosa Loya
Magoffin Middle School
Richard O’Malley
Canyon Hills Middle School
University mentors: Dr. Art Duval, Lien Diaz, Mariano
Silva Investigation of Collegial CampusBased Professional
Development and Teacher Isolation in Conceptual Mathematics
Classes at Predominantly MexicanAmerican Populated Middle
Schools
The focus of this project was to determine
how teachers react to lesson study as a staff development
model that
they help construct. Lesson study is a professional development
process in which teachers work collaboratively on planning,
teaching, observing, and critiquing a small number of "study
lessons." In this project, six teachers engaged
in lesson study to implement the Connected Mathematics
Project (CMP; a conceptuallybased curriculum) in seventhgrade
math classrooms. Two teachers implementing CMP in their
classrooms, but not engaging in lesson study, were included
in the project for comparison. All teachers will participate
in interviews and assessments of their pedagogical content
knowledge. Also, students in all teachers' classrooms
will be administered pre and postassessments on problem
solving. Lesson study teachers reported greatest satisfaction
with critical reflection on lessons, as in one case where
they revised a lesson on probability based on observational
evidence of students' thinking processes.
Maria Luisa Arroyo
Leslie Gardner
El Dorado High School
University mentor: Dr. Eric Hagedorn
Creating
a Scientific Community Using Local Ecological Awareness
This project was developed with the goal of increasing
students' interest in science as well as to educate them
and their community about the science around them and
how it affects them on a personal level. Participants
(n = 129) include seventh, eighth, and ninth graders
who are involved with the development of a Chihuahuan
Desert ecosystem within their school. The campus ecosystem
will serve as an outdoor classroom in which students
will develop scientific inquiry and critical thinking
skills. Before beginning the ecosystem project, participants
completed a survey to assess their attitudes toward science
based on their past experiences with learning science.
Results showed the survey measured multiple factors,
corresponding to the variety of science learning experiences
the participants have had. Participants' interest in
science has increased with engagement in activities such
as the production of a lab manual and websites pertaining
to the Chihuahuan Desert.
*Antonio Borunda
Bowie High School
University mentors: Dr. Eric Hagedorn, Eva de la Riva,
Dr. Sally Blake, Dr. Mourat Tchoshanov, Dr. Kastro Hamed
Implementation of a Balanced Conceptual and Procedural
Curriculum at a Predominantly Hispanic High School to
Improve Performance on the StateMandated Algebra End
of Course Exam
This project examines the influence of the Connected
Mathematics Project (CMP) on ninth grade algebra classes
at a predominantly Hispanic high school. CMP is a middle
school curriculum that balances procedural and conceptual
approaches to mathematics instruction. Participants (n
= 122) were enrolled in Algebra I or ESL Algebra I classes.
In a quasiexperimental design, participants were taught
using either a traditional or CMP curriculum and were
administered content pre and posttests. Because the
data differed from normality, nonparametric statistics
were used to compare pre and posttests within and across
the different groups. Results show that students taught
using the CMP curriculum performed as well as or better
than those taught using the traditional curriculum.
Alex Bustillos
Susan Spotts
Harold Wiggs Middle School
University mentors: Dr. Sally Blake, Dr. Mourat Tchoshanov
The Influence of Developmental Levels of Thinking on
the Understanding of Advanced Mathematical Concepts among
Middle School Students
Data from mathematics, science, and engineering majors
at the University of Texas at El Paso show that 36% of
high school graduates and firstyear students were placed
in college precalculus courses, but only 15% were placed
in calculus courses. One reason for this is that few
students take a calculus course in high school. Data
from the National Assessment of Educational Progress
(2003) shows that only 1012% of high school students
take calculus. This percentage drops significantly for
minorities: only 34% of Hispanic high school students
take calculus. Participants (n = 120) included sixth,
seventh, and eighth grade students who are predominantly
Hispanic (98%) and socioeconomically disadvantaged (85%).
Participants engaged in a series of activities to learn
about the calculus concepts of limit, derivative, and
rate of change. Pre and posttests were administered
to assess conceptual understanding at each grade level.
Results showed a significant gain of knowledge on all
three calculus concepts for all grade levels.
*Michael Garcia
*Susan Spotts
Harold Wiggs Middle School
University mentors: Dr. Sally Blake, Dr.
Mourat Tchoshanov
Investigation of Conceptual and Procedural Based Curricula
among Seventh Grade Students at a Predominantly Hispanic
Middle School
Controversy has long reigned concerning
the “best” approach
for teaching mathematics to all students, but particularly
to “high risk” populations. Mathematics pedagogy
grounded in Vygotskian theory approaches mathematics
as a conceptual system rather than as a collection of
discrete procedures. It involves intense coverage of
advanced topics that in the United States are typically
reserved for students in schools at higher socioeconomic
levels. Participants (n = 182) were enrolled in the seventh
grade at a middle school with a predominantly Hispanic
(89%) and lower socioeconomic (85%) population. Participants
were taught about integers using one of three pedagogical
approaches: traditional, conceptual, or a combination
of the two approaches. Analyses of the pre and posttests
indicate that the procedural approach resulted in the
highest mean improvement. However, analysis of the test
material indicated that the tests were procedural in
nature, so it is unclear whether the tests reflected
students' conceptual understanding.
Rosa Harding
Ernesto Herrera
El Dorado High School
University mentors: Dr. Milijana Suskavcevic,
Dr. Eric Hagedorn
The Impact of Introducing Physics Concepts
in a Biology Course on Students’ Interest in Physics
In
this study, the authors hypothesized that by introducing
physics concepts in a biology course and using handson
activities, student interest in physics would increase
as well as enrollment in physics. Participants (n = 129)
included seventh, eighth, and ninth grade students. Prior
to the intervention to introduce physics, participants
completed a science curiosity scale that assessed interest
in physics and intent to enroll in a physics course.
One finding was that 65% of participants could not describe
physics. Following the intervention, students had a better
understanding of the basic nature of physics. Ninth graders
showed the most significant shift in their opinions:
37 of the 50 that participated changed their perceptions
of the difficult nature of physics. Perhaps the greatest
obstacle to increasing the number of students interested
in and able to excel in physics is overcoming the "fear
factor" that students associate with this science.
Miles Kettel
*Stella Woo
Silva Magnet High School
University mentor: Dr. Hamide DunlapDogan Technology in the Classroom
The major obstacle that the authors' students face is
connecting abstract mathematical concepts with symbolic
definitions. The authors carried out a study to see if
integrating technology into the geometry curriculum will
improve students' understanding of geometry along with
their attitudes and in turn increase test scores. Participants
(n = 120) were ninth and tenth grade geometry students,
half of whom were taught using the geometric drawing
software Geometer's Sketchpad and the other half were
taught in the traditional way. Participants were administered
a pre and postsurvey on their feelings about mathematics
and technology and a pre and posttest on mathematical
concepts. Students in both groups showed improvement
on their posttests from their pretests, however, the
test scores of the two groups did not significantly differ
from each other. The control group seemed to understand
the concepts, but was not as enthusiastic as the experimental
group about discovering geometric properties.
*Yogesh P. Velankar
Americas High School
University mentor: Dr. Matthew Winsor
Implementation of the Connected Mathematics Project
(CMP) Curriculum in High School Algebra Courses
This project was designed to compare the effectiveness
of the Connected Mathematics Project (CMP) versus traditional
teaching methods in algebra courses at a predominantly
Hispanic high school. Connected Mathematics is a curriculum
built around mathematical problems that help students
understand concepts in number, geometry, measurement,
algebra, probability, and statistics. Since research
on CMP has been conducted at the middle school level,
this study was an opportunity to explore its value at
the high school level. Participants (n = 74) were either
in a control group where only lectureoriented traditional
teaching methods were used or in an experimental group
that followed the CMP curriculum. Participants were administered
a multiple choice pretest and posttest. Results showed
that the control group had a higher gain in scores than
the experimental group. More studies are needed over
a longer period to determine the effectiveness of CMP
for high school algebra courses.
* Recipients of MSP Action Research Supplemental Award
20042005
Please note: Project descriptions were edited from their
original form for brevity.
