Science and Math Integration: Current StatusPresented By: Elizabeth Tollefson and Pat GriffithELED 415
Arthur Wiebe (1989) of the AIMS Foundation holds:. . . “science and mathematics should be studied as a unified subject as a means of enriching and giving meaning to both. Separation impoverishes these disciplines, robbing them of the benefits that accrue from integration. Interrelating science and mathematics lets students have meaningful experiences in the classroom that parallel those they will find in the real world providing them with realistic preparation for careers in science and mathematics as informed citizens.”
Curriculum Integration • The concept of curriculum integration has developed over several decades. There is currently renewed activity and interest in this area, coinciding with educational reform and the development of curriculum and assessment standards • Much of the debate in the area appears to be centered around, on the one hand, promoting a student-centered approach that takes the experiences of young learners as a starting point for the curriculum and, on the other hand, the need to maintain the integrity of subject areas (K-6 Educational Resources Board of Studies, New South Wales, Australia)
Why attempt Math & Science Integration? • Students build strong understandings when they make many connections among ideas (Conceptual Learning) • Teachers save time because they don't always have to do separate units. • Teachers differentiate instruction by encouraging multiple representations and processes. • Math & Science have connections in the real world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! • Students will be tested with questions that contain both science and math concepts…………….
Table 1. Average mathematics scale scores of fourth-grade students, by country: 2003*United States fourth graders are ranked 12th out of 25 participating countries! TIMSS 2003
Table 2. Average science scale scores of fourth-grade students, by country: 2003 *United States fourth graders are ranked 6th out of 25 participating countries TIMSS 2003
Examples of TIMSS Questions Given to Fourth Graders in Science & Math
1. The picture shows a block of wood floating in fresh water. If this block were placed in salt water from the ocean, which picture would happen? A. B. C. D. Science Question
9. This chart shows temperature readings at different times on four days. When was the highest temperature recorded? A. Noon on Monday B. 3 p.m. on Monday C. Noon on Tuesday D. 3 p.m. on Wednesday Math Question
Support Your Students in Science and Math! • Find exciting and engaging ways to integrate math & science • Have realistic and achievable expectations for your students • Promote science and math with real world curriculum connections • Encourage ALL students to explore math and science careers • Take students to museums, planetariums, laboratories, etc. • Have math and science experts visit the classroom to show it’s value in society
What considerations do I need to be aware of as a teacher if I would like to integrate math and science in my curriculum?
For many students, science and math are intimidating subjects. Low achieving and average students tend to shy away from such courses as they represent unfamiliar and difficult concepts. Stereotypic images and expectations, lack of self-confidence, and failure to perceive relevance are some of the reasons that females are so greatly underrepresented in courses in mathematics, science, and technology. (Fear-Fenn and Kapostasy 1992).
Other factors that need to be considered in an integrated curriculum: • Common definitions of terms (such as theme, strand, or outcome) • Available resources • Flexibility in scheduling • Support services • Subjects and concepts that will be integrated • Links between integration and broader outcomes (Gehrke 1991; Jacobs 1989; Lipson 1993; MacIver 1990)
Other factors that need to be considered in an integrated curriculum (cont.): • Curricular scope and sequence • How evaluation will occur • Parent and community support • Themes that promote the transfer of learning and connections • Team planning time that is used to exchange information about content, students, special areas of teacher expertise, and teaching methods (Gehrke 1991; Jacobs 1989; Lipson 1993; MacIver 1990)
Dangers of Improper Math & Science Integration! • Content maybe sacrificed in order to attempt to find situation where both math & science is present • Not relating material to required standards • Trying to hard to connect ideas in math & science that do not naturally seem to fit (wasting time) • Not taking enough time to develop the connections through activities and experiments with math & science
Some Careers in Math & Science: • Engineer • Pharmacist • Cryptographer • Urban Planner • Meteorologist • Computer Programmer • Chemist • Botanist • Oceanographer • Astronomer
Resources (Journals & Books) • Fear-Fenn, M., and Kapostasy, K. K. Math + Science + Technology = Vocational Preparation for Girls. Columbus: Center for Sex Equity, The Ohio State University, 1992. (ED 341 863) • Gehrke, N. "Explorations of Teachers' Development of Integrative Curriculums." Journal of Curriculum Supervision 6/2 (1991): 107-112. • Jacobs, H. H. Interdisciplinary Curriculum: Design and Implementation. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1989. • Lipson, M.; Valencia, S.; Wixson, K.; and Peters, C. "Integration and Thematic Teaching: Integration to Improve Teaching and Learning." Language Arts 70/4 (1993): 252-264. • MacIver, D. "Meeting the Need of Young Adolescents: Advisory Groups, Interdisciplinary Teaching Teams, and School Transition Programs." Phi Delta Kappan 71/6 (1990): 458-465.
Web Resources (Cont.) • www.nces.ed.gov (National Center for Education Statistics) • http://www.nwrel.org (Northwest Regional Educational Library) • http://k6.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au (K-6 Educational Resources Board of Studies, New South Wales, Australia)