Examining the Effects of a Reformed Junior High School Science Class on Student’ math achievement Eugene Judson and Daiyo Sawada
Background • There is a lot of information about why we should integrate math/science, but not much research about if it really helps. • Middle school is the first place where math and science are taught separately. • This did not start our as a study, it was data collected when the teacher integrated math in his science class.
What happened at Avalon Junior High • Mr. J at Avalon Junior High teaches science - he wanted to integrate math into his classes. • Mrs. Matheson taught 2 sections of Math – she was a typical “book teacher”- she did not think she had time to integrate science in her classes. • One of Mrs. Matheson’s class had Mr. J for science; the other students had another science teacher. • Math classes spent 3 weeks studying Range, Mean, Median and mode. • Mr. J had his science students use probe technology (graphing calculators and motion detectors) to answer open ended questions that related to what they were learning in math.
Three Observations • Teacher’s who are made to go to workshops are less likely to incorporate new ideas than those who choose to go. • Teacher’s who are willing to spend extra time to set up technology are more likely to use it. • Teachers who are responsible for high stakes tests but don’t believe that student centered teaching will result in high scores are less likely to use student centered teaching techniques.
Conclusion • “When inquiry-oriented activities involving data-generating technologies are used to integrate statistical concepts and techniques into 8th grade science, the statistics achievement of these students is significantly higher than that achieved by students not involved in such integrative activity. • Math students scored better on Math assignments, but science students did not show any improvement. • Is it the “extra time” spent in science on the “math” topic that resulted in the higher math grades, or was it the methods alone the reason for the higher scores. • More research is needed.