Active learning of scale and proportionality : a STEM approach

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Montana State University - Bozeman, Graduate School


It is oftentimes difficult for students to transfer and use prior knowledge in one subject into another class. In the middle school setting, the math concepts that are needed to conduct many science labs are a challenge for students to complete, or students find it difficult to make connections through the problem solving component in a science activity. This study was implemented with a sixth grade class that has math and science as a block of time with the same teacher, (math 50 minutes and then science 50 minutes), and none of the students had individual education plans. The major focus of this study wanted to determine if using an integration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) principles develops a deeper understanding of scaling and proportional reasoning by using interactive computer and online simulations (three lessons online for part of a unit called "Scale City"). This study also wanted to determine whether students would gain self confidence in both solving math problems as well as being more comfortable using simulations. Student attitude and confidence surveys were given pre and post treatment. At the beginning and end of each of the lessons, students completed a pre-and post-assessment. During days of the lesson where students used the interactive computer or online simulations, a brief end-of-the class feedback/reflection form was used to analyze possible fluctuations in confidence level using simulations and interactives as well as problem solving confidence levels. Data was triangulated and analyzed to determine results.




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