The effects of direct mathematical instruction in science classes on mathematical based science reasoning
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Students at Belgrade High School appear to have limited understanding of the interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning, and problem-solving skills required in the natural sciences. I suspect that this is the result of inadequate direct instruction in mathematical based science reasoning skills. The goal of this project was for students to be able to use and articulate mathematical reasoning strategies when approaching scientific tasks. To accomplish this, sophomore level Biology (Genetics) curriculum was pervaded with mathematical instruction. This project investigated the effectiveness of implementing direct mathematics instruction in sophomore level Biology courses to improve mathematics based science reasoning skills at Belgrade High School in Belgrade, Montana. Students explored Genetics based Biology concepts while receiving direct instruction on statistical analysis as a tool for developing scientific reasoning skills, such as, scientific claim, evidence, and reasoning. Data collection for this project involved completion of scoring rubrics by both the student and teacher following a Genetics based laboratory exercise, as well as, a Genetics summative assessment concluding the three-week unit of study. Students were evaluated on a point scale that included: stating a claim, providing evidence, data-based reasoning, and making an argument. The results indicated that by implementing direct Mathematics instruction on standards-based Biology concepts, students gained a greater understanding of Genetics concepts and were able to develop a more thorough claim, evidence, reasoning explanation for a standard Genetics laboratory investigation.