Mix It Up Program Evaluation of Teacher Professional Development Correlated Space Science and Geology and Mathematics
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This study is based on the new model of linking science and mathematics called Correlated Science and Mathematics (CSM) in two science led courses, Correlated Geology and Mathematics and Correlated Space Science and Mathematics. The model is unique in that it links mathematics and science thoroughly with seven fundamental goals: (1) teaching for conceptual understanding; (2) using each discipline’s proper language; (3) making the natural links between the disciplines; (4) identifying language that is confusing to students; (5) using standards-based learning objectives; (6) identifying the parallel ideas between the disciplines when possible; and (7) using a 5E inquiry format for science and mathematics when appropriate. The study utilized a mixed-method research design which has components of both qualitative and quantitative instruments and was used to evaluate the research questions framing this study. The professional development took place during the summer of 2008, and consisted of 10 mathematics and science teacher teams. The data consisted of teachers’ demographics including analysis of transcripts, certification and current teaching assignment, pre and posttests results, structured principal and teacher interviews, classroom observations, as well as, student reflections, student pre and posttests and TAKS scores. The data analysis indicates that the teachers significantly increased their content knowledge in space science and geology. However, the science and mathematics teachers did not significantly improve their mathematics content knowledge. Overall, teachers improved their understanding of the CSM Model and adapted an integrated approach to mathematics and science in their classroom, and improved their instructional skills such as inquiry, and mathematics and science manipulatives. The student descriptive data analysis suggests that one 7th grade mathematics class and one 8th grade science had significant improvement on the student pre and posttests. Remaining science and mathematics classes showed positive trends but no significant improvement.