1. Rachel Levy
  2. https://www.math.hmc.edu/~levy/
  3. Professor of Mathematics and Associate Dean for Faculty Development
  4. IMMERSION
  5. http://mathematicalmodeling.wixsite.com/mysite
  6. Harvey Mudd College
  1. Kristi Gaines
  2. Curriculum Specialist
  3. IMMERSION
  4. http://mathematicalmodeling.wixsite.com/mysite
  5. Bozeman School District
  1. Jennifer M Suh
  2. http://mason.gmu.edu/~jsuh4
  3. Associate Professor of Math education
  4. IMMERSION
  5. http://mathematicalmodeling.wixsite.com/mysite
  6. George Mason University
  1. Padmanabhan Seshaiyer
  2. http://math.gmu.edu/~pseshaiy/outreach.html
  3. Professor of Mathematical Sciences and Director of COMPLETE Center
  4. IMMERSION
  5. http://mathematicalmodeling.wixsite.com/mysite
  6. George Mason University, National Science Foundation
  1. LeAnne Yenny
  2. Teacher, grade 5
  3. IMMERSION
  4. http://mathematicalmodeling.wixsite.com/mysite
  5. Montana State University, Bozeman School District
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Andrew Izsak

    Andrew Izsak

    Researcher
    May 15, 2017 | 02:26 p.m.

    Your interview snippets demonstrate teachers' engagement. Do you have examples of elementary grades modeling tasks that are particularly exciting for students? 

     
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  • Icon for: Rachel Levy

    Rachel Levy

    Presenter
    May 16, 2017 | 09:49 p.m.

    Yes - we have a few posted here, but we will be sharing more in the future.  http://mathematicalmodeling.wixsite.com/mysite

    We like for the tasks to be grounded in local issues or interests of the students, so these tasks can be modified to suit a local context or different grade level.

     
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  • Icon for: Rachel Levy

    Rachel Levy

    Presenter
    May 16, 2017 | 11:59 p.m.

    One thing we have noticed is that design-based tasks are engaging, but teachers have to be careful to facilitate the modeling projects so that students use mathematics to justify the design choices they make.  For example, if they are designing a zoo, they could decide to have 3 elephants.  There needs to be some mathematical reason that 3 is the chosen number, so that they are using mathematics to make the decision about how many elephants is feasible (and maybe even optimal).

     
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  • Icon for: Kip Glazer

    Kip Glazer

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2017 | 09:30 p.m.

    As a school administrator, I know how challenging it can be to involve local school districts in research projects. I am delighted to see that you have not only been able to be in multiple states but also work with 3 different districts as a result of that. Do you have any suggestions for teachers and researchers who are interested in creating such partnerships?

     
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  • Icon for: Rachel Levy

    Rachel Levy

    Presenter
    May 16, 2017 | 09:49 p.m.

    One thing that was helpful for me as a researcher was to very early start conversations with the school district about past projects.  It helped to know what had worked well and what the district was looking for in the future.  We also met monthly before the first professional development to get to know each other and try a pilot project.  The local elementary math specialist, who runs regular PD for teachers has been a critical part of the recruiting process.  She is a great champion of this work and almost all the teachers said they attended because she recommended the program!  It has also been great to have the support of district administrators who participate in our meet and greet and conference.

     
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  • Icon for: Miriam Gates

    Miriam Gates

    Researcher
    May 17, 2017 | 03:19 p.m.

    I was also curious about this and further I wondered about cross-site participation. Do teachers at different sites have opportunities to meet and discuss their work together? I'm particularly curious because of your discussion of context for tasks and place-based nature of tasks mentioned by Kristi below, it seems to me teachers in the different contexts would have a lot to discuss.

     
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  • Icon for: Jennifer M Suh

    Jennifer M Suh

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2017 | 03:34 p.m.

    Miriam, 

    That is a brilliant question and comment! Yes, we tried to encourage that cross site dialogue during our summer PD weeks through Twitter. However, at the time, they were tweeting more about their own professional learning. As project investigators we have talked to our advisory board about the uniqueness of the three different geographic sites and some of the similarities and differences. We noted that many of the successful MM tasks tend to be set in local contexts, service learning, place based nature as you mentioned. These tasks emerged from teachers who leveraged their local contexts so we believe that we need to do more to examine this in our current year. In fact, one of the exciting opportunities for us will be to do this at the next PMENA working group. PMENA is the Psychology of Mathematics Education group in North America and this year it is in Indianapolis Oct 5-8. We are so excited to have this working group focused on Mathematical Modeling in the Earlier Grades where teachers and district math specialists can come together and share more about the cross site studies. Thanks for asking!!!

     

     
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  • Icon for: Ben Sayler

    Ben Sayler

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2017 | 05:07 p.m.

    I'm curious to know if you're working with specific curricular materials (like Investigations, Everyday Math, etc.), or is the program independent of specific curricular materials. I'm also curious about the structure of the professional development.

     
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  • Icon for: Rachel Levy

    Rachel Levy

    Presenter
    May 16, 2017 | 09:49 p.m.

    The program is independent of the materials and each of our sites has different curricula.  Our district, which is common core, noted that our work has been very complementary to the goals in their curriculum.

     
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  • Icon for: Kristi Gaines

    Kristi Gaines

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2017 | 12:51 a.m.

    Hi Ben,

    I'm one of the lead teacher's from Montana who's been involved in IMMERSION. Our district has opted not to purchase materials since our adoption of the CCSS-Math, as we've only just recently identified core resource materials we feel are now truly aligned enough to justify a purchase. Teacher's who've received this PD share that the relevant, often place-based, opportunities they can provide for students through this training and collaborative cohort have allowed them to address standards and math practices in very authentic ways outside of any program. 

     

    I would describe the structure of the professional development used in Montana as a blended model. Teachers participate in a one week, face-to-face training. Near the end of this week, participants are grouped with a cohort with whom they collaborate over the next couple of months as they prepare for and deliver the instructional unit in their classroom. Members of the lead team meet with these groups for continued support. After the modeling unit has been completed in each classroom, teachers return to campus for a debriefing activity. Those who wish may continue to receive support in implementing more opportunities for their students. Many members of our cohorts have stayed in touch and continue to work with one another on developing new modeling opportunities.

     
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  • Icon for: Jennie Lyons

    Jennie Lyons

    Facilitator
    May 17, 2017 | 01:15 p.m.

    Are there results about the success in student learning, critical thinking skill development, changes in teamwork, collaboration as the process is implemented by the teachers? While the students are "making connections" and "loving the work," is the project limited to the teacher preparation?  

     
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  • Icon for: Jennifer M Suh

    Jennifer M Suh

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2017 | 02:15 p.m.

    HI Jennie, 

    From our teacher case studies, we have teachers who have reported how Math Modeling tasks in the elementary classroom elicited the 21st century skills of Critical Thinking, Creativity, Communication and Collaboration. 

    For example, in one of their MM projects, students were designing their "Best" family trip and creating a math model to describe the cost, and time for each of the trips. Below is one of the excerpt: 

    Critiquing and defending their “best” trip- One of the most important stages of math modeling is the evaluation stage where students critique their model. This was a perfect opportunity to have students share their mathematics solution and get feedback. In defending their best trip, students had an opportunity to offer their rationale for why their trip was the best. Some cited that their trip was the best because it was the most economical and fun, the closest and fun, and the most entertaining for all age groups. These criterion led to a great discussion about using ranking model as a way to determine the best under different circumstance.

     

    Another example where MM elicited Creativity was in our "School Store MM task". Below is another excerpt from our teacher's case report-

    For the problem of “How to handle dead stock”, we also observed creativity and innovation in mathematics as students pondered different ideas for dealing with their dead stock dilemma. As mentioned above, the dead stock problem was an issue identified by the students. Students came up with a variety of ideas including a price drop, a buy-one-get-one free (BOGO), and a give-away-with- purchase plan. As discussed above, they presented their proposals to each other by graphically representing their predicted sales. After listening to and evaluating each others’ mathematical reasoning, students selected the BOGO option. By discovering fresh insights and communicating them to others in this process, students had the opportunity to understand that mathematics is a creative endeavor that builds on previous knowledge.

    Thanks for your question and I hope this helps give you a flavor of the successes in student learning! 

     
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  • Icon for: Rachel Levy

    Rachel Levy

    Presenter
    May 18, 2017 | 10:06 a.m.

    One interesting aspect of the Pomona Unified School District group is the inclusion of English Language Learner teachers (most classrooms have significant numbers of ELL students), Special Education Teachers, Language Specialists and Dual Language teachers (Spanish/English and Mandarin/English).  These teachers are reporting new mathematical opportunities that modeling provides their students and new ways that they are seeing their students engage mathematics.  While our current work focuses on teachers, we plan to probe these impacts on students more deeply in the future.

     
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  • Icon for: Ben Sayler

    Ben Sayler

    Facilitator
    May 17, 2017 | 06:24 p.m.

     Has the project come to an end? How are you thinking about sustaining the work?

     
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  • Icon for: Jennifer M Suh

    Jennifer M Suh

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2017 | 06:30 p.m.

    Hi Ben,

    It's a lot of fun responding to these questions :-) We are in the last year of our project. (YEAR 3). We would definitely like to explore ways to continue this work. A natural way we have planned to sustain this work was by engaging district leaders and teacher leaders as our co-designers and co instructors. We have also selected school teams to participate so that we can build a collective cohort of teachers who can sustain and multiply our efforts within the district. One exciting trend has been to see how some of our year 1 participants have become our teacher leaders and lesson study facilitators for year two's cohort. Our district leaders are definitely "All In". Some of them see Mathematical Modeling as a wonderful content focused PBL approach which many districts are encouraging. They are seeing how MM is promoting the 21st century skills while adding rigor to the mathematics curriculum.  We hope that we can sustain the work with these talented teacher designers and supportive district leaders!

     

     
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  • Icon for: Rachel Levy

    Rachel Levy

    Presenter
    May 18, 2017 | 10:01 a.m.

    In addition, we are beginning to engage our teacher leaders as presenters at conferences.  For example, one of the teachers from Pomona Unified School district presented at the National NCTM conference and two teachers from Fairfax County presented at a Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics Education Activity Group meeting.  We hope the teachers will also become writing collaborators as we enter the dissemination phase of the project.  Thanks for the great question!

     
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  • Icon for: Ben Sayler

    Ben Sayler

    Facilitator
    May 18, 2017 | 11:21 p.m.

    Awesome. Thanks!

     
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  • Icon for: Babette Moeller

    Babette Moeller

    Researcher
    May 19, 2017 | 11:06 a.m.

    I LOVE your project's focus on mathematical modeling in the elementary grades. Modeling is such an important part of problem solving in mathematics, and teachers are often not very familiar with how to teach it. In our professional development work as part of the Math for All project (see our page at http://stemforall2017.videohall.com/presentations/1011) we are working with elementary school teachers to help them make high-quality mathematics instruction accessible to all learners, including those with disabilities. Modeling is a strategy that often helps to open up the mathematical content of a task and provides multiple entry points for students with diverse strengths and needs. One aspect of the modeling process that can be particularly challenging for students is explaining or justifying their processes.  Can you share particular strategies for supporting students with this that you and your teachers have found promising in your work? Thanks in advance for sharing!

     
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  • Icon for: Jennie Lyons

    Jennie Lyons

    Facilitator
    May 19, 2017 | 11:41 a.m.

    Rachel, the impact on elementary students' long term learning would be an interesting follow-on as you mentioned. Are there other content areas where this PD and the results might be relevant?

     
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  • Icon for: Kristen Malzahn

    Kristen Malzahn

    Researcher
    May 19, 2017 | 12:18 p.m.

    Important work. I think mathematical modeling means different things to different teachers, especially at the various grade bands. Teachers at all grade levels, but in particular at the elementary grades need to better understand what mathematical modeling looks like and how instruction can promote and support students' engagement in it. In your work, how do you define mathematical modeling for your teacher participants and are there particular frameworks you use with your teachers and/or instructional strategies you provide to support their implementation? 

     
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  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.