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This study was developed to investigate the textbooks and resources available for infusing an inquiry rich curriculum into middle level mathematics classrooms to better teach rational numbers. The extensive literature review as well as an analysis from an inquiry rich tutoring classroom with 48 middle school students at F.J.H.S. (a Title I school) from grades six to eight during the time period of Spring 2010 through Spring 2011 is the basis for this research. The purpose of this study can be summed up in the three statements to be addressed: (1) Inquiry and the Common Core Standards, (2) “Best practices” for inquiry rich mathematics pedagogy, and (3) current resources and textbooks available for inquiry, rational numbers, and middle school mathematics. This literature review focuses on inquiry and mathematics connections, pedagogy, the resources available for teachers and students, and ways to integrate inquiry into content-based classrooms to teach rational numbers to middle school students. I used extensive literature searches, a resource checklist, and NWEA assessment scores as the quantitative data for this study. I found that a number of resources available integrate a small amount of inquiry learning but very few are true inquiry based texts. Additionally, there are some excellent resources for teachers concerning inquiry, inquiry activities, and rational numbers. Infusing inquiry into the content area of middle school mathematics allowed for equal access to mathematics for all students. Inquiry learning helped to differentiate instruction within the content area of mathematics.
Current research in the environmental education and science fields, and environmental movement focus on barriers to and strategies for increasing diversity and cultural competency, but none specifically address this topic in residential environmental education (REE) programs. This research aims to address this gap in the literature by answering the following research question: what are the strategies, barriers, vision, and resources needed for providing access to REE programs for multicultural urban youth (MUY)? This study utilizes a qualitative research approach based on grounded theory methods and analysis. Interviews were conducted with 17 REE participants, from executive directors to registrars, representing 16 REE organizations located in 13 different states. Three major categories emerged from the interviews including: 1) the importance of REE programs for MUY; 2) the impacts of REE programs on MUY; and 3) the strategies, barriers, vision, and resources needed for providing access to REE programs for MUY. The main research question was addressed in the third emerging category, in which the following eight themes were identified: a) REE organizations’ mission and vision; b) recruitment and retention of a diverse board and staff; c) funding; d) partnerships and collaboration; e) programming; f) cultural competency; g) marketing; and h) accessibility. This research provides REE organizations with best practices for providing access to their programs for MUY. By focusing specifically on REE programs, this study adds to the current research in the EE field on increasing diversity, inclusiveness and cultural competency.
Community-based Collaboration (CBC) of natural resources management bridges the gap between community involvement, stakeholders, and agencies in decisions-making, which serves a purpose in Wyoming with nearly half of its total lands under federal management. CRM in the Classroom was a CBC that ran programs throughout Wyoming from 1996 to 2006. This research looked to evaluate the program through the following questions: (1) Was there a change in management practices? (2) What are the perceptions involving students, teachers, and community members in the CBC process? The findings of this research conclude that involvement of students and teachers is vital in CBCs, CRM in the Classroom built community, and in some cases, changed the way people viewed and managed their resource in holistic ways. Through building a sense of community, CRM in the classroom has the capacity to increase community involvement in natural resource management. CRM in the Classroom successfully bridged the gap between citizens and natural resource management by connecting them in meaningful ways to people and places in their community.
This action research adds to the current body of research regarding the effects of integrating mathematics and science to improve achievement and confidence in at-risk students. Students in a high school general science class explored the relationship between motion and the slope of a line made by a distance vs. time graph. The intent was to provide them with a real world example of a concept they struggle with in math class, slope. Quantitative data from pre-assessments and post-assessments was collected and found to show improved achievement in both areas by all students. Qualitative data from student reflections implied improved confidence in the ability to calculate slope among most students. The research takes into consideration current research on at-risk students, their identification and their learning needs. It also discusses how the current national standards in mathematics and science provide for and encourage integration of the two topics.
The objective of this research is to determine whether the Dynamic Mathematical Software, Geogebra, will help students to visualize and understand the concept of function. The main focus of function will be transformation (movements up/down/right/left), and the types studied include square root, absolute value, quadratic, and their compositions.
Our country's first National Park is home to the Yellowstone's Youth Conservation Corps (Yello-YCC); the Yello-YCC is a residential youth employment program that is founded on service learning concepts implemented through stewardship projects. Since 1989, this program has served as a pipeline for career opportunities in that National Park Service. Education is an integrative part of all work and recreational activities, connecting overall work project goals to ecosystem concepts. Five hours each week is dedicated to formal educational lessons known as the Resource Education Curriculum (REC). Prior to 2010, Yello-YCC ran a single eight-week session each summer. In 2011, a two-session four and a half-week model was implemented. At the time, the original eight-week REC model was transferred to the 2011 Yello-YCC. This transfer resulted in a piecemeal curriculum as previous lessons were shuffled and scrapped to fit the two-session model. Therefore the 2011 REC was lacking clear participant understandings, knowledge, skills and essential questions and a diversity of instructional strategies.
This research aims to replace the REC by develop 17, one-hour educational lessons by answering the following research questions: What are the understandings, knowledge, essential questions, and skills that define the conceptual foundations that are central to the Yello-YCC REC? And how do place-based, experiential, and collaborative instructional strategies support the teaching of the Yello-YCC REC? This study utilized a literature review and interviews with a sample of four expert environmental educators. Five major bodies of knowledge emerged from this study: leadership, cultural heritage, stewardship, ecological relationships, and sustainability. They acted as a springboard for the development of clear participant outcomes and a diversity of instructional strategies in the REC. This research provided the Yello-YCC with a strengthened curriculum design and enhanced REC, which achieves overarching goals of educational programming. By focusing specially on educational development, this study will inform Youth Corps research in the area of participant educational outcomes and diversity of instructional strategies.
An increasing demand for qualified science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals, coupled with a decreasing proportion of graduating STEM majors, has become cause for national concern. A recent governmental report calls for undergraduate science curriculum that relates abstract scientific concepts to real-life context and provides opportunities for authentic research experiences. This study examined the impacts of a field research project in which Wildlife Ecology Management (WEM) students gain hands-on field experience, use relevant data to learn population analysis and modeling, and contribute to a longitudinal research project.
This mixed-method study utilized pre-post surveys and focus group interviews to determine if, and how, a classroom-integrated field experience can affect students' career goals. The majority of WEM students planned to pursue STEM careers, and reported both professional and education benefits of the field research project. Interpreting student responses in the framework of Social Cognitive Career Theory illustrated how the field experience impacted students' science efficacy and career outcome expectations, which in turn effects how individuals address proximal career barriers. Both qualitative and quantitative findings demonstrated the importance of students' increased understanding of the "nature of science" and interest in the scientific research process. Implications of these results extend beyond career impact and highlight the importance of authentic research experiences in undergraduate science curriculum.