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Science and Mathematics Education

Summative Projects for MA Degree

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Reading Mathematics, Geri Steinbrink Jul 2009

Reading Mathematics, Geri Steinbrink

Summative Projects for MA Degree

In this study of my sixth grade mathematics class, I investigated how using reading strategies, a structured problem-solving form, and math-infused literature impacted students’ success in solving word problems and building geometric vocabulary. Direct instruction of reading strategies and the use of those reading strategies in a structured problem-solving group increased my students’ confidence in their own abilities to solve word problems. The structured problem-solving form served as a reminder of the strategies and the steps students should use when reading and solving a word problem. Students wrote in their journals that they liked the reading of the “Sir Cumference ...


Mathematical Communication And Achievement Through Journal Writing, Cathy Schultz Jul 2009

Mathematical Communication And Achievement Through Journal Writing, Cathy Schultz

Summative Projects for MA Degree

In this study, I investigated my classroom of sixth grade mathematic students on how journal writing influences students’ writing and learning and how journal writing influences my mathematics teaching. I discovered that students enjoyed writing in their journals and reading my responses. Students could openly communicate their questions, thoughts, and opinions. They shared with me what it was like for a sixth grade math student. They also pointed out the concepts they understood or the ones that challenged them. Some students stated that the journal writing helped them think harder. As a teacher, reading and responding to their journal writing ...


Oral Presentations: Exploring Presentations Of Homework Problems As An Alternative Assessment Tool, Michael Ford Jul 2009

Oral Presentations: Exploring Presentations Of Homework Problems As An Alternative Assessment Tool, Michael Ford

Summative Projects for MA Degree

In this study of my fifth grade mathematics class, I investigated a method of assessing homework presentations as an alternative means of assessment from the more traditional approach of paper and pencil testing. By changing the number of daily problems assigned in my classroom to include shorter assignments and implementing longer, more difficult story problems, I found that students enjoyed mathematics more and had a deeper understanding of the concepts. Increased retention of material, enhanced abilities to communicate problem solving methods, and improved attitudes were all positive side-effects of this project. As a result of my study, I have changed ...


Strengthening Student Understanding By Implementing Rubrics To Provide Effective Feedback, Mindy Fichtner Jul 2009

Strengthening Student Understanding By Implementing Rubrics To Provide Effective Feedback, Mindy Fichtner

Summative Projects for MA Degree

In this action research study of my classroom of sixth grade mathematics, I investigated the impact of rubrics on strengthening students’ mathematical understanding and students’ ability to communicate about problem solving processes. The feedback was given on three daily bell-work problems assigned at the beginning of each class over the previous lesson. I discovered that the use of these rubrics were beneficial to the students and teacher. Once students were given the expectations of the bell-work problems and became comfortable with the rubric, the quality of their work and communication of solutions was higher than before the rubric system was ...


Project Based Instruction In A Sixth Grade Mathematics Classroom: A Case Of Roller Coasters, Lori L. Pierce Jul 2009

Project Based Instruction In A Sixth Grade Mathematics Classroom: A Case Of Roller Coasters, Lori L. Pierce

Summative Projects for MA Degree

In this action research study of a sixth grade mathematics classroom, I investigated how using project based instruction combined with collaborative learning influenced students’ attitudes and beliefs in learning mathematics. I discovered that using a project based approach to instruction helped the students see connections to math and the real world. They felt that math became something exciting instead of just lessons from a book. I also found that most students preferred to work in small groups because they had come to count on their peers for support. They felt that they were more comfortable asking their peers questions in ...


Creating Meaningful Homework And Implementing Homework Presentations To Aid In Mathematics Instruction, Gretchen Long Jul 2009

Creating Meaningful Homework And Implementing Homework Presentations To Aid In Mathematics Instruction, Gretchen Long

Summative Projects for MA Degree

In this action research study of sixth grade mathematics, I investigated the use of meaningful homework and the implementation of presentations and its effect on students’ comprehension of mathematical concepts. I collected data to determine whether the creating of meaningful homework and the implementation of homework presentations would have a positive impact on the students’ understanding of the concepts being taught in class and the reasoning behind assigning homework. The homework was based on the lesson taught during class time. It was grade-level appropriate and contained problems similar to those students completed in class. A pre-research and post-research survey based ...


Forgetting To Remember: Formative Assessment In Sixth Grade Mathematics Classroom, Corie Lubash Jul 2009

Forgetting To Remember: Formative Assessment In Sixth Grade Mathematics Classroom, Corie Lubash

Summative Projects for MA Degree

In this action research study of a sixth grade mathematics classroom, I investigated what would happen to the students’ understanding of mathematical concepts and what student learning would look like when multiple formative assessments were implemented and descriptive feedback was given by the teacher. I also examined how my own teaching would be affected when I utilized descriptive feedback on formative assessments in attempts to decrease the number of retakes needed on summative assessments. I discovered that my students were better prepared for summative assessments when multiple formative assessments were implemented and when I utilized information from the formative assessments ...


Problems With Problem Solving: Assessing Written Solutions Of Mathematical Habits Of Mind Problems, Ali Arndt Jul 2009

Problems With Problem Solving: Assessing Written Solutions Of Mathematical Habits Of Mind Problems, Ali Arndt

Summative Projects for MA Degree

This paper explores a study of sixth grade mathematics students in a middle school setting. I investigated the effects of assigning Habits of Mind problems related to the curriculum, district standards and objectives to increase problem-solving opportunities and skills. I discovered integrating problem solving into the given curriculum allowed students to make connections to math in an opportune way that evoked communication on paper, interactions with partners or small groups, and presentations of solutions to the large group. Using the challenging Habits of Mind problems deliberately chosen to match specific content objectives within my district at the sixth grade level ...


Reviewing, Rethinking And Revising Homework Expectations In A Seventh Grade Math Class, Marilyn Hein Jul 2009

Reviewing, Rethinking And Revising Homework Expectations In A Seventh Grade Math Class, Marilyn Hein

Summative Projects for MA Degree

In this action research study of my seventh grade mathematics class, I investigated whether de-emphasizing homework assignments as daily grades while stressing them as daily practice encouraged students to focus more on the learning rather than the daily grade. As part of this study, I also looked at how this change in homework expectations affected my daily teaching. I discovered that having students keep notes, examples, practice problems and homework assignments in a notebook helped them concentrate more on the process of getting answers and why they may of had an incorrect answer. Students were more likely to discuss with ...


Improving Problem Solving By Improving Reading Skills, Shayne Hite Jul 2009

Improving Problem Solving By Improving Reading Skills, Shayne Hite

Summative Projects for MA Degree

In this study of my fifth grade mathematics class, I investigated how the use of different reading strategies impacted my students’ problem solving. I implemented various reading strategies throughout a three-month time period. Teaching my students to break down story problems, learn the steps in solving them, write their own story problems, create math dictionaries, write story problem webs, and listen to themselves reading problems created more confidence in them and increased the likelihood that they would use these strategies on their own. In this research, it was quite obvious to me through some pre-testing that my students struggled with ...


Journal Writing In Mathematics: Exploring The Connections Between Math Journals And The Completion Of Homework Assignments, Cara Walz Jul 2008

Journal Writing In Mathematics: Exploring The Connections Between Math Journals And The Completion Of Homework Assignments, Cara Walz

Summative Projects for MA Degree

In this action research study of sixth grade mathematics, I investigate how the use of written journals facilitates the learning of mathematics for my students. I explore furthermore whether or not these writing journals support students to complete their homework. My analysis reveals that while students do not access their journals daily, when students have the opportunity to write more about one specific problem--such as finding the relationship between the area of two different sized rectangles – they, are nevertheless, more likely to explain their thoughts in-depth and go beyond the traditional basic steps to arrive at a solution. This suggests ...


Writing Relevant Word Problems: Seeking To Increase Student Mathematical Achievement, Amanda Stark Jul 2008

Writing Relevant Word Problems: Seeking To Increase Student Mathematical Achievement, Amanda Stark

Summative Projects for MA Degree

In this action research study of eighth grade mathematics, I investigated my students’ use of writing and solving word problems. I collected data to determine if writing and solving word problems would have a positive effect on students’ abilities to understand and solve word problems. These word problems are grade-level appropriate and are very similar to the problems on the eighth grade online assessment of state standards. Pre- and post-test data, weekly word problems that focus on specific mathematics topics, beginning and end surveys about word problem perceptions, and a teacher journal reveal that student engagement in this weekly practice ...


Five Processes Of Mathematical Thinking, Toni Scusa Jul 2008

Five Processes Of Mathematical Thinking, Toni Scusa

Summative Projects for MA Degree

My research project was to investigate key processes of mathematical thinking in my seventh grade mathematics classroom. Its purpose was to see whether I could affect the quality of student mathematical thinking and solution writing by teaching students five key processes of mathematical thinking I had identified, and by providing students with opportunities to evaluate sample student solutions using traits describing these processes. Every two weeks, students attempted solutions for a given problem and rated their work according to the specific characteristics identified as key to mathematical thinking. Every other week I gave the class sample student work at varied ...


A Study Of The Summarization Of Word Problems, Tara Schwanebeck Jul 2008

A Study Of The Summarization Of Word Problems, Tara Schwanebeck

Summative Projects for MA Degree

This action research investigates my sixth grade mathematics students’ ability to solve word problems after instruction and practice using a specific word problem summarization worksheet. The worksheet was designed to break down word problems into smaller parts, helping students comprehend them and, in turn, find success that would enhance their confidence and ability to successfully solve word problems. The worksheets each had a different type of word problem, such as one-step, hidden information, or extra information. The final worksheet consisted of a mixed review of each type of word problem previously practiced in class. Using different types of data collection ...


Attitudes, Confidence, And Achievement Of High-Ability Fifth Grade Math Students, Bradley D. Piper Jul 2008

Attitudes, Confidence, And Achievement Of High-Ability Fifth Grade Math Students, Bradley D. Piper

Summative Projects for MA Degree

In this action research study of my fifth grade high-ability mathematics class, I investigated student attitudes of mathematics and their confidence in mathematics. Student achievement was compared to two different confidence scales to identify a relationship between confidence and achievement. Six boys and eleven girls gave their consent to the study. I discovered there seems to be a connection between confidence and achievement and that boys are generally more confident than girls. Most students liked math and were comfortable sharing answers and methods of solving problems with other students. As a result of this study I plan to use my ...


Precise Mathematical Language: Exploring The Relationship Between Student Vocabulary Understanding And Student Achievement, Jill Kranda Jul 2008

Precise Mathematical Language: Exploring The Relationship Between Student Vocabulary Understanding And Student Achievement, Jill Kranda

Summative Projects for MA Degree

In this action research study of my classroom of fifth grade mathematics, I investigate the relationship between student understanding of precise mathematics vocabulary and student achievement in mathematics. Specifically, I focused on students’ understanding of written mathematics problems and on their ability to use precise mathematical language in their written solutions of critical thinking problems. I discovered that students are resistant to change; they prefer to do what comes naturally to them. Since they have not been previously taught to use precise mathematical language in their communication about math, they have great difficulty in adapting to this new requirement. However ...


Strategies And Precise Vocabulary Knowledge: Exploring The Relationships Among Mathematics Vocabulary, Problem Solving, And Confidence, Deb Borgelt Jul 2008

Strategies And Precise Vocabulary Knowledge: Exploring The Relationships Among Mathematics Vocabulary, Problem Solving, And Confidence, Deb Borgelt

Summative Projects for MA Degree

In this action research study I focused on my eighth grade pre-algebra students’ abilities to attack problems with enthusiasm and self confidence whether they completely understand the concepts or not. I wanted to teach them specific strategies and introduce and use precise vocabulary as a part of the problem solving process in hopes that I would see students’ confidence improve as they worked with mathematics. I used non-routine problems and concept-related open-ended problems to teach and model problem solving strategies. I introduced and practiced communication with specific and precise vocabulary with the goal of increasing student confidence and lowering student ...


Mathematical Communication Within A Daily Small-Group Learning Environment, Amy L. Wilson Jul 2008

Mathematical Communication Within A Daily Small-Group Learning Environment, Amy L. Wilson

Summative Projects for MA Degree

In this action research study of a fifth grade mathematics classroom, I investigate how a daily small-group learning environment influenced students’ ability to communicate their mathematical thinking in verbal and written form. I discovered that a small-group atmosphere provided more opportunities for direct instruction. I also found that the emphasis on communication helped students to articulate their thinking more clearly when they wrote and spoke of their mathematical ideas. Most students preferred to work in small groups because they appreciated the support of their peers. Students felt they were more likely to ask teammates for help when they had questions ...


Vocabulary Instruction As A Tool For Helping Students Of Diverse Backgrounds And Ability Levels To Understand Mathematical Concepts, Joan Brethouwer Jul 2008

Vocabulary Instruction As A Tool For Helping Students Of Diverse Backgrounds And Ability Levels To Understand Mathematical Concepts, Joan Brethouwer

Summative Projects for MA Degree

This action research project describes a research project designed and implemented specifically with an emphasis on the instruction of mathematical vocabulary. The targeted population was my second period classroom of sixth grade students. This group of seventeen students represented diverse socioeconomic backgrounds and abilities. The school is located in a community of a population of approximately 5,000 people in the Midwest. My research investigation focused on the use of specific methods of vocabulary instruction and students’ use of precise mathematical vocabulary in writing and speaking. I wanted to see what effects these strategies would have on student performance. My ...


Improving Communication About Mathematics Through Vocabulary And Writing, Kelly Georgius Jul 2008

Improving Communication About Mathematics Through Vocabulary And Writing, Kelly Georgius

Summative Projects for MA Degree

In this action research study, where the subjects were my 6th grade mathematics students, I investigated the impact of direct vocabulary instruction on their communication and achievement. I strategically implemented the addition of vocabulary study into each lesson over a four-month time period. The students practiced using vocabulary in verbal discussions, review activities, and in mathematical problem explanations. I discovered that a majority of students improved their overall understanding of mathematical concepts based on an analysis of the data I collected. I also found that in general, students felt that knowing the definition of mathematical words was important and that ...


Summarization In Math Class, Scott Eckman Jul 2008

Summarization In Math Class, Scott Eckman

Summative Projects for MA Degree

This action research study of twenty students in my sixth grade mathematics classroom examines the implementation of summarization strategies. Students were taught how to summarize concepts and how to explain their thinking in different ways to the teacher and their peers. Through analysis of students’ summaries of concepts from lessons that I taught, tests scores, and student journals and interviews, I discovered that summarizing mathematical concepts offers students an engaging opportunity to better understand those concepts and render that understanding more visible to the teacher. This analysis suggests that non-traditional summarization, such as verbal and written strategies, and strategies involving ...


An Investigation Into Careless Errors Made By 7th Grade Mathematics Students, Andrea Wiens Jul 2007

An Investigation Into Careless Errors Made By 7th Grade Mathematics Students, Andrea Wiens

Summative Projects for MA Degree

In this action research study, I investigated the careless errors made by my seventh-grade mathematics students on their homework and tests. Beyond analyzing the types of careless errors and the frequency at which they were made, I also analyzed my students’ attitudes toward reviewing their work before they turn it in and self-reflection about the quality of work that they were producing. I found that many students did not know how to review their test before turning it in; no one had ever taught them how to do so. However, when students were given tools to help them with this ...


Here Is The Plan: So What Is The Question?, Dot Snesrud Jul 2007

Here Is The Plan: So What Is The Question?, Dot Snesrud

Summative Projects for MA Degree

In this action research study of my classroom of 5th grade mathematics students, I investigated their understanding of the mathematical operations by having them write problems to match given equations. I discovered that writing a story to match an equation does provide insight into a student’s understanding of mathematical concepts, however, reading comprehension is a factor in the understanding. Readers who struggle with comprehension do struggle with understanding and writing math story problems. The discussion that follows the writing of a math story problem and the solving of the written problems helps to strengthen the students’ mathematical abilities as ...


A Study Of Written Communication: Showing Your Steps, Megan Kelly Jul 2007

A Study Of Written Communication: Showing Your Steps, Megan Kelly

Summative Projects for MA Degree

In this action research study of my teaching of sixth grade mathematics, I investigated the importance of showing work on daily assignments. I wanted to find out what happens when I ask students to show their work, specifically, whether it would improve students’ grades or not and whether I could help the students to understand the importance of showing their work. I discovered that students need to be shown the proper way to show their work, how to look at a problem and then how to show all of their steps to get to the answer. They need to be ...


Building Math Esteem In Fifth Grade Students, Karen Schur Jul 2007

Building Math Esteem In Fifth Grade Students, Karen Schur

Summative Projects for MA Degree

In this action research study of my classroom of 5th grade mathematics, I investigate the levels of math esteem in each student and as a classroom. The definition of esteem on which I am basing my research is the judgment or estimation of the self-assurance of a student in math. I discovered that several of the students entered my classroom with a middle to low level of esteem in math, and about a third of the class already exhibited a positive, high esteem in math. After implementation of the research, and interpreting the data, I believe almost all the students ...


Writing In The Mathematics Classroom: Does It Have An Effect On Students’ Mathematical Reasoning?, Rachel Bunnett Jul 2007

Writing In The Mathematics Classroom: Does It Have An Effect On Students’ Mathematical Reasoning?, Rachel Bunnett

Summative Projects for MA Degree

In this action research study of my classroom of 5th grade mathematics, I investigate how to improve students’ written explanations to and reasoning of math problems. For this, I look at journal writing, dialogue, and collaborative grouping and its effects on students’ conceptual understanding of the mathematics. In particular, I look at its effects on students’ written explanations to various math problems throughout the semester. Throughout the study students worked on math problems in cooperative groups and then shared their solutions with classmates. Along with this I focus on the dialogue that occurred during these interactions and whether and how ...


Using Cooperative Learning To Promote A Problem-Solving Classroom, Amy Nebesniak Jul 2007

Using Cooperative Learning To Promote A Problem-Solving Classroom, Amy Nebesniak

Summative Projects for MA Degree

In this action research study of my eighth grade mathematics classroom, I investigate the benefits of cooperative learning, the support structures needed to promote a cooperative learning environment, and students’ ability to transfer the cooperative learning skills into less structured problem solving situations. The data analysis reveals that cooperative learning increases students’ confidence level as well as their involvement in the learning process. In order to create successful teams, students require my providing support structures and modifying the support for each group of students. Finally, students are able to more effectively apply their cooperative skills in concrete situations as compared ...


Connections Between Communication And Math Abilities, Rachelle Mayo Jul 2007

Connections Between Communication And Math Abilities, Rachelle Mayo

Summative Projects for MA Degree

In this action research study of my Class I School’s 5th and 8th grade mathematics, I investigated students’ connections between communication of math skills and their math abilities. I discovered that students can increase their math abilities with the opportunities to discuss their thinking as well as evaluate thinking and strategies of other students. Electronic communication can be a valuable source for students to communicate further to other students.


Increasing Student Confidence And Knowledge Through Student Presentations, Lori Ziemba Jul 2007

Increasing Student Confidence And Knowledge Through Student Presentations, Lori Ziemba

Summative Projects for MA Degree

In this action research study of a 9th grade Algebra classroom, I investigated the influence of having students present homework solutions and what effect it had on student learning and student confidence. Students were asked to present solutions to homework problems each day and were rated on how well they did. The students were also surveyed about their confidence and feelings about mathematics. Students were also observed for information about who they asked questions of when presented with a math problem they did not understand. In this classroom, two teachers were involved in instruction and this study examines what affect ...


It Is Not Just The Solution Anymore, Carol Brown Jul 2007

It Is Not Just The Solution Anymore, Carol Brown

Summative Projects for MA Degree

In this action research study of a fifth grade enrichment mathematics class, I investigate how problem solving strategies and group work opportunities influence the students’ use of strategies and graphic representations. Though there are no large gains in the students’ use of strategies, some students show minor gains in their use of representations. I also investigate the influence of group work upon usage of representations. At the beginning of the study most students indicate that working in groups is helpful in finding solutions. Toward the end, 52.9 percent of the students indicate that while group work is beneficial for ...