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Spatial Reasoning And Understanding The Particulate Nature Of Matter: A Middle School Perspective, Merryn L. Cole Jan 2017

Spatial Reasoning And Understanding The Particulate Nature Of Matter: A Middle School Perspective, Merryn L. Cole

Theses and Dissertations--Education Science

This dissertation employed a mixed-methods approach to examine the relationship between spatial reasoning ability and understanding of chemistry content for both middle school students and their science teachers. Spatial reasoning has been linked to success in learning STEM subjects (Wai, Lubinski, & Benbow, 2009). Previous studies have shown a correlation between understanding of chemistry content and spatial reasoning ability (e.g., Pribyl & Bodner, 1987; Wu & Shah, 2003: Stieff, 2013), raising the importance of developing the spatial reasoning ability of both teachers and students.

Few studies examine middle school students’ or in-service middle school teachers’ understanding of chemistry concepts or its relation to spatial reasoning ability. The first paper in this dissertation addresses the quantitative relationship between mental rotation, a type of spatial reasoning ability, and understanding a fundamental concept in chemistry, the particulate nature of matter. The data showed a significant, positive correlation between scores on the Purdue Spatial Visualization Test of Rotations (PSVT; Bodner & Guay, 1997) and the Particulate Nature of Matter Assessment (ParNoMA; Yezierski, 2003) for middle school students prior to and after chemistry instruction. A significant difference in spatial ability among students choosing different answer choices on ParNoMA questions was also found. The second paper examined the ways in which students of different spatial abilities talked about matter and chemicals differently.

Students with higher spatial ability tended to provide ...


Instructional Coaching And Its Effects On Middle School Mathematics Teachers’ Perceptions Of Coaching And Content Knowledge: A Mixed Methods Study, Jamie-Marie Miller Jan 2017

Instructional Coaching And Its Effects On Middle School Mathematics Teachers’ Perceptions Of Coaching And Content Knowledge: A Mixed Methods Study, Jamie-Marie Miller

Theses and Dissertations--Education Science

Instructional coaching has been a professional learning opportunity that many school districts have employed to support teacher practice. Pairing instructional coaching with on-going workshops is a relatively new approach to professional development. Participants for this study include fourteen middle school teachers that teach either mathematics or collaborate with special needs students. This study examines the effect that pairing instructional coaching with on-going workshops (with a primary focus on proportional reasoning) has on participants’ content knowledge and their perceptions of coaching. Drawing on Wenger’s community of practice theory and post-modern theory of power, this study employs mixed-methods design. Pre- and ...


Classroom Influences On Third Grade African American Learners' Mathematics Identities, Oliver Thomas Wade Roberts Jan 2017

Classroom Influences On Third Grade African American Learners' Mathematics Identities, Oliver Thomas Wade Roberts

Theses and Dissertations--Education Science

Students’ mathematics identity has become a more prominent concept in the research literature (Jackson & Wilson, 2012). The experiences of African Americans are still underreported, with African American elementary students receiving the least attention. This dissertation uses a case study method to explore two learners’ experiences. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore African American third grade students’ classroom interactions with mathematics in order to better understand factors that promote positive mathematics identities.

This research study explored the mathematics classroom influences on three third grade African American learners’ mathematics identities in a K-8 school in a north central Midwestern ...


Assessing Stem Literacy In An Informal Learning Environment, Maureen Ann Lafemina Cavalcanti Jan 2017

Assessing Stem Literacy In An Informal Learning Environment, Maureen Ann Lafemina Cavalcanti

Theses and Dissertations--Education Science

This mixed methods study investigated methods for assessing STEM literacy amongst middle grades students participating in an informal learning environment, specifically, a summer STEM camp. Adopting a situated perspective on STEM literacy, this dissertation employed psychometric techniques and discourse analysis to answer the overarching research question: How can STEM literacy amongst middle school students be assessed in the context of a summer STEM camp? An integrated review of literacy within and across STEM disciplines first offered a new direction for conceptualizing STEM literacy. With this understanding, subsequent research methods applied novel approaches for investigating STEM literacy in the context of ...


Influences Of Probability Instruction On Undergraduates' Understanding Of Counting Processes, Kayla Blyman Jan 2017

Influences Of Probability Instruction On Undergraduates' Understanding Of Counting Processes, Kayla Blyman

Theses and Dissertations--Education Science

Historically, students in an introductory finite mathematics course at a major university in the mid-south have struggled the most with the counting and probability unit, leading instructors to question if there was a better way to help students master the material. The purpose of this study was to begin to understand connections that undergraduate finite mathematics students are making between counting and probability. By examining student performance in counting and probability, this study provides insights that inform future instruction in courses that include counting and probability. Consequently, this study lays the groundwork for future inquiries in the field of undergraduate ...