Believing that the New Jersey Mathematics Curriculum Framework can be a valuable professional development tool for teachers of K-12 mathematics, the Coalition has designed a project to establish a cadre of sixty mathematics educators who will be prepared to give workshops for other teachers based on the Framework. A proposal to carry out the first phase of that program during the summer of 1996 has received preliminary approval from a corporate funding source. Final approval is expected to come as early as November.
Participants will be paid a stipend for their time spent in the summer institute and will be paid fees for their professional development efforts thereafter.
Potential staff members are experienced teacher trainers who have conducted successful mathematics workshops and more generic teacher workshops for several years. They may be in teaching or supervisory positions in schools or employed in some other capacity that frequently allows them to work with teachers of mathematics .
Anticipating funding, we are already beginning to make plans for the K-4 institute to take place in the summer of 1996. If you would like to be involved, either as a staff member or as a participant, please let us know by checking off the appropriate boxes on the response form. We will be making other solicitations for participants, but you can be first on the list if you respond to this initial announcement.
The theme of this issue of the Newsletter is Invitations. As we start another school year, the mathematics education reform in New Jersey is moving forward with undiminished energy and there are ever more opportunities to become involved and to contribute. There are, hidden in the articles in these pages, no fewer than six invitations to participate in statewide mathematics education activities. See if you can find them all (and respond to at least one!).
The biggest event of the school year promises to be the adoption of the New Jersey Mathematics Standards by the state Board of Education early in 1996. Be sure to read the article on page 3 to check on the progress being made by the Governor's Mathematics Working Group finishing up the document and on last-minute opportunities for you to have input on the New Jersey Mathematics Currriculum Framework.
As a follow-up, the Newsletter's lead article, just next to this column, describes a potential exciting new standards-related venture for the Coalition. Over the next few years, we will be gathering together groups of experienced teacher leaders in mathematics, K-4, 5-8, and 9-12, to become a cohort of Standards Bearers. These groups of about twenty teachers each will help to carry the message of the New Jersey Mathematics Standards to other teachers at their grade levels throughout the state. Be sure to read the article to see how you can join us.
As a regular feature in our Fall Newsletters, we repeat again this year an invitation to sponsor a local event in April in celebration of Math, Science, and Technology Month. Read the brief recap of MSTM '95 and about the exciting new plans for MSTM '96 in the article on page 5. You and your school won't want to be left out this time! Get your names in early.
Additionally, read on page 4 about the Coalition's presentation, Mathematics to Prepare our Children for the Twenty-first Century, and how you can arrange for a speaker to discuss this topic with your local PTA, school board, or other interested group free of charge. Read on page 3 about the new benefit of accepting our invitation to become an Affiliate of the Coalition. And last, in Paula Norwood's page 7 recounting of her experiences in helping her son's fourth grade classmates conduct a taste test, there is an implicit invitation to those of you who are not classroom teachers to become similarly involved. There is plenty for each of us to do!
As a result of a new initiative by Governor Whitman and the New Jersey Department of Education, the draft version of the New Jersey Mathematics Standards developed two years ago has in recent months been reviewed and revised, with active involvement of members of the New Jersey Mathematics Coalition's Board of Governors. The new version will be presented to the New Jersey State Board of Education for approval in the next few months, together with standards in other content areas.
An updated version of the New Jersey Mathematics Curriculum Framework with be published in the spring of 1996, so that teachers of mathematics will be able to find the guidance they need to implement the standards adopted by the State Board of Education. The New Jersey Mathematics Curriculum Framework Project has indeed been a fruitful collaboration of the New Jersey Mathematics Coalition and the New Jersey Department of Education, with financial support from the United States Department of Education.
During the past year, the New Jersey Mathematics Coalition also published a booklet to convey to parents the recommendations of the standards. This booklet, entitled Mathematics to Prepare Our Children for the 21st Century: A Guide for New Jersey Parents has been distributed widely throughout the state It is also avaialble in Spanish.
During the past year, the New Jersey Mathematics Coalition coordinated Mathematics, Science, and Technology Month (MSTM) as a public outreach effort of the New Jersey Statewide Systemic Initiative (NJ SSI). Over 420 events took place during April 1995, compared to 60 the previous year, and over 60,000 parents and children participated in hands-on activities and received information about efforts to improve mathematics and science education in the state.
In both the policy and public outreach arenas, this has been a banner year for the New Jersey Mathematics Coalition. The next year promises to be even better.
These are indeed exciting times in mathematics education!
Joseph G. Rosenstein
(Taken from the Annual Report of the New Jersey Mathematics Coalition for the fiscal year ending August 31, 1995)
For a free subscription, send in the response form. To comment on any topic related to the Newsletter, send email to email@example.com, write or call:
The next issue of this Newsletter will be published in February. It will contain a list of all summer programs interest to New Jersey teachers of mathematics.
The Deadline for calendar items is January 5, 1996.
Become an Affiliate of the Coalition!
This involves a check for only $25.
Please join us now!
What do you get for your $25? The knowledge that you are supporting an organization that believes in systemic change, that has created perhaps the best mathematics education framework in the nation, and that believes parents, and business and industry are a vital part of our equation.
You will also get the 1995-1996 New Jersey Mathematics Coalition coffee mug as a token of our appreciation of your support. The mug is microwave safe, white, and bears the Coalition logo. Be the first in your school or company to show off your mug.
New Jersey's Core Curriculum Standards Initiative had an active summer in preparation for an ambitious fall. During the spring, each of the eight content areas revisited the standards submitted in June 1993 and produced a version which was disseminated to a large group of people interested in reviewing the standards and making suggestions through focus groups held throughout the state. With the mathematics standards, feedback was obtained additionally through the review of the Framework. "Third-round" versions of the standards were produced by the end of August using the feedback received throughout the summer.
Input on the third-round version will be used to produce a fourth-round version. This will incorporate comments and suggestions made by international experts, by participants in six more focus groups, and by responses to a summary of the standards that will be printed in New Jersey newspapers. (1)
On November 15, 1995 the standards will be turned over to the State Department for inclusion in a larger document which contains all eight sets of standards. In January 1996, the document will be presented to the State Board of Education for adoption. (2)
(1) An eight page supplement appeared in the Star Ledger, the Asbury Park Press, the Courier Post and the Trenton Times on Sunday, October 15. The page on the mathematics standards listed the current versions of the 15 content standards (including content standards on problem-solving, reasoning, connections, communications, and technology) and the expectations for the estimation standard at the K-4, 5-8 and 9-12 grade levels. The three learning environment standards were mentioned but because of space limitations were not included in the supplement.
(2) Following on the adoption of mathematics standards by the New Jersey State Board of Education, the Coalition will complete in Spring 1996 a new version of the New Jersey Mathematics Curriculum Framework. Many comments on the Preliminary Version have been received, but additional comments and suggestions are still welcome.
The presentation, which lasts for 20-30 minutes, will discuss the vision and recommendations of the standards, and current efforts to develop and implement state mathematics standards.
This presentation is ideal for educators, parents, and educational policy makers in your district.
If you know of an organization which should receive this invitation, or if you want to schedule one for your group, please call Debbie Toti at 908-445-4065 or check off the Presentation line on the response form.
The Coalition's annual Graphing Calculator Conference will take place on:
Friday, April 19 (1:00 - 4:00 pm) and Saturday, April 20 (9:00am - 4:00 pm)
at Rutgers University, New Brunswick
Tell your science colleagues about this Conference!
For more information, fill out the response form.
We all know that parents can be excellent motivators with their children and their schools. This is why we developed and coordinate Math, Science, and Technology Month. We want to get parents involved with their children's education and make them aware of educational reform that will affect their future.
Math, Science and Technology Month is a series of events that is coordinated by an extraordinarily diverse group of educators, museums, organizations, and business and industry representatives. Last year over 420 events took place in April with over 60,000 participants. However, for April 1996 our goal is to have at least one event in every school district! We think this is an achievable goal and we are asking you to sign up and coordinate an event (we provide resources, ideas, publicity, and materials) and to contact your colleagues in other school districts to enlist them to coordinate an event. If you coordinate one event (it could be the size of a classroom of students and their parents - or encompassing an entire district), we can reach our goal.
In the planning stage for MSTM '96: we are developing a poster contest and we may have a video produced (services provided by a corporate donor) your event may be highlighted in our video and shown throughout the state.
This how you can be a part of MSTM ' 96:
The opportunity came when each child in my son's fourth grade class was invited to bring someone to school. The guest for the day was to be someone important to the child, and was invited to talk about what they did. It could be a career, job or hobby, something of interest to the class. My son told me that I could talk about statistics, but it had to be interesting. I was not to embarrass him by boring his class!
I love my job and have had a very exciting career working in pharmaceutical research. Being involved in research is very stimulating. But how does one convey the excitement of study design and analysis to fourth graders? In twenty minutes?
I mulled over all of the research I have been involved in, and settled on a taste test. Early in my career, I had done a lot of work in the design and analysis of taste tests, for cough lozenges, hospital diets, and a well-known over-the-counter medicine for upset stomach.
We compared strawberry and water-melon Jolly Ranchers. I decided that it was to be a preference test, with each child tasting both and giving his or her preference. We could not use a more complicated rating scale, although I took some of General Mills' faces rating scales to show them. To randomize the sequence of tasting, we drew pieces of paper out of a hat. Each student tasted the candies in the allocated sequence, and wrote down his or her preference, with no discussions or comparisons allowed.
The analysis was simple. We tabulated the results by sequence and by flavor, with totals for both sequence and flavor. There was no effect of sequence on tasting. Watermelon was the overwhelming favorite of the class.
The discussion that ensued was very lively. I talked about the role of taste testing in product development. I then talked about how similar this experiment was to the more important testing that we do, to make sure that the medicines work effectively and are safe for use. The students asked many questions. They wanted to know what kinds of medicines I had worked on. (The doctor's son asked this question.) They wanted to know how we recruited volunteers. We discussed why we randomized the test. They asked if we used computers in our work. And, finally, they asked if we had made watermelon flavored cough drops. (The answer is no, we did not even test that flavor.)
What did I learn from this experience? Children are very interested in what adults do. They get very involved in real problems that they can relate to. They were earnest and sincere in their questions, as well as in their collection and tabulation of our data. They used the mathematics that they were learning in school for a problem that was meaningful to them, in a very matter-of-fact way. They understood the concept of randomization, when illustrated by the drawing from a hat. I think they also understood why we did it.
Was David embarrassed by a boring presentation to his class? No! The kids loved it.
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Since August, 1991, the Paterson School District has been grappling with the challenges attendant to school reform. The web of government, leadership, management, business practices, and educational improvement are being addressed systemically. The most volatile among this web of challenges continues to be educational improvements that increase student learning. One strategic response to improve student learning in Paterson is a collaborative project resulting from a modest grant award by the New Jersey Statewide Systemic Initiative (NJ SSI) and Ramapo College. The NJ SSI Project is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The focus of the project, simply stated, is to facilitate the integration of math, science and technology as conduits by which students will not only meet minimal requirements but will also sustain their interest in these important areas of study. To that end, the Paterson School district has adopted the CoVis Project (Learning through Collaborative Visualization) as the primary means by which to reform high school curricular and teaching practices using "weather" as a thematic center.
CoVis, principally sponsored by NSF, has Aldus Software, Ameri-tech, Apple Computer, Farallon Computing, Science Kit/Boreal Labs, Sony, Spyglass Inc. and Sun Microsystems as industrial partners. The project is innovative in that teachers are trained to engage youngsters in exciting, inquiry-based activities.
By using advanced technologies, Northwestern University, one of the higher education partners, is attempting to provide students with an opportunity to truly practice science. Arrangements are made for students to communicate with researchers, professors, and experts in various scientific areas. The computerized network, through which the interaction occurs, enables students working on projects to consult research partners (university faculty, peers in other school districts, and/or business practioners) in problem-solving situations.
Many of the projects involve atmospheric and environmental sciences. By using state of the art scientific visualization software, students will have access to information they normally would not have available. Some of these collaboration and communication tools include: desktop video teleconferencing, remote sensing programs, realtime collaboration, access to the Internet, multimedia scientist notebook, and other scientific visualization software.
In essence, the CoVis project makes science "come alive." The "hands on" approach is clearly a component of effective science teaching and learning, but this project extends "above and beyond." By creating a comfortable learning climate, youngsters are experiencing an additional step in the scientific process by communication with experts. Students not only can learn by discussing their research, but scientists have the opportunity to invite youngsters to contribute data for their studies.
CoVis will serve to enhance learning, not only on the part of the student, but the teacher as well. Instead of traditional science teaching, which can be rote and often uninteresting, teachers and students will participate in a project which provides them with high degree of motivation and excitement. After a rigorous training session, one thirty year veteran informed his colleagues that he was both excited and afraid. He was willing to retool himself and change his teaching practices because he concluded that it was in the best interest of his students.
Why do some objects sink and some objects float?
What is the best dog pen for Chester?
How can a heavy load be transported down a river?
What do these fossilized footprints suggest?
Questions such as these form the basis of the inquiry based activities which are at the heart of the NJ SSI program at Kean College of New Jersey. Led by Lucy Orfan, Director of KeanQuest, and a team of interdisciplinary faculty, the program is guided by a vision of learning as an active, constructive process. Students explore and experiment, using concrete approaches to build their own understandings.
Throughout the Spring 1995 and Summer 1995 sessions, KeanQuest II participants worked in cooperative and investigative ways to solve problems which reflect the spirit and intent of the current recommendations for reform and in particular, the interconnectedness of mathematics, science, and technology. Among the activities were designing a dog pen (to discover the relationship between area and perimeter); using compasses, pacing, and maps; using magnets to help understand operations with integers; drawing conclusions from physical evidence; and problem solving using graphing calculators. Discussion included equity issues and the particular needs of multicultural populations.
One KeanQuest activity, the well-known density activity sometimes called "Sink or Float," is traditionally presented in textbooks using a recipe approach. Students are given a "recipe," a step-by-step set of instructions for determining which objects sink and which objects float. KeanQuest participants experienced a very different and open-ended approach in which they were confronted with the question, WHY do some objects float and some objects sink? THEY had to decide how to tackle the question. THEY had to design and carry out the experiment. THEY had to collect, record, and interpret the data. Throughout, the mathematics and science concepts and connections evolved and became an integral part of the solution process. Calculators were necessary to find volumes and to use the relationship between mass and volume to express ratios and, ultimately, densities. The activity served as a model of inquiry-based learning for the elementary classroom.
Through many such activities and much group discussion, participants will gradually formulate their own personal vision of change and what may be possible in their own school settings. The goal is to translate these experiences into working models for their classrooms. As deeply committed as KeanQuest participants are, they will surely be strong voices in the movement for the improvement of mathematics, science, and technology education.
Become an affiliate today!
Send your $25 check and the form on page 11 to receive your mug.
February 6, 3-6pm
New Jersey Mathematics Coalition Board of Governors Meeting,
Educational Testing Service (ETS), Princeton.
Call (908)445-2894 for information.
March 15, 8:30am-3:30pm
Precalculus Conference. The tenth annual "Good Ideas in Teaching Precalculus and..." Conference will be held at the Busch Campus of Rutgers University.
Registration is $60 and includes lunch. Open to all high school and college instructors, the conference will include presentations, idea exchanges and software sessions on precalculus, probability and statistics, and discrete mathematics. For more information contact - Stephanie Micale (908) 445-4065 or write Precalculus Conference, P.O. Box 10867, New Brunswick, NJ 08906 - sponsored by the Rutgers University Center for Mathematics, Science, and Computer Education.
Graphing Calculator and Math Software Conference.
Contact Julio Guillen, Jersey City State College (201) 200-2190 or Ted Lai, Hudson County Community College (201) 714-5990.
Math, Science, and Technology Month.
For more information on becoming involved in MSTM. See page 5 and fill out the form.
Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges of New Jersey (MATYC-NJ)
Meeting at Brookdale Community College.
For more information call Agnes Azzolino at (908) 739-3951.
Graphing Calculator Conference
sponsored by the New Jersey Mathematics Coalition. For more information see page 4 and fill out the form on page 11.
AMTNJ Regional Meetings at:
Rowan College (May 13),
Trenton State College (May 22),
and Montclair State University (TBA).
For information, call Nancy Schultz at (201) 790-6184.
June 1, 9:30am-12:00pm
General Meeting of the New Jersey Mathematics Coalition
Rutgers University's Busch Campus.
Call (908) 445-2894 for location.
June 4, 3:00-6:00pm
New Jersey Mathematics Coalition Board of Governors Meeting,
Educational Testing Service (ETS), Princeton.
Call (908)445-2894 for information.
June 22 - July 21
Leadership Program in Discrete Mathematics for K-8 teachers.
Two-week residential (7/8-7/19) and commuter (6/24-7/9) institutes at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ.
Graduate credit is available and funding from the National Science Foundation will provide food and lodging (for residential participants) and stipends. This program is sponsored by The Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science (DIMACS) and the Rutgers Center for Mathematics, Science, and Computer Education. For more information call Stephanie Micale at (908)445-4065 or write to: Leadership Program in Discrete Mathematics, P.O. Box 10867, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08906. Applications are due by April 1.
July 15 - August 9
Young Scholars Program In Discrete Mathematics at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey.
High School Teachers: if you know of a sophomore or junior who could become interested in a career in mathematics you should contact Stephanie Micale at (908)445-4065. There are only 40 slots open for students throughout New Jersey. The students will participate in an intensive one-month academic program where they will meet mathematicians and computer scientists, learn about discrete mathematics, work on a research project, be engaged in computer activities, participate in workshops on careers in the mathematical sciences and go on field trips. Applications can be requested as early as January. For early admission, applications must be returned by March 15.
Perry L. Drew School
Willard H. Blaskof
Edward Michael Zambrano
Wayne Hills H.S.
Helen Huey-Yuann Chang
Maurice Hawk School
Susan Jane Juliano
Janet Estelle Moran
Copeland Middle School
Lynne A. Chase
Southern Regional H.S.
The teachers listed above were selected as state-level awardees in the 1995 Presidential Awards For Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching program. The New Jersey awardees were chosen by a statewide committee composed of elementary and secondary teachers, administrators, supervisors and college mathematics educators. The National Science Foundation, which administers the program for the White House, began the Presidential Awards program in 1983 in an effort to improve teaching in mathematics and the sciences.