Tag Archives: algebra

Girls and STEM: Bias begins with Toddlers?

KimJonesimageBy Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

Even when girls and boys demonstrate similar actual competence levels in math, during the early school years, boys are more confident about their math skills. Already by kindergarten, boys have more interest in pursuing math learning than do girls.

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STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) related jobs are some of the best jobs out there, and increasingly important in our technology-driven economy. But the percentage of women in many STEM jobs remains very low. Only about 1/4 of STEM jobs in the U.S. are filled by women. Women’s share of computer jobs has actually been falling in recent years. At present, only 18% of U.S. computer science majors are women.

According to the Office of Science and Technology Policy, women in STEM professions earn 33% more than those in other fields.

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It’s generally understood that by school age, girls receive less encouragement in math and science pursuits than do boys, from both parents and teachers. What’s interesting is that it now seems this bias starts from a very early age, less than the age of 2 years!

In a study entitled “Gender Biases in Early Number Exposure to Preschool-Aged Children”, published in 2011 in the Journal of Language and Social Psychology, researchers at the University of Delaware found that mothers spent fully twice as much time talking to their sons about numbers and numeric concepts as they did with their daughters! The average age of the children in the study was only 22 months, for both the boys and the girls.

Here’s a related set of resources on Curriki – Math for Girls. This link includes a series of videos featuring women working in mathematics and presenting pieces of math that excited them when they were in middle and high school.

Help girls realize that math and sciences education is not just for the boys. Even if they don’t end up pursuing STEM careers, there is a lot of useful and interesting knowledge to be gained in studying math, science and engineering topics. The use of math in traditionally non-STEM careers, such as finance and marketing, is only increasing. And maybe they are better at math than they think they are!

http://www.curriki.org/xwiki/bin/view/Coll_jpinto/MathforGirls

You’ll also find other resources at this link including profiles of women in Math, and in STEM careers in general.

References:

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/09/10/2599491/women-stem/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alicia-chang/bridging-the-gender-gap-encouraging-girls-in-stem_b_4508787.html

http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ostp/women

http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/24/mothers-talk-less-to-young-daughters-about-math/?_r=0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_11rwb4vEc#t=40 – Girls in STEM: A New Generation of Women in Science

Telling Time: Three Terrific Resources

janetpic_preferred_croppedBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

 

 

 

Here are three excellent Curriki resources for learning how to tell time, for kindergarten and lower grade elementary school students.

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Clock at Royal Observatory, Greenwich (credit: Alvesgaspar)

Just in Time:

http://www.curriki.org/xwiki/bin/view/Coll_Group_SCCSharing/JustinTime

This resource includes time telling games and an interactive learning clock.

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Time zone plaque in Chicago (credit: Joe Smack)

Playing with Time:

http://www.curriki.org/xwiki/bin/view/Coll_Group_SCCSharing/PlayingwithTime

This is a board game for telling time, and it is Common Core Standards aligned (first grade). It is one of the exemplary resources on Curriki.

Class Clock:

http://www.curriki.org/xwiki/bin/view/Coll_Group_SCCSharing/ClassClock

This is an applet for telling time, with both analog and digital displays, that teachers can use with elementary school classes. Our thanks to the Santa Clara County Office of Education and Karen Bergesen for sharing these resources.

And now, as a bonus, and for a much longer term perspective, here’s a resource which covers a time scale of tens and hundreds of millions of years!

Digging for Dinosaurs:

http://www.curriki.org/xwiki/bin/view/Coll_Group_SCCSharing/DiggingforDinosaurs

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Stegosaurus, Field Museum (credit: Killdevil)

This is an algebra resource at the high school level that is built around a theme of dinosaurs. Dig deeper to find more ancient dinosaur fossils! Thanks also to the Santa Clara County Office of Education for pointing out this resource as well.

Curriki Continues Rapid Growth

KimJonesimageBy Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

Thank you to our members and user community! Because of you, Curriki has continued to grow rapidly during 2013. We have surpassed a third of a million in membership (educators, students and parents) and are on track to exceed half a million members during 2014. The recent growth rate in membership is fully 28% per year.

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We have had over 9 million unique page views, which is triple the number from 3 years ago. And recently, usage of Curriki from mobile platforms has been growing rapidly. And during 2013, the number of free online resources at Curriki has grown to more than 53,000.

Usage of Curriki is growing very rapidly internationally. The top countries for Curriki are in North America, South Asia, Southeast Asia (the 10 ASEAN nations) and in Africa. The most rapid growth today is occurring in the ASEAN countries of Indonesia, Philippines, and Malaysia. Open educational resources (OER) can play a special role in developing nations with limited budgets for the latest curricular materials.

While the large majority of our materials are in the English language, we encourage content contributions in all languages.

The top 8 countries accessing Curriki resources at present are:

  1. U.S.
  2. India
  3. Philippines
  4. Malaysia
  5. Sri Lanka
  6. South Africa
  7. Canada
  8. Indonesia

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We have recently introduced a full high school course in Curriki Geometry to accompany our previously released Curriki Algebra 1 course. Curriki Algebra 1 was evaluated by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for the State of Washington in the U.S. This was a rigorous evaluation process of half a dozen OER algebra courses. Curriki Algebra 1 scored highly, including a strong rating for promoting deeper learning. Both of these courses, like all Curriki materials, are absolutely free to educators and students around the world.

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Thanks to you, we expect continued rapid growth for Curriki during the next few years. We encourage you to contribute resources, or contribute financially if you are able. And we encourage everyone to continue to look to Curriki for new, free, open educational resources that can be used in your classrooms and schools. Encourage your friends to join, or if not a member already, please join at welcome.curriki.org!

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Different Learning Approaches Prepare Students at Warrior Tech Academy

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By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

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We’re big advocates of Project-Based Learning, which we’ve written about in previous blogs, so we were pleased to see that it’s at the core of the instructional approach at the first New Tech Network (NTN) school in Virginia.

Warrior Tech Academy (WTA)  will soon open as a school-within-a-school at Magna Vista High School in Virginia, where students will work in groups with teachers guiding them. WTA will combine different ways of learning to best meet the needs of their students.

Warrior Tech will employ project-based learning (PBL) in its integrated World History 1/ English 9 course and the integrated biology/health and physical education course, but its math course will be taught using problem-based learning (PrBL).

Many of us are familiar with project-based learning, which teaches both doing, as well as learning, and gives students real-world opportunities to think analytically, formulate ideas, and solve complex problems. But do you employ problem-based learning in your classroom?

According to WTA geometry facilitator Jeannie Stanley, “Problem-based learning begins with a problem that encompasses one to two standards and takes only a few days to complete, but project-based learning focuses on multiple content standards and takes several weeks to complete.”

These different learning approaches are especially important as we groom students to succeed in the real world.  In this article , Henry County Schools Superintendent Jared Cotton said county students do well on state Standards of Learning tests, which are multiple choice, but employers and higher education officials say graduates need better skills in critical and creative thinking, communication, collaboration and problem-solving.

Curriki Project-Based Geometry & Algebra Courses Available Free

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Curriki offers geometry and algebra courses that leverage the popular project-based learning “active” approach and are aligned to Common Core State Standards. Designed to meet the needs of students born in a global, interactive, digitally-connected world, these courses encourage learning through the use of real-world examples, engaging projects, interactive technologies, videos and targeted feedback.

The Curriki Algebra course is available here.

The Curriki Geometry course will be available in September 2013. To participate in the beta launch, sign up today.

(These courses were sponsored by AT&T and developed by Curriki.)

Getting the Most out of Technology

KimJonesimageBy Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

A recent article from the NY Times discussed the use of computer technology in schools. The question posed is: are we really making the most of the technology already deployed? A survey found that, in many cases, computers were being used in mathematics simply to drill questions and answers. The article is here. It notes that “the nonprofit Center for American Progress found that middle school math students more commonly used computers for basic drills and practice than to develop sophisticated skills.”

At Curriki we all come from the IT industry, and we know that the potential of technology is much greater than usage of computers in a fashion that is twenty five years behind the times. This is why we provide a wide variety of free, open source, K-12 focused educational resources, that often make significant use of technology. For example, there are over 1300 mathematics related videos at www.curriki.org.

As another important example, we have been developing complete subject curricula that are project-oriented and adhere to Common Core State Standards.

We have already released the free Curriki Algebra 1 course, which you can find on the Curriki site here. It consists of 5 units aligned to the Common Core. Each of these units culminates in a project that utilizes mastery of conceptual understanding taught in the individual lessons.

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And we have announced a free, online, project-based Curriki Geometry course. This is under development with support from AT&T and will be released in the autumn of this year. Here is the announcement. The course will be structured based on the six Common Core High School Geometry topics, organized in six units including: (1) Congruence; (2) Similarity, Right Triangles, & Trigonometry; (3) Circles; (4) Expressing Geometric Properties with Equations; (5) Geometric Measurement & Dimension; and (6) Modeling with Geometry.

Please take a look at the Curriki Algebra 1 course, and stay tuned for the Curriki Geometry course release this autumn.

Khan Academy in the New World of Common Core Standards

janetpic_preferred_croppedBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

An intern at Khan Academy recently asked for suggestions on a Reddit education site. There was some interesting discussion in response around the efficacy of Khan Academy videos and how these video resources relate to Common Core standards.

One commenter notes that it is harder to grade and check answers with this approach. Another points out that math and science topics are more objective, so potentially more amenable to the use of short video lessons than say, history. “Dr. Momentum” responds that even math and science still involve opinions.

ImageStudents need to be able to understand a logical argument, construct a logical argument and refute an incorrect argument. Students need to develop their own reasoning ability. And coherence and depth in teaching a subject, not just subject knowledge, are required from their teachers.

One commenter points out that the Common Core standards for math include Mathematical Practices as well as Mathematical Content. Indeed, Khan Academy is good for the procedural side of things, and in conveying content. Practice transmission, on the other hand, just doesn’t happen on its own, and it’s not enough to explain procedures. It’s about developing expertise in students – “reasoning ability, conceptual understanding and procedural fluency,” among other attributes.

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Here are the 8 practices for Math, which you can find at http://www.corestandards.org/Math/Practice -
MP1: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
MP2: Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
MP3: Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
MP4: Model with mathematics.
MP5: Use appropriate tools strategically.
MP6: Attend to precision.
MP7: Look for and make use of structure.
MP8: Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.

Attention to how a student is thinking and attempting to reason is not something a video can do. Don’t get us wrong, we love the Khan videos, and there are many of them accessible from Curriki.

It’s about the connectedness. One can pick up a procedure or three, but until one has the ability to generalize then the subject matter is not really being understood sufficiently. While some students have an innate ability to do this, most will benefit from coaching and development and assistance in seeing the larger context.

The Curriki Algebra 1 course found here is designed to align with Common Core State Standards.