Stephanie Burroughs, Ed.D.

Curriculum Leader, K-12 Education

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Integrating #StudentChoice in the Mathematics #ClassroomOfTheFuture

With the adoption of the Common Core and the race to integrate 21st Century Learning Expectations, Mathematics courses are screaming for an evolution where creativity and student voice meet the demands and expectations of our data driven culture. This is an opportunity for public school districts to re-examine their course sequences and begin offering students options to explore mathematics applications as it pertains to their intended career pathways and interests. We need to crack open the traditional pathways of mathematical study and integrate real-world mathematics. We need Project Based Learning in Mathematics because we have an obligation to make math relevant. Here's one example...

Math Technology Applications is a course designed for seniors that is completely aligned to the Common Core while also integrating project based learning in a technology enriched environment. Students in this course are walking through thematics units of study where they are able to apply Mathematics concepts to topics that directly impact their future and their decision making. The essential question of the course is:

How can I use Mathematical Modeling to understand the world around me?

Throughout the course, students are reading, writing, and communicating in Mathematics through problem solving exercises, lab activities that are enriched with technology, writing assignments that examine the essentials questions of the course and unit, and performance assessments that allow students the opportunity to synthesize their ideas and present them to their peers. The course is standards-based and utilizes school-wide rubrics to measure competency, placing an emphasis on the Standards for Mathematical Practice and the Guiding Principles that make the Common Core State Standards so different from our traditional approach to teaching Mathematics. Here is an outline of the course units and essential questions:

UnitTopicEssential QuestionPerformance AssessmentFocus on Mathematics Concepts
1College and Career ExplorationHow can I apply my understanding of functions to make informed educational decisions?

Students will explore three careers and three colleges of their choosing, developing a model to predict overall cost and projected salary based on current trends. Students will make a college and career decision based on their findings and support their choice with mathematical analysis of its benefits.

Linear Modeling and Linear Regression

Using Ratios, Rates, and Proportions to interpret data

2Alternative EnergyHow can I apply my understanding of functions to make informed decisions on alternative energy?

Students will analyze the weather and alternative energy trends for their assigned state and pitch a form of alternative energy that they believe should be their state's focus based on current trends and nation-wide projections on the growth and cost of alternative energies.

Exponential Modeling and Exponential Regression

Using Ratios, Rates, and Proportions to interpret data

3Architecture and DesignHow can I use my knowledge of volume and surface area to develop a remodel budget?Students will purchase a foreclosed home and develop a renovation budget based on the materials needed and improvements required. Students will pitch their remodel and projected profit based on fair market value and an analysis of the return on their investment. 

Application of Volume and Surface Area 

Linear Modeling and Linear Regression

Using Ratios, Rates and Proportions to interpret data

4SportsHow can statistics be used to better understand sports franchise decision making?Students will explore how statistics can be used in sports from multiple vantage points including salary caps, player longevity, agents, and franchise budgeting.

Linear Modeling and Linear Regression

Data Analysis and Probability

Using Ratios, Rates and Proportions to interpret data

5Business Marketing and FinanceHow can I apply my understanding of functions to make informed business decisions?Students will develop a business plan for a product of their choice. They will research cost and develop a budget that projects out sales goals and profits for their product.

Linear Modeling, Linear Regression, and Linear Programming

Application of Systems of Equations

Using Ratios, Rates, and Proportions to interpret data


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