Sierra College NSF Tech-Explorer Teaches Applied Math
ROCKLIN, CA - Teachers have a model for teaching applied math as a result of the Sierra College Tech-Explorer project funded by the National Science Foundation. Findings showed that using hands-on projects, connected to authentic work situations, improves teaching of mathematics.
A total of 306 students built catapults using mills, lathes, drills and other industrial tools. Then the students captured speed, distance, and height of a launched ball during a competition and used the data in a parabolic equation to determine the best launch angle. In addition, 32 teachers participated in three workshops on using hands-on math projects in the classroom.
According to the project principle investigator, Sandra Scott, integrating practical application into math classes and math into technical classes is imperative. "Students really responded when they realized that the parabolic curve is used in headlights, snowboards and solar collectors," said Scott. "We need to show students how math is applied." A student survey revealed that:
- 94% recommended that their school continue to present the project;
- 88% had a greater understanding of the importance of taking accurate measurements;
- 82% felt the project made them more aware of the importance of checking work;
- 73% felt that they learned math better from a hands-on project than from a text book; and
- 64% felt the project helped them understand how math is used in the real world.
Participating teachers benefited from new ways to integrate math into projects and hands-on tools that they can use in the classroom to practice math skills. One teacher commented that through project, instructors can "show them - not tell them - how math can be useful."
The Sierra College Tech-Explorer catapult project has been adopted at College of the Canyons, College of the Sequoias, and San Bernardino Community College. The Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing's Advanced Manufacturing in Tennessee used it at a camp for 8-9th graders. Nebraska's Columbus Public Schools incorporated Tech-Explorer into SHINE, a NSF funded program.
"Applied math skills are essential to pursuing STEM careers yet employers report that technicians lack this critical knowledge," said Scott. As part of the project, Sacramento area employers reported that technicians were required to know addition, subtraction, multiplication, decimals, fractions, metric conversions and converting decimals to fractions. Other needed skills included measuring; knowing the difference between height, width and depth; memorizing basic formulas; and using simple geometry.
"Through this NSF Tech-Explorer project we discovered that not only do students need a practical reason to learn math," said Scott. "They need a review of basic math skills, especially fractions, to complete the project and prepare for STEM education and careers."
Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT) received NSF Advanced Technological Education grant #1003259 for $150,000. The CACT serves manufacturers and technology companies with customized training & technical support; provides entrepreneurs with access to rapid prototyping and other manufacturing technologies; and through the Sierra STEM Collaborative supports career technical education programs in manufacturing & product development, engineering & design pathways at the high school and college level. Additional information is available at www.sierraschoolworks.com or contact Carol Pepper-Kittredge at 916-660-7801 or email@example.com.
Print This Article
Placer County News HeadlinesRoseville Hit and Run Reward OfferedRoseville Crime Stoppers is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of a wrong-way driver who crashed into another car and then fled the scene
Free Alzheimer's Caregivers Workshop at UC DavisOnline registration begins Nov. 4 for the UC Davis Mini Medical School, a series of Saturday classes ideally geared for foresighted middle-agers and novice seniors
Roseville California Crime Brief (10.29.14) Crime brief update report for Roseville, California October 29, 2014.
Halloween Safety TipsCostumes, jack-'o-lanterns, haunted house and scary ghost stories mark this time of year as all kids of all ages enjoy the spirit of Halloween
Memorial for Slain Officer to be Held in RosevilleThe memorial service for Detective Michael Davis, who was killed in the line of duty will be held Tuesday, November 4, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. at Adventure Christian Church
2,400 Volunteers Turn Out in Rocklin for Annual EventMore than 2,400 volunteers packed 520,992 meals for malnourished children around the world at a three-day event at William Jessup University in Rocklin.
Free Tax Seminar in Roseville for Small BusinessesBoard of Equalization Member George Runner is sponsoring a free tax seminar in Roseville for small businesses
Sinking Gas Prices Won't Last The U.S. average price of gasoline ($3.03/gal) continues its slide to levels last seen in December 2010... and today, more than one-half of the nation's gas stations offer regular
Dutch Bros. to Raise Funds for Fallen Officers' Families Dutch Bros. Coffee owners in the Sacramento area are raising funds to support the families of Sacramento Sheriff Deputy Danny Oliver and Placer County Sheriff's Detective Michael David Davis Jr.
Gas Prices Hovering Around $3 GallonRoseville, CA -Average retail gasoline prices continue to plummet now hovering just around $3 a gallon in many locations.
Volunteers Bring Smiles to PeruThough a real estate agent the last 12 years, 52-year-old Kim Hammes used to be employed as a court-appointed guardian for vulnerable adults, including seniors with disabilities
Tahoe Snow Creek Restoration Project Earns AwardPlacer County's restoration of a once-contaminated and environmentally damaged site in Tahoe Vista on Lake Tahoe's North Shore was recently awarded the Envision Platinum award