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 HeadlinesBlast 825° Pizza in Roseville OpensBlast 825 in Roseville at 1132 Galleria Blvd, Suite 100 celebrates the opening of its newest location.
Sampler Concert in Rocklin at Sierra CollegeThe Sierra College Music Department is proud to present a Sampler Concert on Sunday, September 28th at 3:00pm in Dietrich Theatre on the Sierra College Rocklin Campus
William Jessup University to Host Worship ConferenceROCKLIN, Calif., - William Jessup University will host the fifth annual Worship Conference on Saturday, September 27 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
New Protections for Animal Control OfficersAssemblywoman Beth Gaines (R-Roseville)announced that Governor Brown has signed her legislation (Assembly Bill 1511) to provide greater protections for animal control officers in California
California Statewide Fire Summary (9.23.14)California Fire Update: This morning over 8,100 firefighters continue to battle 5 major wildfires burning in California. Yesterday afternoon firefighters fully contained the Nelson Fire
California Fires Summary: King Fire Rages OnCalifornia Fire Update: This morning nearly 6,500 firefighters continue to battle 6 major wildfires burning in California
California Fires May Close Placer County SchoolsCalifornia Fire Update: Placer County public health officials said Monday that a smoke-related Air Quality Advisory remains in effect, emphasizing that they are working closely with school officials on whether to close schools
Gas Prices Continue Downward TrendAverage retail gasoline prices in Sacramento have fallen 2.4 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.66/g yesterday
California Statewide Fire Summary: King Fire 10 Percent Contained California Fire Update: Today 6,700 CAL FIRE, local and federal firefighters remain on the frontlines of 6 major wildfires across California.
Subaru BRZ: An Old-School Sports CarThe 2015 Subaru BRZ, a sports car smartly designed for driving enthusiasts who want to own a light, agile car that can provide that elusive fun factor while also looking cool.
California Statewide Fire Summary: King Fire over 80,000 Acres California Fire Update: Firefighters are concerned on the King Fire that this may shift the direction of the fire pushing it back to the South
PCWA Board Declares King Fire EmergencyCalifornia Fire Update: Auburn, CA- Critically important power generation, residential, maintenance, and storage facilities of the Placer County Water Agency