District Administration March 2018 - 56

REAL-WORLD

'rithmetic

graphs. The lesson aligned with Common Core state standards that require
first-graders to represent and interpret
data. These exercises also excited students
about using math to describe their own
activities, Bund says.
Bund is one of 65 teachers participating in The East Metro Mathematics Leadership Project, led by Portland
State University and funded by the U.S.
Department of Education's Mathematics
and Science Partnership program. The
three-year, $1 million grant focuses on
developing K12 math teacher leaders in
David Douglas and the nearby Centennial School District.
Assessment scores show that teaching math using open-ended questions
and practical applications gets results.
Between the 2014-15 and 2016-17
school years, students whose teachers
participated in the Leadership Project demonstrated significantly greater
improvement in math achievement when
compared to other students, says Nicole
Rigelman, principal investigator on the
project and professor of mathematics
education at Portland State University.
"These instructional practices are not
the norm in U.S. classrooms, yet they are

Ideas for real-world
math application
* Design a restaurant floor plan
* Build a model home
* Sell a product for profit or charity
* Design an app
* Analyze local gas prices
* Graph modes of transportation

See Product Focus on math
instruction, page 66.

56 March 2018

NUTRITIONAL VALUES-Knowledge of area and perimeter guided these
third-graders in drawing blueprints for a new restaurant. The class at La Verne
Science and Technology Charter in Pomona USD decided their neighborhood
needed an alternative to its many fast-food places.

the practices shown to make a difference
in student understanding and achievement," says Rigelman.
Approach spreads beyond math
The North Carolina School of Science
and Mathematics-a public, residential high school in Durham-launched
a summer bridge program in 2013 to
help 11th- and 12th-graders interested in
STEM grasp hands-on math lessons.
Between 30 and 45 students attend
the bridge program each summer to
transition from rote memorization to the
curriculum's focus on real-world mathematical modeling.
In one modeling assignment, students
consider whether it's worth driving to a
gas station that's off their normal travel
route, but that sells gas for 10 cents
cheaper. Teacher Cheryl Gann has students design an app, and determine what
data the app needs to recommend the
best routes.

Students, Gann says, quickly figure
out the factors involved, such as how fast
and what type of car you're driving, the
size of the gas tank, fuel efficiency, and
the price of the gas and how far off the
shortest route a station is located.
"It provides contex to see how math
can be useful outside of just solving equations," Gann says. "And it shows them
that there's not always one answer or one
approach to get to an answer."
Compared to other students, bridge
program participants have been more
likely to engage in class discussion and
offer ideas, she adds.
"They seemed to be more comfortable talking about mathematics," says
Gann, "and they also became leaders,
both in the math classroom and out of it,
and were able to apply this in science and
research classes." DA
Elaina Loveland is a writer in the Washington,
D.C. metropolitan area.

District Administration



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