Tuesday, February 25, 2014

PARCC Field Test Rapidly Approaching!

This spring, approximately 350 districts, over 1,100 schools and roughly 83,000 students in the state of Massachusetts will be testing the PARCC assessment system to ensure that the questions are fair, on grade level, and measure the intended skills. Over 700 of these schools have committed to testing out the computer-based exams.  If the “field test” shows that PARCC is successful, then Massachusetts will consider replacing MCAS with the PARCC assessment system. 
Many administrators, coaches and educators still have a plethora of questions about PARCC and we are committed to getting them answers.  Please join us at one of these important community meetings to learn more about PARCC and this spring’s field test.
·         March 3, 3:00-5:00--Bridgewater State University, John Joseph Moakley Center, 131 Summer St., Bridgewater, MA, 02325

·         March 10, 3:00-5:00--Greater Lowell Regional Technical High School, Auditorium, 250 Pawtucket Blvd., Tyngsborough, MA, 01879

·         March 13, 5:00-7:00--Boston Teachers Union Hall, 180 Mt. Vernon St., Dorchester, MA, 02125

·         March 18, 6:30-8:30--Framingham State University, Dwight Hall Performing Arts Center, 100 State St., Framingham, MA, 01701

·         March 20, 3:00-5:00 and 6:30-8:30--Holyoke High School, 500 Beech St., Holyoke, MA, 01040

·         March 26, 6:30-8:30--Tahanto Regional Middle/High School, 1001 Main St., Boylston, MA, 01505

·         March 31, 3:00-5:00--Berkshire Community College-Main Campus, 1350 West St., Pittsfield, MA, 01201

If you'd like to attend one of these community meetings, please register at the following link: http://www.doe.mass.edu/conference/?ConferenceID=1809

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Black History Month Math

Although many teachers think incorporating Black History Month into the math classroom is challenging, there are many math lessons and problems that can be authentically related to black history.  Interested in a brief timeline of African American mathematicians from the 18th century to the 21st century?  A Modern History of Blacks in Mathematics does an excellent job of outlining 300 years of important mathematical contributions.
Looking for specific lessons that are age appropriate?  Black History Month Lessons & Resources is an excellent compilation created by the National Education Association.  If you are interested in more math specific resources, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics has highlighted a few key studies, articles and lessons.  NCTM Honors Black History Month includes a few excellent lessons that incorporate Benjamin Banneker's mathematical puzzles and Law of Sines.
Here is one high-quality example of a high school level math problem that can be authentically connected to Black History Month:
         The Babylonions computed square root of 2 to determine the diagonal of a square with a side of 1. This demonstrates the fact that the Babylonions knew the Pythagorean Theorem over a millennium before the Greeks did!  They discovered that in a right triangle, the sum of the squares of the lengths of the two shorter sides equaled the square of the length of the longest side.  Pick up where the Babylonions left off and prove the rest of the Pythagorean Theorem.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Science is the New Math

Did you know that science is included in the Competency Determination which serves as a graduation requirement?  Did you know that science scores are incorporated into PPI  calculations? Did you know that the MA Science & Technology/Engineering Standards have recently been revised?   Did you know that the last time the full set of science standards was updated was in 2001?  Helping students become college and career ready is not simply necessary in English and math classes, but is also critical when it comes to science, technology and engineering. The new science standards include consistent integration of practices and content and aim to incorporate ‘lab days’ and explorations more frequently.   

Feel free to take a look at a draft of the revised MA Science & Technology/Engineering Standards at http://www.doe.mass.edu/stem/review.html.  On this website you can also find crosswalks that show the difference between the 2001 standards and the revised standards, frequently asking questions, a list of teachers and administrators who helped with the project and strand maps. 

Do you have further questions about the new science standards or the future of science education in Massachusetts?  Feel free to email: mathsciencetech@doe.mass.edu.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

To Stat, or not to Stat

The development of statistical reasoning is incredibly important in this day and age.  There is more and more demand for the use of statistics in the real world job market of 2014 and Anna E. Bargagliotti does a fantastic job of outlining this demand in her new article, Statistics: The New 'It' Common-Core Subject.

Instead of teaching statistics as an end of year unit that seems somewhat disconnected from previous material, incorporating statistical surveys, studies and experiments into each unit can be incredibly rich.  The following website provides over 40 sample STEW (Statistics Education Web) lessons at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

Want more from the American Statistical Association?  The Statistics Teacher Network (STN) is a newsletter published three times a year by the American Statistical Association - National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Joint Committee on Curriculum in Statistics and Probability for Grades K-12.  If you want to be informed of when future editions of STN are available, please subscribe to the STN e-mail list by sending an e-mail message to rebecca@amstat.org.