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PROJECT SUMMARY

Hofstra University (the lead partner) is submitting this three-year Phase II Math Infusion into Science Project (MiSP) proposal in partnership with the New York State Education Department (NYSED), and eight high-need school districts in New York.  Research and evaluation activities will be conducted by the Center for Advanced Study in Education (CASE) at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center. Approximately 6,000 students, 46 middle school mathematics and science teachers, eight principals, and five higher education STEM disciplinary faculty will participate in the Project.

Intellectual Merit. The primary mission of MiSP is to improve middle school student achievement in mathematics. The Project will rigorously develop, implement, and research an innovative and potentially transformative model that infuses mathematics into eighth-grade science education (and has shown promising results in Phase I research). Employing mathematical methods in science instruction would have great benefits both for mathematics and science. For mathematics, it would ensure that students see the mathematics they study actually being used, and would enhance their learning. The infused mathematics would also help transform the primarily descriptive instruction currently used in middle school science into more inferential and analytical instruction, and would therefore inform science understanding. To achieve its mission, MiSP projects the following goals:

1.    Enhance student learning by deepening the mathematics-into-science infusion model.

2.    Enhance the operational features of the infusion model by applying Project criteria to the  
       development of prototypical lessons and to associated professional development.

3.    Implement MiSP in authentic middle school science settings in eight low-performing schools.

4.    Conduct an experimental study of the infusion model that (a) collects evidence of the feasibility of implementing MiSP; (b) assesses Project impact on teacher knowledge, instructional behaviors, and attitudes; (c) assesses Project impact on student attitudes and academic achievement; (d) refines the conceptual and operational features of MiSP; and (e) in general, develops new knowledge regarding contextualizing mathematics in "real world problems."

This Project brings together a diverse group of highly regarded STEM leaders with exceptional credentials, proven teacher enhancement and materials development expertise, NSF project management success, and a history of collaboration. As colleagues, they have collaborated on many projects during the last decade and have together and separately conducted numerous large-scale NSF programs involving thousands of teachers.

Broader Impacts. While the Project model will be implemented and institutionalized in eight low-performing highly minority New York schools, MiSP will inform middle school STEM reform and teacher development across NYS and nationally. The mathematics-into-science infusion model will develop understanding through reiteration of the mathematics that presents the most difficulty to eighth-grade students-notably algebra. Key elements of the model establish a set of transferable Project decision rules that will serve as Project infusion criteria for selecting mathematics curriculum topics amenable to infusion, developing prototypical curricular models and instructional methodologies, and determining professional development emphases. The Project model, prototypical curricula, and research results, as well as a primer for retooling existing science curricula to include mathematics, will be widely disseminated by NYSED and Pearson/Prentice Hall, Inc., a highly regarded commercial publisher with a national STEM presence. Learning opportunities will be sustained by partner districts and NYSED.