Proposal
Science and Math Education
Ashley Dawkins
As a student interested in a future career in precollege
science and math education, I propose to work with the
Bryn Mawr College Summer Institute for K12 teachers
through the Science Horizon Internship. I plan to help
the Summer Institute achieve their goals of communicating
and sharing with one another about different perspectives
in science and math education. I also hope to gain a
better understanding and share my own personal ideas
of the major themes of this institute. Which include:
the theory and practice of a discoverybased approach
to education
bridging the disciplinary gap between science/mathematics
and other areas of the curriculum
valuing and making use of classroom diversity
acquiring skill in and exploring productive
use of information technology
developing effective collaborations between K12 and
college/university educators (http://serendipstudio.org/local/suminst)
Participating in this Summer Institute will also help
me in terms of my own personal goal of becoming an urban
public school physics and math teacher. Through the
experiences of participating in the dialogues of this
Institute I hope to further educate myself on the issues
in science and math education. I believe science and
math education should be taken seriously and appreciated
by educators. Therefore if educators have a better understanding
and enthusiasm in science and math education, those
feelings have more of a chance of projecting on their
students.
I am currently taking part in the Working Group on
Elementary Science Education where we hope to investigate
different ways of thinking about science education.
Through the Summer Institute for K12 teachers I would
be able to build off of this experience and further
explore education in the world of science and math.
Continuous awareness and participation in science and
math education will help me to develop and become effective
in these areas.
Summary
Science and Math Teaching and
Learning
Ashley M. Dawkins
Mentor: Prof. Paul Grobstein
There are a variety of new educational approaches that
have been developed in order to improve on traditional
ways of teaching and learning science and math. I believe
improving upon the current state of science and math
education is important, and hence, that it is necessary
to inquire into these approaches. To do so, I read about
and gained practical experience related to these new
approaches as well as contributed to them through reflection
on their related pros and cons.
My goals this summer included:
1. Supporting the open ended transactional approach
to science available on Serendip.
2. Update the informational links on Serendip relating
to interactive learning.
3. Create a new resource on math education.
4. Aide and participate in the three Summer Institutes
for K12 teachers that encourage discoverybased learning.
5. Create summaries and evaluations of these Institutes.
6. Read papers and have discussions with my research
partners about issues in science and education.
In the three Summer Institutes I was a participant,
helper and observer. These roles allowed to me to think
about their effectiveness with different mindsets. There
is a link to my critiques and summaries of these Institutes
above in (5). Below, I am highlighting some important
aspects of each Institute by outlining questions and
ideas that arose among the K12 teachers during the
Institutes.
Computer Science Institute (Haverford College)
What is the difference between computing v. computer
science?
We can use computers like a telescope or microscope
in the classroom.
Web 2.0 provides an overload of information.
How are women and minorities being drawn into computer
science?
What does accessible computing look like?
Computer science as a way to develop problem solving
skills.
Brain
and Behavior Institute (Bryn Mawr College)
The traditional scientific method is linear, it’s
necessary to think of it in terms of loops.
Our brains are not simple input/output engines.
Teachers are brain surgeons.
Is disinterest the beginning or the consequence?
Failure is success. It’s a process of getting
it less wrong.
What is the role of the Ifunction?
Skepticism is needed in order to progress.
Science and a Sense of Place Institute (Bryn Mawr College)
Our location in our self, city, state, country, world,
and universe is significant
Understanding our location in these places can create
knowledge of our surroundings.
What does it mean to have guided inquiry based learning?
We can bring neighborhoods closer to the students through
watershed education.
My research partners also read papers weekly and had
discussions based on these papers. Below are links to
all of these papers and discussions and highlights of
these conversations.
Group Discussions:
http://www.serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/583"
http://www.serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/572
http://www.serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/588
http://www.serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/584
http://www.serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/rorty
http://www.serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/brainstories/dobbs
http://www.serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/581
We can work together in order to get it less wrong.
Our own perceptions and experiences will alter the way
we see things.
Acknowledging others’ stories will contribute
to our own.
At the beginning of the summer I wrote a starting paper
that addressed what I felt the strengths and weaknesses
of science and math education were. My experiences this
summer have taught me the following things; I realized
that I still believe that teacher preparation is important,
there are better ways of approaching science and math,
and that students are ultimately accountable for themselves.
Thus creating new more refined questions:
1. What does effective science and math teaching and
learning look like?
2. How can people be reached as individuals in education?
3. What is being done to prevent resistance to science?
4. How can we make students feel comfortable to fail,
explore, and challenge?
5. What has to be done for students to understand constructing
their own understanding is key?
There are many ways of teaching and learning science
and math education. What I plan on exploring this year
is what those ways are and which ones have been more
successful. I am hoping that through this experience
I will be able to create techniques that will help my
future students.
