This week we celebrated a fun mathematical holiday invented by the “Prince of Pi,” physicist and science communicator Larry Shaw. While working at San Francisco’s science museum, the Exploratorium, Shaw made the connection between the mathematical constant (P) and the date in March. The first Pi day was a small celebration, but it grew into an annual public event for the museum. Despite being created in 1988, it wasn’t until 2009 that it was recognized as a national holiday. Pi day is celebrated every year on March 14, because the digits in the date are the first three digits of π (3.14).
The holiday was created to make math more accessible and fun for those who may have had problems in school. People tend to celebrate the holiday by having a pie baking contest where the participants bake pi shaped pies, pie eating contest, pi recitation contest, or eating foods that start with a pi (pineapples, pizza etc.).
Just as Larry Shaw loved to help people realize they were capable of engaging in areas they thought were closed to them, ITEST projects make STEM more accessible to students who think careers in STEM are out of their reach.
An Impact Study to Examine the Efficacy of a Mathematics Professional Development Program for Elementary Teachers
The project will develop and research the impact of an expanded model for mathematics professional development (PD) for elementary second and third grade teachers.
Fly High Your Math and Science Skills
This project will advance efforts of the Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program to better understand and promote practices that increase students' motivations and capacities to pursue careers in fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) by engaging in hands-on field experience, laboratory/project-based entrepreneurship tasks and mentorship experiences.
Predicting STEM Career Choice from Computational Indicators of Student Engagement within Middle School Mathematics Classes
This study by Worcester Polytechnic Institute will ascertain how well "disengagement" of students in mathematics can be determined from math learning software and how well it predicts later outcomes of STEM learning and career advancement.
The CryptoClub: Extending Learning with Student-Generated Tutorials
In existing CryptoClub after school programs, middle school students use mathematics to make and break secret codes. The CryptoClub website has tools for encrypting, messages to crack, treasure hunts and other activities. In this project, the learning in fifteen Crypto Clubs is extended by having the students generate tutorials that explain how they solve mathematics and cryptographic problems. The flexibility of the after school setting provides the opportunity to experiment with content and technology.
Personalizing Mathematics to Maximize Relevance and Skill for Tomorrow's STEM Workforce
This project will advance efforts of the Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program to better understand and promote practices that increase student motivations and capacities to pursue careers in fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) by developing and testing an intervention system to engage students in meaningful STEM problem posing and solving and by providing an on-line tool to assist teachers in guiding the process.
Real World Externships for Teachers of Mathematics and Science
The Real World Externships project provides professional development for 150 mathematics and science teachers in grades 7-12 in Iowa. The teachers participate in externships with local science-based industries for six weeks during the summer. Teachers learn current applications of science and mathematics that they can use to enhance their teaching.
iPuzzle: Transforming Mathematics Learning Through Social Puzzling
The purpose of the iPuzzle project is to develop a model for supporting student engagement in learning mathematics using innovative technologies. Researchers will develop this model by creating and examining an interactive puzzle environment that could be used locally in a single networked classroom or created for the web so that it could be used at multiple schools using different computing devices and platforms. Mixed-methods will be employed in this research and development project to examine the impact of the proposed learning environment on student engagement and learning.
Studying Technology-based Strategies for Enhancing Student Interest in STEM Careers through Algebra Curricula in Grades 5-9
The investigators seek are examining the relationship between specific technology-based motivational activities and grade 5 to 9 student interest in STEM careers through a variety of classroom-based experiences. Students will be exposed to the work of STEM professionals, take a scripted two-day mathematics lesson, solve problems in algebra, and respond to questionnaires immediately after and six months after the experience. The study will vary the technological context of the induction experiences and hold constant the instructional component.
TechMath: Real World Math, Technology, and Business Connections
Seventy math and science teachers and 70 students in northeast NC will work on teams with business partners to apply critical and analytical thinking, information technology skills, and mathematical principals to solve real-world business problems.