Project Profile

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. They will test a series of specific hypotheses relating motivation, self-efficacy, STEM career interest, and mathematics learning to activity assignment. Student induction activities will involve watching career-related videos that provide the context of the to-be-solved problems; assuming the identity of a STEM professional in a multi-user virtual environment (MUVE); or receiving a narrative description of the problem-solving context from the teacher using PowerPoint-like presentation media. Students will be provided opportunities to explore, represent, and analyze real-life situations which involve varying quantities based on a model of how professionals use algebra. They expect students to find such activities more motivating and have longer lasting effects than found in typical instruction.


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Principal Investigator(s)


Award Number
Project Duration
2010 - 2013
Research Study
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Target Gradespan(s)
Elementary school (K-5)
Middle school (6-8)
High school (9-12)
Geographic Location(s)
Project Status
Additional Disciplines
Mathematics - general
Additional Target Participants