Science & Math Focus

Science & Math Focus


This document is an addendum to the proposal submitted earlier, with emphasis on mathematics and science education, in particular with regards to African American and Hispanic populations.

Our emphasis on mathematics and science education comprises of three components:

  • Continue training in-service teachers in these disciplines, especially with hands-on, project-based approaches;
  • Expose students from Royal High School (RHS) to these disciplines as well as opportunities for careers in these fields; and
  • Increase the number of pre-service teacher interns in Royal Independent School District (ISD).

Each of these components will be addressed in the following manner.

Teacher Training

The Department of Physics will arrange for and conduct teacher training sessions in science and mathematics in collaboration with the Department of Mathematics, the departments from the Roy G. Perry College of Engineering and the College of Education. Most of this training will be carried out in the Department of Physics, with participation from the other departments in the design of projects. The emphasis will be on the underlying integration between the various disciplines so that the teachers are better prepared to teach the integrated physics and chemistry courses. This activity will also enable the teachers to prepare lesson plans that are more topical and interesting to their students. This training is particularly suitable for those teachers without a strong preparation in physics and mathematics, who constitute the main teaching faculty at RHS. Our contention is that if these teachers are better prepared to approach the mathematics and science subjects, they are more likely to enthuse their students and enhance their retention in these disciplines.

Student Exposure

Each teacher will be given opportunities to involve a selected number of students in the training sessions. However, to impact more students, faculty from the departments of science and mathematics will visit RHS at least once a month to teach and conduct their laboratory sections. Students, in particular African American and Hispanic, will be encouraged to enroll in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate sections of physics, chemistry and mathematics. In addition, students will be exposed to seminars and workshops on career choices, preparation for the various types of careers, etc. These activities should enhance the number of students pursuing science and mathematics disciplines, and hence expand the pipeline of these students entering college and pursuing science and mathematics related careers.

Teacher Interns

Royal ISD is a partnership school as designated by the Regents’ Initiative, the Texas A&M University System, and is already a part of a network of ISDs where pre-service teachers from PVAMU pursue their internships. For this project, these interns will be encouraged to choose RHS as a preferred site for their internships in mathematics and science teaching. This will serve the dual purpose of increasing the number of science and mathematics interns at RHS, as well as providing released time for RHS faculty to acquire training at PVAMU.

The Department of Physics, in addition to offering a rigorous course sequence in physics for physics, engineering, computer science and mathematics majors, also offers a well-defined sequence of courses in Physical Science (see Table I).

Table I – Course Sequence in Physical Science

Physics As A Profession

Physical Science Laboratory

Earth Science Laboratory

Physical Science I

Online Weather Course

Independent Study

Physical Science II

Earth Science

Physics Seminar

Physics of Atmospheric Science

Astronomy and Geology

Physics Internship

 

Senior Research Project

 

The enrollment in the Physical Science courses has been consistently increasing over the past three years. The enrollment in the Earth Science course (PHSC 4013) for instance has increased from 14 in spring 2003 to 35 in spring 2004 to 65 in spring 2005. These courses should provide the pre-service interns with sufficient preparation to continue teaching in the mathematics and science disciplines.

Prairie View A&M University also has a series of summer programs in science, mathematics, engineering and related disciplines (see Table II). Students from RHS will be given opportunities to participate in these programs. An added advantage for these students is that they would have been exposed to these programs during the previous year through seminars and the university faculty and staff conducting these programs will form a mentoring network for these students after the summer programs have ended. This approach should provide a continuous exposure for the students to the various science and mathematics subjects as well as the much needed mentoring support.

Table II – Summer Programs in Science, Mathematics and Engineering at PVAMU

Engineering & Science Concepts Institute (ESCI)

Architectural Concepts Institute (ACI)

Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES)

Summer Mathematics Institute (SMI)

Summer Transportation Institute (STI)

Health Career Opportunities Program (HCOP)

Summary

The activities proposed here are well designed and have proven productive, hence they should yield the expected results for this project. The overriding factor is the improved outcomes in student learning in science and mathematics, especially African American and Hispanic students attending RHS.

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