INTEGRATION OF MATHEMATICS AND EARTH SCIENCE IN MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL: THE MAESTRO PROGRAM
MAESTRO draws from the Earth Science Literacy Initiative (2009) and is informed by standardized test data in math and Earth science. The project includes two summer professional development workshops, academic year Lesson Study (structured teacher co-observation), and site-based case studies for student involvement. MAESTRO’s integration of math and science builds toward using box models (stocks/flows, sources/sinks, reinforcing/balancing loops, delays/overshoots, and tuning knobs) to examine the interconnections among the geo/atmo/bio/hydrosphere, and demonstrate the positive and negative feedback processes that connect their co-evolution. Site-based case studies, developed in collaboration between teachers and JMU faculty, provide tangible settings in which students can apply and understand mathematical and scientific processes related to evolving Earth systems. Initial results from student questionnaires and teacher focus groups suggest that the students show an increased value for math and Earth science in society and experience transfer between math and science courses. As a high percentage of students in the MAESTRO schools are of low socio-economic status, they are potentially first-generation college students, hopefully considering STEM academic pathways. MAESTRO will drive the development of challenging and engaging instruction designed to draw a larger pool of students into STEM career pathways.