Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 1:55 PM


PYLE, Eric J., Department of Geology & Environmental Science, James Madison University, MSC 6903, Harrisonburg, VA 22807, COURTIER, Anna M., Geology & Environmental Science, James Madison University, 800 S. Main Street, MSC 6903, Harrisonburg, VA 22807, FICHTER, Lynn S., Geology and Environmental Science, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA 22807, LUCAS, Stephen, Department of Mathematics & Statistics, James Madison University, MSC 1911, Harrisonburg, VA 22807 and JACKSON, Andy, Harrisonburg High School, Harrisonburg City Public Schools, 1 Court Square, Harrisonburg, VA 22801,

The MAESTRO (Mathematics And Earth Science Teachers’ Resource Organization) partnership between James Madison University and Harrisonburg City and Page County Public Schools is an integrated middle and high school math/Earth science approach to instruction funded by NSF-GEO. Participating teachers include Grade 6 Science and Math teachers and Grade 9 Earth science and Algebra teachers. MAESTRO teachers work in pairs to bring concrete Earth systems-based examples into math classes and grade-appropriate quantification and modeling into Earth science classes, often using similar examples. Integration across grade bands will first strengthen students’ interests and later reinforce the relevance of math and science in support of Earth systems literacy. The result is increased application and confidence in math classes, and increased rigor in Earth science instruction.

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.