# Term Paper: Math Curriculum Development

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Math Curriculum

Science and its modes of studies are very much reliant on the mathematical techniques which have been heavily evaluated over the past few years. Numerous studies like the ones conducted by Mike Cass et al. (2003) and Lynn T. Goldsmith and June Mark (1999) have analyzed both the teaching techniques used for mathematics as well as the overall sections that are included in its course. In these studies the common conclusions that were made regarding fundamental knowledge of mathematic formulas and techniques is that these allow the students to develop essentially their primary aptitudes in the subject. Other studies also highlight that by solving the simpler questions through the use of fundamental formulas allows the students to find vague and difficult answer to questions by using merely their own analysis and logic (Cass, Cates, Smith, and Jackson 2003; Goldsmith and Mark 1999).

Margaret Brown et al. (1998) conducted a research where they studied that relevance and association between the faculties of science and math as well as their teaching standards and techniques. The conclusions made were clear in pointing out that the initiation of math's association with science was in the decade of the 1960s when the main focus of most scientists was to figure out a way to reach the moon. The use of mathematical formulas was believed to be one of the most important aspects of this objective of reaching the moon and most students of the time, along with environmental demographics, were taught math so that they could learn to use their common sense in different situations. The most common method of teaching, that Brown and associates defined as practically inapplicable and un-researched and the cause of the loss of interest in the subject was the hierarchical approach of skill-drill-kill technique before actually solving the problem.

The fact of the matter is that the overall academic achievements being recorded in the department of math have been on a declining pattern. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics NTCM (2004) highlighted in their research that the overall teaching of the subject was becoming void in the modern era and the overall effect of that is grievous on the students. The stats shown in the study exhibited that the majority of the high school students were below average math students and that the overall student body in the U.S. were not more then average in math. They demanded that they U.S. government should take steps to rectify this situation because it was leaving the majority of their nation in dire states (NCTM 2004).

The hierarchical approach of skill-drill-kill technique to teach math has not seen much success anywhere out of U.S. either. Douglas H. Clements (1989) carried out researches in UK where he mainly concentrated on the historical records of math abilities in high school graduates and stats showed that most of the students did not have much practical knowledge about math. Furthermore, numerous researches in Europe have also highlighted the need for fresh techniques to teach math and develop interest in the subject (for details, see Anghileri, 2001; Beishuizen, 1999; Buys, 2001; and Bieshuizen, 1999; van den Heuvel-Panhuizen, 2001). A good example of new teaching techniques was shown in the research by Julia Anghileri (2001) where she highlighted some successful techniques being employed in Netherlands that were mainly a hit because they were realistic and truth based approaches to teach math so that the students could see its relevance in real life.

There is no doubt about the fact that the overall techniques that have been employed up until now are not up to the par and that there need to be amendments made so that the results can improve. In the study conducted by Shelley Dole, Bob Wright and Robyn Zevenbergen (2004) there were two very important recommendations made for the alterations that were needed in the teaching of mathematics. Firstly, they highlighted that the topics and their extent should be revised to provoke more intelligent and authentic links of math with other subjects so that the students can use their logic to get more networked learning preparation. They also added that all math techniques should be taught with the help of instances from real life so as to spark the interest of the student. Secondly, they said that the practicality of the subject should be focused on. One of the ways that they suggested this could be done was through assortment of students from different backgrounds working together as one collective unit. They further highlighted that the key for finding practicality in math was the attitude of the teachers and their approach towards inviting the students towards implementing their math formulas and techniques in real life situations. In this study Dole, Wright and Zevenbergen (2004) concluded by stressing on the need for the utilization of solid manipulatives as tests show that the manipulatives help the students understand the concepts more thoroughly and makes teaching a lot simpler for the teachers. Also, they highlighted, that manipulatives were useful tools for teaching math in the current era and even though manipulatives have been around for about 2 centuries, they have only recently received mass acceptance by mathematical researchers in the world.

Clements (1999) is Professor at the University of Buffalo where he teaches early childhood, mathematics, and computer. He conducted a study on the use and affects of solid manipulatives on student comprehension and concluded that most of the teaching techniques especially in math are heavily reliant on the utilization of solid manipulatives for better understanding. Clements explains that it's the solid nature of the manipulatives that makes it easier for the students to understand the tricky theoretical concepts of math.

Thesis Statement

Since, most researchers have produced facts that manipulatives are useful tools for teaching math, we, in this study will evaluate the impact of their use as well as focus on their standard traits and their best use by taking a survey and interviewing pertinent authorities on the subject.

Significance of the study

The importance of this study is the information that it will add to previous knowledge in this area and the understanding that will be generated in relation to the development of math teaching techniques and their necessity in the modern era with respects to the interest of students in the subject. Without knowledge of basic mathematical formulas the understanding of or the ability to find numerical and statistical connections between the normal events society, politics, and economics is diminished for the learner. It is necessary that students are taught to logically separate and link the different math formulas from real life incidents so that they can not only develop interest in the subject but also be able to compare and contrast events and focus at certain connections of the past and present events in mathematical terms. Furthermore, the students being exposed to higher and more intricate technology gadgets will need to know the ins and outs of these in both practical and mathematical terms.

Literature Review

As mentioned before, the theory and use of manipulatives has existed for a long time but under the radar, and it is only in the past decade or two that it has increased in recognition and importance amongst many educational institutions. A research conducted by Matthew Branch (2006) is the most informative source on how and why the use and importance of manipulatives has increased in recent years. He highlights that the "No Child Left Behind" Act as well as numerous yearly government-authorized or government-approved assessments have been the main advocates of the use of manipulatives.

Deborah Loewenberg Ball (1992) has highlighted in her study that another reason for the growth of popularity of manipulatives has been the demand for finding new successful methods of teaching math. Manipulatives and their application in the teaching of math was one of the experimental methods utilized to see if the impact on student comprehension was positive. The end result was that the solid nature of the manipulatives made it easier for the students to learn basic formulas as well as see the connection of those formulas in different circumstances. Ball explains that manipulatives are basically the solid objects that an individual comes across to on a daily basis and since the individual is already familiar with these objects, the overall understanding of their mathematical dynamics becomes easier.

Since, its initiation, the manipulative tools have statistically seen a consistent increase in their use within the classroom settings especially for the teaching of math. One research conducted by Leonard Kennedy and Steve Tipps (1994) explained that the teachers were regularly using the solid manipulative tools to simplify and explain the more complex mathematical formulas to the students. In the same study the researcher explained that the use of solid manipulatives made it easier for the students to identify the connection of math in real life situations like billing. Dala Ramsey Tooke et al. (1992) in their study have also argued that by utilizing manipulatives teachers are easily and more proficiently…
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