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Students’ Engagement with the Science and Engineering Integrated Calculus Tasks

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https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/147441/1/PMENA2017_FinalVersion.pdf
STUDENTS’ ENGAGEMENT WITH THE SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING
INTEGRATED CALCULUS TASKS
Enes Akbuga
Texas State University
enes@txstate.edu
Calculus acts as a filter to the STEM pipeline, which blocks students’ access to
STEM careers (Steen, 1987). Therefore, a strong foundation and understanding of
calculus concepts is an important requirement for all STEM degrees (Young et al., 2011).
Students who are engaged during learning activities, achieve better grades and
educational activities are positively related to academic performance (Kuh et al., 2008).
Schools should provide opportunities to learn about mathematics by working on
problems arising in contexts outside of mathematics (NCTM, 2000). Literature shows
tendency towards integrated science and mathematics education; however, more
empirical research grounded in these theoretical models is clearly needed (Berlin & Lee,
2005). Therefore, this study aims to investigate the following question;
- How students engage with the Science and Engineering Integrated Calculus
Tasks?
The Science and Engineering Integrated Calculus Tasks refers to the calculus
tasks that are science and engineering related in nature. Since this study was a small-scale
study for those tasks, physics and computer science tasks were selected and piloted.
Participants were students who were enrolled to calculus courses at a Southwestern
university in the U.S. Data come from task-based interviews involving the participants
working on the tasks.
Strong evidence showed that the tasks supported the participants in connecting
physics and science to calculus. One participant states that:
It’s to me it’s coming up, its creating and designing a solution to
something that could be a real-world problem and so I think that I think
that adds more to the experience. It certainly gives a lot. Like I feel like I
am doing something I feel like I am not just doing a bunch of math you
know?”
Evidence shows that the tasks were interesting and enjoyable for the participants
and that they felt motivated through this experience. This finding suggests that
interdisciplinary approaches might increase students’ engagement and thus contribute to
positive learning experiences with calculus.
References
Berlin, D. F., & Lee, H. (2005). Integrating Science and Mathematics Education: Historical Analysis.
School Science and Mathematics, 105(1), 15-24.
Kuh, G. D., Cruce, T. M., Shoup, R., Kinzie, J., & Gonyea, R. M. (2008, October). Unmasking the effects
of student engagement on first-year college grades and persistance. The Journal of Higher
Education, 79(5).
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2000). Principles and Standards for School Mathematics.
Reston, VA, United States of America.
Steen, L. (1987). Calculus for a new century: A pump not a filter. Mathematical Association of America,
MAA Notes (8).
Young, C. Y., Georgiopoulos, M., Hagen, S. C., Geiger, C. L., Dagley-Falls, M. A., Islas, A. L., . . .
Bradbury, E. E. (2011). Improving student learning in calculus through applications. International
Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 42, 591-604.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
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  • D F Berlin
  • H Lee
Berlin, D. F., & Lee, H. (2005). Integrating Science and Mathematics Education: Historical Analysis. School Science and Mathematics, 105(1), 15-24.