Worth Checking Out: Math Programs Rooted in Applications Find Support from NSF and Schools

Since 1989, the question of what mathematics schools should teach and how has been much influenced by several major documents: the curriculum and evaluation standards issued by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), and several reports by the National Research Council’s Mathematical Sciences Education Board, including Reshaping School Mathematics: A Philosophy and Framework for Curriculum (1990). Generally, these have argued against a traditional “march to calculus” and for a new emphasis on data analysis, problem solving, reasoning, communication, and mathematical modeling of real- world situations. The 1990s have seen a sustained effort to develop new curriculum that would support that view, including many projects funded in part by the National Science Foundation , and a crop of offerings from Education Development Center, the Developmental Studies Center, Terc, and various other nonprofit groups. Those that follow have been suggested by Essential schools.

K-8 Math Curriculum

Investigations in Number, Data, and Space, excellent stand-alone units developed at TERC (tel.:    617-547-0430   617-547-0430 ); Dale Seymour Publications, tel.:    800-872-1100   800-872-1100 (www.aw.com/dsp/).

Cooperative Mathematics Project: Number Power, a set of teacher resource books for grades K?6 each containing three replacement units with 8?10 lessons each. (See sidebar, page 3.) Developmental Studies Center; tel.:  800-666-7270  800-666-7270 or  510-533-0213  510-533-0213 (www.viaweb.com/devstu/numpow.html).

TIMS (Teaching Integrated Math and Science, Math Trailblazers), by Phil Wagreich, University of Illinois at Chicago; Kendall/Hunt Publishing (tel.:  800-542-6657  800-542-6657 ).

Teaching to the Big Ideas, Dale Seymour Publications, tel.:  800-872-1100  800-872-1100 (www.aw.com/dsp/)

The Connected Mathematics Project (grades 6 through 8). A problem-centered curriculum developed at Michigan State University, the University of Maryland, and the University of North Carolina. Key math concepts embedded in applications calling on technology. Summer seminars for teachers. Dale Seymour Publications, tel.:  800-872-1100  800-872-1100 ; http://www.math.msu.edu/cmp/

Middle-school Math through Applications Project (MMAP). Developed by the Institute for Research on Learning at Stanford University, this applications-based curriculum comes with its own software aimed at introducing math concepts in alternative ways. Can be used as replacement units or a whole course. (Web address: http://www.irl.org/mmap/)

High School Math Curriculum

ARISE (Applications/Reform in Secondary Education Mathematics): Modeling Our World uses realistic contemporary problems and themes to draw forth mathematical concepts in a mathematically sophisticated three-year high program (fourth year in development) that can be followed with a year of discrete math, statistics, or one of the new reform-minded calculus courses. Support seminars for teachers. (South-Western Publishers,  1-800-824- 5179  1-800-824- 5179 )

Interactive Mathematics Program (IMP) offers a three-year, problem-driven course of study integrating topics in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and precalculus with the study of statistics and probability, data analysis, and quantitative reasoning. Summer training for teachers. (Key Curriculum Press, tel.:  800-541-2442  800-541-2442 ; or IMP, tel.:  888-628-4467  888-628-4467 , Web address: http://www.mathimp.org/)

Core-Plus Mathematics Project (CPMP). A three-year integrated mathematics curriculum, plus a fourth-year course (in development) for college-bound students. Features strands of algebra and functions, geometry and trigonometry, statistics and probability, and discrete mathematics connected by themes, common topics, and modes of thinking. Support workshops for teachers. (Janson Publications, tel.:  800-322-6284  800-322-6284 ; Web address: www.teleport.com/ ~cgrether/resource/curriculum/connected. html)

On-Line Curriculum Resources

Practical Uses of Math and Science (PUMAS) offers examples to help pre-college teachers enrich their presentation of topics in math and science, as well as comments by participating teachers on how well they have worked. Examples can be searched by difficulty level, grade level, subject, or curriculum benchmarks. (http://pumas. jpl. nasa.gov)

The Math Forum at Swarthmore College is a rich online source of classroom materials, interactive math software, and discourse with other math educators at all levels, including a question-and-answer service. Funded in part by the National Science Foundation. (Tel.:  800-756-7823  800-756-7823 ; http://forum.swarthmore.edu/)

Note: NSF-sponsored math curriculum at all levels is described on the Web site http://www.teleport.com/ ~cgrether/resource/curriculum/nsfmath.html. The Education Development Center also offers upcoming seminars in Atlanta, Boston, the Midwest, and the Southwest at which teachers can learn more about all 13 new NSF-sponsored curricula. (For information, call  800-332-2429  800-332-2429 .)