Stepping into iSMART: Understanding Science–Mathematics Integration for Middle School Science and Mathematics Teachers

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Abstract

This paper is based on an online graduate program for middle school science and mathematics teachers in Texas titled Integration of Science, Mathematics and Reflective Teaching (iSMART). Launching the program for its first cohort in fall 2010, the authors attempted to answer the following two questions in this paper: (a) How do the members of the iSMART design team and the first cohort of teacher participants define science and mathematics integration with similar and different emphases? and (b) How would these definitions and concerns impact the ongoing design of the program? The iSMART design team members and the participating cohort teachers had a shared view regarding the importance of integration and its possible impact on student motivation. The findings also revealed that the two groups showed some different points of emphasis in their definitions of integration. These issues will be addressed in the ongoing design of the program in the following three areas: (a) design of the second summer meeting activities, (b) greater emphasis on teacher as researcher and action research, and (c) administrative support for teacher collaboration.

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