Applications/Reform
in Secondary Education (ARISE)
We
have to come to grips with the fact that the math curriculum for grades
9–12 has to work for the average student. This can only be accomplished
by a long, hard, honest look at what "typical" high school graduates
need to know about mathematics in the context of their school, work, effective
citizenship, culture and daily lives. ARISE features a process of curriculum
development that makes a conscious effort to markedly increase the number
of young people engaged in the reform of mathematics education.
We
make the assumption that the typical high school student will be required
to take three years of mathematics, with those intending to go on to college
recommended or required to take a fourth year. Thus, we view the materials
for grades 9–12 as a core curriculum, with grade 12 as a bridge
to collegelevel mathematics.
We
believe that for students whose high school mathematics education ends
at grade 11, it is crucial that they perceive and learn mathematics in
the context of its contemporary use. We intend to introduce concepts as
they are needed in problemsolving situations, rather than present parts
of subdisciplines such as algebra, geometry, data analysis, etc. As a
consequence, we envision the curriculum constructed for a series of units
organized around modeling environments. These units will be structured
so that necessary mathematical development can proceed from one to the
next in a hierarchical rather than independent fashion.
The
units must be designed to foster cooperative learning, be activitiesbased,
encourage students to write across the curriculum, use computers and calculators
in a meaningful way, and provide for portfoliostyle assessment. Most
importantly, it presents mathematics as we hope and intend students to
use it after their school experience.
Mathematical
modeling is the process of looking at a situation, formulating a problem,
finding a mathematical core, working within that core, and coming back
to see what mathematics tells us about the original problem. We do not
know in advance what mathematics to apply. The mathematics we settle on
may be a mix of geometry, algebra, trigonometry, data analysis and probability.
We may need to use computers or graphing calculators, spreadsheets, or
other utilities. The curriculum design will expose students to an important
aspect of mathematics, namely that it is an experimental science. Each
unit will contain student activities and "lab" work using the
full range of available technology.
The end result of this project is the Mathematics: Modeling Our World (MMOW) curriculum. For more information click here.
