More than half of students from low‑income households
$0 still needed
Designing Circuits and Collecting Data Like Engineers
My students need four TI-Inspire calculators to help them collect data using sensors, and to digitally model electrical circuits we are building.
More and more often, students need to be able to relate math to the real world. The calculators I am requesting help algebra students model and collect data from experiments just like engineers do. They can then analyze them to discover the algebraic patterns within the data.
We are an urban school in a medium-sized city in Virginia.
My students are in grades 7 and 8. We have a good mix of races, cultures, and socioeconomic status within our student body. Our city is a first-stop for many refugees coming to the U.S. As a result, our students speak over 20 languages. The parents of my students are involved and interested in their children's education, but often they do not have a lot of education themselves, or do not speak English, which impedes home-school interaction.
My school division is committed to closing the achievement gap, and we've been comparatively successful when looking at surrounding school divisions. We actively search for non-Caucasian students to learn algebra in middle school rather than waiting for high school, and offer these students supports outside of class as needed in order to help them succeed.
This summer, I had an opportunity to work with professors and graduate students at a local university. The professors were building low-power sensors to be used in medical devices. My job was to design learning modules that tied into the goals at the university. Since I am an algebra teacher, I focused on using sensors (rather than building them) and designing circuits, and analyzing the data.
There are many sensors students can use, but they need an advanced calculator to collect the data. My division does not have the calculators, and they have no money with which to buy them.
I attended at TI-Nspire training this summer at my own cost, and acquired one calculator there. I bought one other calculator on EBay, again at my own cost. With the four additional calculators I've requested, I can have my students work in small groups, each with their own calculator. They will have the chance to work with these wonderful tools at an early age to understand the math-science connection.
I was inspired and energized while experiencing the math-engineering/science connection this summer.
What I'm trying to do is unlike anything I've done in my 20 years of middle and high school math teaching. I want my students to be similarly inspired, not only by my class, but also to perhaps pursue more STEM activities in future years. I thank you for your consideration of my project.
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