Date of Graduation

Spring 2016

Degree

Master of Science in Education in Secondary Education in Mathematics

Department

Mathematics

Committee Chair

Gay Ragan

Keywords

learning, mathematics education, teaching, action research, real-world problems, student attitudes, relevance, engagement

Subject Categories

Science and Mathematics Education

Abstract

With the advances being made in technology, our nation is in dire need of a work force degreed with mathematics and science. In the past few decades, the United States has seen a decline in the proportion of college graduates who majored in mathematics-intensive subjects. If our demand is high, why is our supply decreasing? Research suggests that traditional teaching methods using skills-based curricula make it difficult for students to take an interest in a confusing topic like mathematics in which they see no immediate relevance. I have spent a semester engaged in action research taking steps to increase student engagement in the mathematics classroom by helping them find the relevance to their daily lives. Activities were selected with special attention on including real world problems that address common interests of the students. Analysis of qualitative and quantitative data indicate that that students do prefer activities relevant to their everyday lives to traditional skills-based practice. Through the use of these activities, the students gained academic knowledge and improved their attitudes toward learning and using mathematics.

Copyright

© Cherie Lynn Burkett

Open Access

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