Making Geometry Accessible

  • Zeidler-Watters, Kimberly (PI)

    Grants and Contracts Details


    During the past year, the Council on Postsecondary (CPE) funded "Making Algebra Accessible" a project that has influenced how over one hundred teachers impact special needs, at-risk, and regular education students in the beginning algebra classroom. As we focused on new ways to teach the concept of linear functions, we began to surface and solve problems relating to content, learning styles, and collaboration models. Much has been learned. Much more needs to be done. Special education teachers and their students have difficulty meeting No Child Left Behind (NCLB) regulations. Not only are these teachers required to be certified in special education, they are also required to be highly qualified in the content areas they are teaching. Special education students consistently lag behind their peers, as disaggregated data for Kentucky Core Content Test (KCCT) show major performance gaps between these subpopulations (Appendix 1). Algebra is one of five content strands included in the Kentucky Core Content, Version 4.0. We propose to now turn our attention to Measurement and Geometry. Geometry is a high school graduation requirement in Kentucky. Using lessons learned in the "Making Algebra Accessible" institutes and with input from the teachers and districts that will be involved if this proposal is funded, we will work with special needs teachers in the areas of content and the research contained in The Van Hiele Model of Thinking in Geometry Among Adolescents (Fuys, Geddes, & Tischler, 1988). The content that we will use as the basic building block will center on the big idea of properties of geometric figures. Specifically, we will examine properties of the figures, including, similarity and congruence, constructions, transformations, and simple proof. We propose to conduct an intensive summer institute for 35 special education teachers of geometry who have already attended last year's "Making Algebra Accessible" Institute and provide on-going follow-up for these teachers and their collaborating teacher. "Making Geometry Accessible" is targeted at 8-12 special education teachers who have responsibility, either individually or collaboratively, for teaching geometry content to students. The project consists of three components to meet these needs: 1) a 5-day institute centered on best practices, including technology, cooperative learning, and inquiry to develop geometry content knowledge as well as pedagogy; 2) on-going mentoring and network of support for the participants through local cadre meetings facilitated by Master Teachers; 3) 2 six hour follow-ups held during the academic day in which participants will receive training in the use of technology to teach geometry content. An external evaluator, Dr. Mike Howard, will assess the project's effectiveness and develop the final evaluation report for CPE. Through a broad partnership led by the Partnership Institute for Mathematics and Science at the University of Kentucky, the institute design and subsequent facilitation will utilize the expertise from the partnership. This partnership involves close collaboration between the University of Kentucky (College of Arts and Sciences and College of Education), the Educational Development Center (EDC), the Appalachian Math and Science Partnership (AMSP), Pikeville College, the UK Partnership for Mathematics and Science Reform, the Appalachian Rural Systemic Initiative (ARSI) Master Teacher Project (Appendix 2 ), and 17 high-needs school districts. Seventy participants comprised of 35 special education teachers and their collaborating regular education teachers across 28 schools and 24 districts have already been identified and have agreed to participate in the institutes if the "Making Geometry Accessible" institutes if the proposal is funded.
    Effective start/end date3/1/066/30/07


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