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Rationale Meredith and I are both teaching separate 8th grade math sections at Feltonville School of Arts &

Sciences. Math seemed to be the natural connection to science, and since Meredith had firsthand knowledge of the 8th grade science classes (from student teaching eighth grade science for the first month), we decided to integrate it into our curriculum unit. The School District of Philadelphia provides a weekly pacing guide and standards for science on Schoolnet and requires the use of the Holt Science & Technology textbook series. The science teachers at Feltonville know the textbook covers all the standards and reference Schoolnet to see which textbook they should teach next. Given that the science teachers indirectly base their science curriculum on the PA state standards, we decided we would include those on our lesson plans, but use the NSTA guidelines to inform our integration of science topics. The central topic that our curriculum unit deals with is the studying and interpretation of data using graphs. This interdisciplinary and student-driven thematic unit on data also focuses on scientific content about natural disasters and the earths crust to present the material in a meaningful way. Despite the mandates that the 8th grade science teachers follow for science education, we have developed our unit to highlight the disciplinary core idea for earth science and the relevant cross cutting concepts and practices outlined in the NSTA conceptual framework for K-12 science education (2012). According to the latter, students finishing eighth grade must be able to understand the predictions that precede natural disasters such as earthquakes and volcanoes. They should also have a basic conception of how mapping and presenting information about these natural phenomena have great implications for how scientists analyze data. In terms of studying the earths crust, NSTA stresses the eighth grade students understanding that the makeup of the earths crust includes minerals (included in our unit) and fossil fuels (what they will learn in the lessons following our unit). One of the most relevant scientific practices to our unit, as outlined by NSTAs framework (2012), is the analysis and interpretation of data which is what our students will study throughout our unit. Evaluating and effectively communicating data is another scientific practice that most of our assessments and class discussions focus on in our curriculum unit. Finally, the two crosscutting concepts that we identified are patterns and the understanding of cause and effect. It is important to encourage students to think of patterns in different ways, and our hope is that with analyzing data, they will see the many patterns that highlight different representations of data. Raising questions from

given patterns of data and identifying potential causes/effects are also crucial for making predictions and inferences across varying scientific and mathematical contexts. Feltonville follows the former Pennsylvania state standards and not the new Common Core standards. When referencing the former PA standards, the curriculum and textbook our classroom mentors use most closely aligns with the 7th grade standards because as our classroom mentors told us, our students are below grade level. Some of our curriculum appears in the 8th grade standards (graphing bivariate data and making predictions), but the 7th grade standards apply to the majority of our curriculum. In our current placement, the PSSAs influence everything that we will eventually teach for the Data Interpretation Unit. In asking our mentors for advice in designing this curriculum, we were told to include the lessons that appear on the exam (i.e., not teach Venn diagrams), combine lessons 9-4 and 9-9 into one lesson, and not have students create graphs since the 8th grade PSSA does not have students creating graphs. After consulting with our students, the textbook from our Math Methods course, and our past teaching experiences, Meredith and I created this curriculum for our two-week takeover. While our mentors suggested combining lessons other than the two we combined, our preassessment of our students showed us that they still remembered how to make stem-and-leaf plots making that lesson a more logical choice to combine with another lesson. In creating this lesson, we wanted one of our enduring understandings to be how data and graphs both help us make sense of the world and how sometimes data and graphs can be misleading. We found that the math textbook for our fall Math Methods course, Math Matters, supports our enduring understanding. According to Chapin and Johnson, while middle school students are involved specifically in data analysis, they at all levels need experience in collecting, displaying, and analyzing data (p. 294). In particular, this paragraph of Chapin and Johnson informed our decision to spend three days covering lessons 9-4 and 9-9: British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli once said, There are lies, damned lies, and statisticians.... By providing students with examples of graphical displays to interpret, analyze, and construct, teachers can become alert to improper or misleading displays of data, whether intended or not. (p. 320) Lastly, drawing on Merediths experience with teaching middle school math in an urban school, in addition to our current knowledge of our students at Feltonville, we realized that having students creating graphs was an area where we needed to spend more time. We identified aspects

of creating graphs such as choosing the correct graph to display data, labeling the axes, choosing appropriate intervals, and actually drawing the graph that middle school students struggle with. As a result, we found it crucial to provide our students with many opportunities to practice creating graphs using both paper and computers. As outlined in Chapin and Johnson (2006), data collection and analysis is a crucial part of what middle school students must practice to get ready for high school (p. 294). With our attempt to meet students where they are academically and developmentally, along with the overarching goals for our integrated unit, we have made accommodations (reflected in our lesson plans) that cater to our students needs. Both groups of students in our classes have varied performance levels ranging from below to above basic as well as a few gifted students. Most of them however are reliant on teachers for answers and validation. The Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) as suggested by Vygotsky (Human Development notes, 8/8/12) presents the difference between what students can do without adult guidance and what they can do on their own. This perfectly relates to what we are aiming to accomplish with our curriculum as we are trying to provide our students with experiences within their ZPD. Of course, this depends on the willingness and flexibility that our students will demonstrate in terms of collaborating with their peers and with us. As a middle school student, graphing was appealing to me mainly because of how I was taught the subject. I remember having a special notebook for graphing which I loved using; my teacher always encouraged us to use colored pencils to label and draw our axes which definitely helped with making the tasks more engaging and exciting. Its a form of art, she once told us; and to this day that quote still lingers in my ear. Making sense of data was also a big part of how I was taught science in middle and especially high school. Most of my science projects involved representing some kind of data to prove my hypotheses, and I remember my science classroom as having a lot of graph posters back in eighth grade. Although the science and math topics that we have chosen to incorporate into our unit are mandated by the school curriculum, they are interesting ones and have great implications for the future of our students. Graphs show various patterns of data, and it is important for students to build the skills necessary to read and accurately interpret data. We live in a data-driven world where so many aspects of our lives depend on communicating information with precision and accuracy. The lessons that I have learned about the importance of accurate data interpretation have continued to benefit my

success as a student while preparing myself for college, graduate school, and job interviews. Their usefulness is embedded in my daily routines as I constantly find myself in situations that call for making some sense of data presented to me either on the internet or on paper. According to Piaget (Human Development notes, 8/8/2012), the formal operational stage of development begins around the age of 12, and our students at Feltonville are in the 13-15 year old range. As children enter this age, they are no longer limited to concrete thinking, but begin to think more abstractly. Abstract thinking and the higher-order reasoning are integral to our unit on data interpretation since beyond calculating the central tendencies and the quartiles, our tasks ask students to assess the implications of the data or judge the appropriateness of the graph. In continuing with the use of Piagets stages of development (Human development notes, 8/8/12), we gave our students a survey asking them: If you could have a third eye, one in addition to the two you have, where would you put it? Why? We surveyed our students and found that 62% wrote back of head/neck, 26% wrote hand, 8% wrote forehead, and 4% wrote something else. While these results provide insight into one aspect of their thinking, they coincide with Piagets stages of development. They show that the majority of the students are beginning their formal operational stage (back of head response). Additionally it tells us that a quarter of the students who answered my hand are capable of high-level abstract thinking and that several of our students who answered my forehead are still operating in the concrete operational stage (Haileybury Psychology Website). These results remind us that most of our students are capable of thinking abstractly about graphs and drawing inferences, but that some of them might need more scaffolding. This research into the developmental stages causes us to wonder if the higher level thinking skills we will teach are related to development more than ability. Feltonville School of Arts and Sciences prides itself on being a true community school with a population of children who live in the Feltonville community (School website). In representing the Feltonville community, the school itself is 62% Latino, 26% African American, 6% Asian, 4.1% Other, and 1% White. This loosely correlates to the demographics of the surrounding community which is 58% Hispanic, 33% Black, 1% Asian, 0% Other, and 7% White (NY Times 2010 Census Map). While the data correctly identifies the large/still growing Hispanic population, the overrepresentation of Asians in the school, and the underrepresentation of Whites in the school, we feel that the Other category is misleading. Using the information available to us, we concluded that 7% of our 8th grade students are Middle-Eastern and that the

Other category misrepresents the growing Middle Eastern population. For parent teacher conferences, both Merediths Spanish and my Arabic language skills were instrumental in communicating with parents. One of the challenges we face in teaching in an environment like the Feltonville school, where the ethnic minorities constitute the dominant culture, is reconciling Ivory-tower views of what school is with what our students and their parents view school as being. After talking with parents and students about improving academic performance, we began to realize that there was a difference in what we perceived to be the roles of the students, parents, and teachers in the education system (everyone working on the same team) and what they perceived the roles to be (student is responsible for most of the learning). Osbournes (2008) discussion of the difference between schooling and education provided valuable insight in planning our curriculum: it helped us reconcile our constructivist beliefs of school with our students more traditional understanding of what urban schooling means. In terms of content, we know that our students have already been exposed to some of the topics that we are covering in math such as the measures of central tendency, Venn diagrams, scatter plots, and line graphs. Not only did our students learn about graphing in math class, but they were exposed to these ideas in the other content areas: social studies (elections), literacy, and the science fair. After working with the students on science fair projects, Meredith realized that making the connections between the data and the representation was still a struggle, and something the science teacher admitted to spending very little time on. Based on this experience and in order to make the learning authentic, we provided an opportunity for the students to analyze and interpret the data they learn about in sciencesomething that does not currently happen in science class because the teacher strictly adheres to teaching only the actual content included in the textbook. For instance, in our Venn Diagrams lesson, we provide an opportunity for the students to collect the data from actual minerals provided by NancyLee; and in our Reading Graphs Critically lesson, we have students create then analyze graphs of volcanic activity. Most of our eighth grade students lack the motivation to engage in the tasks that they are asked to do in math and science class. In our classrooms, students rarely raise their hands to ask questions and due to time constraints, teachers often overlook student misconceptions when progressing through a lesson. Both Meredith and I strongly believe that this is mainly due to the

lack of contextualization when our respective classroom mentors plan math/science lessons. Tomlinson and McTighe (2006) discuss the importance of context in curriculum planning and highlight both student interest and motivation as means to engage them in a particular unit (p. 19). This resonated well with both Meredith and me as we attempted to draw on our students interests and ethnic backgrounds. We engage them in activities such as the classroom data collection (see details in curriculum table) and the mapping activity of natural disasters in Puerto Rico and around the world. The idea of context also ties in well with what we have discussed in our TDL class at Penn about motivation being a measure of success, value, and climate. This supports the premise that students are more likely to be motivated to do the work when the content of lessons has value to them. Our shared philosophy of learning as being a constructive and social process stems from the idea that in order to construct their own meaning, our students must find the material relevant and engaging. We have tried to make the activities engaging by contextualizing them to drive our students interests such as incorporating sports statistics, collecting data relevant to their lives outside of school, and looking at data pertaining to natural disasters in countries they are familiar with. Meredith and I also believe that the use of computers to graph will be engaging for our students, since they spend much of their time outside of school on the computer whether it is to play videogames or type up a paper. It is important to note that many of our eighth grade students are primarily exposed to the traditional method of teaching without being given enough time for inquiry and/or experimentation. Our hope is that the authentic tasks and assessments in our unit will help remind students of prior knowledge and engage them in a purposeful way. Our two-week curriculum relies heavily on the students math textbook and that poses a limitation on how we teach this unit. With a unit this rich in real-world examples, we feel strongly that if our school gave us the opportunity to teach the lesson without any constraints, we would only use the textbook for the workbook pages as homework. Additionally, we would teach the units in a different order from the book allow more time for students to understand and interpret data and statistics (adding on to lesson 9-1), provide more authentic opportunities for the students to use their understanding of data to make real-life decisions.

In our current situation, we have only 10 days to teach 9 lessons. Also, in our own classrooms, we would not only incorporate science into our data curriculum, but we would also include other math standards we need to cover such as adding/ subtracting integers, percent, proportions, and graphing on a coordinate plane, so we could make this unit last 3-4 weeks instead of only two.