Using a popular television show to excite interest in science and mathematics through engineering: Numb3rs for teachers

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Conference Proceeding

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As part of a continuing effort to increase the mathematical and scientific literacy of middle school teachers and their students, the Colorado School of Mines has offered a series of summer workshops. The theme of these workshops is using engineering concepts to excite teachers' and students' interests in the applications of mathematics and physical science. Each workshop is followed by an academic year intervention during which a graduate student visits the middle school classroom and assists the participating teachers in implementing mathematical and scientific experiments. In the summer of 2007, the workshop was based on the television show NUMB3RS, which is well known for its use of mathematics and science to solve criminal cases. As part of the summer workshop, the teachers viewed an episode of NUMB3RS. Then, they learned about the mathematical and scientific concepts discussed in the show and completed hands-on activities that built on these concepts. Multiple choice pre and post tests were administered at the beginning and end of the workshop to measure change in the teachers' mathematical and scientific knowledge. This paper describes the design of the NUMB3RS workshop and outcomes of our assessment efforts. © American Society for Engineering Education, 2008.

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