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Rationale Edt 446

Rationale Edt 446

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Published by Bethani Scott

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Published by: Bethani Scott on Dec 11, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Mathematics of Rollercoasters
“Most mathematics teachers and literacy teachers believe they live and function inseparate worlds” (Kester 
Phillips, Bardsley, Bach, Gibb-Brown 2009, p.467). This representshow we felt at the beginning of our
 Integrating Literacy Across Content 
course. As the courseprogressed we came to the realization that our views were clouded by our own personalexperiences as students. It is now clear, as we have blossomed into educators, that that there is astrong correlation between the literacy proficiency of a student and their success in math. Notonly is there basic literacy that is needed in mathematics but literacy in mathematical language.A lack in literacy in mathematics can really take a toll on student progress and that is why it is soimportant that current and future educators need to know how to create a sound relationshipbetween the subject of math and literacy. Our Integrated Module Unit aims to bridge math andliteracy. We will further discuss the presence of reading strategies in our module and how thishelps further student understanding of the mathematical content being covered.The necessity of reading in mathematics is crucial for student advancement into higherlevels of mathematics. Without the literacy skills in mathematics a student is likely to suffer
from complete comprehension of the content.
We should not underestimate the importance of our students being able to understand the language and logic of mathematics as captured in mathtextbooks. Without such understanding, advanced mathematics will simply not be accessible
(Lee & Sprately, 2010). Not only do we need to concentrate on the language and logic of mathtextbooks, but any mathematical text. This could include articles, newspapers, websites, etc. Allof these texts need to be comprehendible by the student in order for them to succeed in theircontent knowledge. Math educators should want their students to excel and advance into higherlevel math courses and in order to do so their understanding of mathematical text is essential.
Similarly, according to Hoff (2001)
, “Some students struggle with the basics of reading so muchthat they can‟t pick up such fundamental mathematical skills as dividing fractions or 
manipulating a
lgebraic functions”
(p.1). Therefore, not only is reading necessary for higherlevels of mathematics for those students who excel in the subject, but being able to read is evencrucial for understanding elementary mathematics.The necessity of reading mathematics is crucial for students to understand in contextoutside of the classroom. Students will be faced with real world applications where math is thefocus, hence literacy and a grasp of mathematical language is required. Martinez and Martinezargue that students,
to see mathematics, not as an isolated school subject, but as a lifesubject
an integral part of the greater world, with connections to concepts and knowledge
encountered across the curriculum” (as cited in Metisisto
, 2005). As students encounter mathoutside the classroom the importance of literacy in mathematics becomes evident. Whenindividuals face these applications outside the classroom they are constantly presented in abroader context that demands more than just knowledge of numbers and formulas. They arerequired to understand the mathematical language so that they might be able to effectively accessthe necessary numbers and formulas that might be needed to decipher the solution. Theseapplications are a way in which students create meaning out of the mathematics and make it
relevant to their everyday lives. It is important to note that, “When real
-world applications areused in the mathematics classroom, student interest is piqued and they are motivated
to learn”
(Martin, 2007, p.31).Math in and of itself is complex subject for many individuals to grasp. The symbols,
vocabulary, and syntax are unlike any other seen in the English language. “It is important torealize that mathematics is a „language‟ all its own” (Kester Phillips et al., 2009, p. 468).
This is
one of the main reasons mathematical literacy is critical to implement in the curriculum. EnglishLanguage Learners (ELLs) have complications learning mathematical language due to the factthat
they haven‟t mastered English Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP)
. Itessentially becomes a third language they have to acquire in order to succeed at the academiclevel.
As reinforced in “English Language Learners in Math” math “
can be especiallychallenging because students are faced with learning both mathematics and English at the sametime
” (n.d.)
. Many reading strategies have been put into practice by numerous teachers in themath field. Some of the most common strategies implemented are Think-A-Louds, Think-Pair-Share, Word Meaning Graphic Organizer, Vocabulary Tree, and so on (Daniels & Zemelman,2004, pp. 102-
142). This is not only useful for ELL‟s but for native language speakers as well.
 Seeing as literacy and reading are so vital in the mathematics classroom we haveconstructed an Integrated Module Unit
Mathematics of Roller Coasters, that marries literacy,real world application, and mathematical content. In out module we incorporate three readingstrategies. The first strategy posed is brainstorming. This strategy encourages students to look atkey words from the text and come up with ideas and various associations that directly relate tothat particular word (Daniels & Zemelman, 2004, pp. 104). On the first day of our unit studentsare given a worksheet with five mathematical terms: system of equations, addition method,substitution method, slope, and equations of lines. Students are asked to describe how they think each of these terms relate to amusement parks and roller coasters specifically. After the studentsbrainstorm the class comes together and discusses the meaning of their ideas of each of the termsin relation to amusement parks and roller coasters. Our next reading strategy is presented on thefourth day of the unit. On this day students learn about systems of equations and utilize the ExitSlip reading strategy. Students will be required to write down a question they have after

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