North Carolina State University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 1992-2000
ISBN: 978-84-613-5538-9
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-10 March, 2010
Location: Valencia, Spain
This curricular research project has a multifaceted purpose as it was to increase Career and Technical Education’s (CTE) support of traditional academic subjects, further CTE’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) initiative, serve as a companion course to Algebra I, and reinforce Algebra I content for at-risk learners through visual/hands on virtual and physical modeling activities. Virtual modeling activities consist of those that create electronic representations developed using software applications where physical modeling activities implement the use of hand and laboratory tools to construct material representations.

This paper describes the process and method in which a Virtual and Physical Modeling curriculum was developed and pilot tested in two United States secondary schools (grades 9-12) in efforts to academically engage students exhibiting indicators of being at-risk of dropping out of school. The two pilot test schools were asked to select one CTE teacher to implement the pilot curriculum. Working with the guidance counselors at the two schools, students were chosen to participate in the curriculum that did not pass their 8th grade mathematics course but were exited from middle school (grades 6-8). An additional participant selection criteria was that the student be simultaneously enrolled in the pilot curriculum and Algebra I.

Each CTE teacher was paired with an Algebra I teacher from their school to attend a curriculum training together. The two-day training consisted of demonstrating curricular content and activities to the teachers and fielding associated questions. The materials were distributed and the CTE teachers implemented the curriculum with Algebra I teacher support. An end of course test was developed for the virtual and physical modeling curriculum by a separate contracted Algebra I teacher during the pilot test. The end of course test was fashioned after the Algebra I end of course test required by the state of North Carolina. Once the assessment was completed, the project team reviewed it and offered feedback for finalization of the test. At the conclusion of the semester pilot test with the two sites, the virtual and physical modeling end of course test was distributed to the two CTE teachers for them to administer to their class. Students also took the Algebra I end of course assessment since they were simultaneously enrolled, as specified in the selection criteria. The data were collected, compiled, and results were tabulated. The two pilot sites reported student baseline data, Virtual and Physical Modeling semester grades, Virtual and Physical Modeling end of course assessment scores, Algebra I end of course assessment scores, identified achievement levels on the Algebra I end of course assessment scores, and an indication of successful completion or failure of the Algebra I course and end of course assessment.

Curriculum, at-risk, dropout prevention, virtual and physical modeling.