Mathematics and Science Teaching Center
UNC's Mathematics and Science Teaching (MAST) Center, established in 1987, provides leadership and coordination for projects and programs to improve science and mathematics education at UNC, within Colorado, and nationally. The Center is sponsored by UNC's Biological Sciences, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Earth Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, and Physics Programs. Faculty from sponsoring programs and from the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences participate in Center projects, working in collaboration with K-12 educators, faculty from other higher education institutions, and business/community representatives.
Institute for Chemical Education
National workshops in Chemistry and Physics Fundamentals and Outreach suitable for pre-high school classrooms have been offered for middle-level teachers, as well as Chemistry Can Be Fun day camps for 6th-8th graders. UNC is an ICE Field Center. UNC's ICE program is directed by Prof. James Schreck, Chemistry and Biochemistry Program. (Funded by the National Science Foundation.)
Rocky Mountain Teacher Education Collaborative
UNC, CSU, and MSC-Denver, three associated community colleges, and experienced classroom teachers are working in partnership to improve simultaneously the quality of mathematics and science teaching and learning from middle school through higher education. This five-year project focuses on collaborative redesign of undergraduate mathematics, of inquiry-based, problem-solving approaches coupled with better integration of content andscience, and education courses and field experiences. The program emphasizes the modeling pedagogy. Improved recruitment and retention of under-represented groups in mathematics and science teaching is a central RMTEC goal. Principal Investigators from UNC are Kathy Cochran, College of Education, Jay Hackett, program of Earth Sciences, and Loretta Jones, program of Chemistry and Biochemistry. (Funded in part by the National Science Foundation.)
ChemQuest: Chemistry for the Information Age
ChemQuest, or "Chemistry for the Information Age," is a full year inquiry-based course in high school chemistry organized through a series of learning scenarios that involve students in exploring the nature of matter using scientific methods and state-of-the-art computer software. As an example, students "construct" molecules and crystals on the computer, then predict and verify their properties and environmental consequences. The software presents chemistry concepts in a scaffolded, graded manner with the sufficent element of surprise to keep student attention. The software design allows for such features as a chemistry knowledge database, design studios, problems and excercises, and spatial representation of chemical concepts using 3-D modelling capabilites. The ChemQuest project is directed by Prof. Loretta Jones.
Mathematics and Science Teachers Hotline
The MAST Hotline, operated in collaboration with the Colorado Alliance for Science, is a long-term, core activity of UNC's MAST Ceter. The Hotline maintains a toll-free phone-in service, e-mail, and Web site access for all Colorado and Wyoming K-12 science and mathematics and home-school teachers. Over 8400 teacher questions have been processed in the Hotline's first ten years of operation. The Hotline, thanks to a statewide network of resource personnel, provides teachers prompt ansowers to content and instructional questions and has been a partner with US WEST in providing service to teachers and internet access to the hotline.
An initial goal of the Hotline was to serve rural schools that might be lacking resources more available in larger districts. A recent analysis of Hotline service to teachers showed that urban areas have taken greater advantage of the service than are rural areas, about 8% of teacher questions were received from eastern Colorado that holds approximately 14% of the state's population. Other finding of interest: about 57% of Hotline callers to the Hotline annually asked two or more questions and 10% asked five or more questions, an indication to us of teacher satisfaction.
For further information, visit the MAST Hotline Home Page. (Funded by US WEST, University of Northern Colorado, and Dwight D. Eisenhower Mathematics/Science Education Act-Title II, administered through Colorado Commission on Higher Education and Wyoming program of Education.)