Register Now: TERC's PDI Session at 2011 NSTA National Conference

January 10, 2011



CAMBRIDGE, MA–TERC is hosting one of nine Professional Development Institutes (PDIs) at this year’s National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Conference in San Francisco, California. The all-day institute entitled "Using Mathematical Representations to Talk About, Model, and Explain Scientific Phenomena” will be presented on Wednesday, March 9, by Sally Crissman, Senior Science Educator, and Sue Doubler, Senior Researcher, at TERC. The institute is now open for registration by following the links here.

PDI-1: Using Mathematical Representations to Talk About, Model, and Explain Scientific Phenomena

If reasoning from and about data is such an important part of science learning, why is so little time devoted to it in the classroom? We know that many teachers lack their own strategies for making sense of numbers in a data table; knowing when discrepant data are significant and when they are not; and knowing if there's sufficient evidence to support an argument. This PDI will provide strategies for making the most of opportunities to work with data in the service of deeper understanding of science concepts and scientists' ways of knowing.

Orchestrated so participants move from small-to-full-group work and discussion, this PDI will begin with a short investigation of transformations of matter and continue with data collection and decisions on representation, collation and analysis of group data, and debating claims. This common experience will anchor discussion on the challenges of helping students become proficient working with data and sharing successful techniques and approaches. Participants will work with a variety of data representations such as measure lines, line graphs and change-over-time graphs. With built-in time for participants’ own questions, the following entails some questions 2010 PDI participants raised and discussed:

  • How can I add a data literacy strand to an already crowded science curriculum?
  • What data representations are most important for students' science learning?
  • What does it look like when students use data to develop arguments, models, and theories?
  • How do we help students leverage their work with data in mathematics in their science investigations? 

The PDI is followed by 6 pathway sessions by TERC presenters Nick Haddad, Gilly Puttick, Karen Mutch-Jones, Karen Economopoulos, Andee Rubin, and Bob Coulter of the Missouri Botanical Gardens and Monica Chrambach of the Shady Hill School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.