Preservice Elementary Teachers' Mathematical Content Knowledge from an Integrated STEM Modelling Activity
Research has shown that preservice elementary teachers are lacking in mathematical content knowledge. However, when activities are properly structured preservice elementary teachers can demonstrate robust content knowledge. This research was undertaken with one class of preservice elementary teachers to demonstrate the conceptual subject matter content knowledge that can be displayed in a well-structured integrated STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics) modelling activity. Integrated STEM education is gaining more attention for its focus on realistic problem solving and quality pedagogy. The integrated STEM modelling activity used in this research was based on five characteristics of effective STEM curricula: (a) realistic contexts, (b) a focus on math and science content, (c) student-centered pedagogies, (d) technology integration, and (e) the use of the engineering design process. The integrated STEM education modelling framework presented here is a useful structure for teaching STEM concepts and giving preservice elementary teachers positive mathematics experiences that may prepare them to better teach math to their future students. In this study the preservice elementary teachers demonstrated developed understanding in symbolic, realistic, language, and concrete representations. However, all groups did not demonstrate understanding of the pictorial representation.
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