The HS-level NGSS practices of Analyzing Data (SEP 4) and Using Mathematical and Computational thinking (SEP 5) present a quandary: most HS-level curricula separate math into a rote set of instructional materials like the “stoichiometry unit” or the “forces calculations.” We illustrate a different approach, using OpenSciEd Biology, Chemistry, and Physics units to show how to meet the 3D vision of NGSS and not artificially separating content from mathematical modeling or calculations. By leveraging mathematical thinking contextually and just-in-time, students engage with these practices as sensemaking tools, deepening student understanding of the science and fluency in employing math in novel ways. We explore how complex engagement with these practices is supported in high school courses and discuss how to meet the demands of mathematical thinking in various contexts.
Leveraging data analysis and mathematical thinking in the context of meaningful phenomena and problems like food sovereignty, rather than frontloading rote math “skills,” helps students engage with these practices as sensemaking tools, deepening student understanding of both science and math.
Wayne Wright (NSTA: Arlington, VA), Nicole Vick (Northwestern University), Michael Novak (Northwestern University: Evanston, IL)