Adriana M. Chávez, For the Sun-News Published 1:04 p.m. MT May 27, 2017 | Updated 1:20 p.m. MT May 27, 2017
LAS CRUCES – During the school year, teachers usually teach their students important lessons in various subjects, including mathematics. This summer, teachers from across the state will be learning from their students instead.
Teachers and students from 24 districts will be participating in MathLab, hosted by New Mexico State University’s Mathematically Connected Communities program, orMC2, which is housed in the College of Education. Sessions will be held in Alamogordo, Las Cruces, Los Lunas and Española. About 275 students entering grades 2, 5 and 8 and Algebra 1 are participating in the program, along with more than 350 teachers and school leaders. The MathLab for grade 8 is new this year.
Elementary, middle and high school students in 11 classrooms across New Mexico will learn how useful math can be, learning lessons from conceptual understanding of place value to quadratic equations. Teachers will also observe students to learn more about how students make sense of and apply math, and share best practices and the impact those lessons have.
“This model offers teachers the opportunity of having students present so they can observe and discuss how the students are really thinking about the math,” said Sara Morales, senior program manager and researcher for the MC2 Professional Development Program.
The first MathLab session will begin June 5 at O’Donnell Hall on the NMSU campus. During morning sessions, students learn from MC2 teacher leaders, while teacher participants observe them via live video stream in adjacent classrooms. Students in second grade will focus on conceptual place value; grade 5 students will learn about fractions and measurement; grade 8 students will study ratios, proportions and rates of change; and the Algebra 1 students will learn conceptual learning of quadratic equations.
In the afternoon, participants from the Animas, Gadsden, Hatch, Truth or Consequences, Wagon Mound, Alamogordo and Clayton school districts and the New Mexico Corrections Department will debrief about the learning environment.
“Participants engage in discussions about best practices and the impact on student learning,” Morales said. “Teachers participate in professional learning based on the same core math concepts that students are learning.”
The MC2 model includes summer professional learning through MC2’s MathLab, Leadership Academies and Math Institute. MC2 also offers onsite and online support that expand opportunities for teachers and administrators to have professional learning support during the school year.
“We customize professional development for partner schools and follow up support content workshops held in fall and spring to provide continuity for summer learning,” said MC2 program director Wanda Bulger-Tamez. “District and school administrators are provided with the opportunity to attend a leadership academy so that they can also participate in this engaged learning experience.”
The MathLab program, now in its fourth year, includes mathematicians from NMSU’s College of Arts and Sciences, MC2 staff, Creative Media Institute faculty, and New Mexico educators, including the Teacher Leader Cadre.
“We will also partner with the STEM Outreach Alliance Research Lab to enrich our research agenda and utilize data for continuous improvement of the project,” Morales said.
MathLab is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and the New Mexico Higher Education Department’s Math-Science Partnership Program. The Las Cruces Families and Youth Inc.’s Summer Food Program is providing students with breakfast and lunch.