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Don’t Quote Me on That: Math Attitude Card Sort

A Carolina Essentials™ Activity

Overview

It has often been said that mathematics is the language of science. Consequently, science teachers also play the role of mathematics teacher. Using mathematics and logic is a Science Practice common to all Advanced Placement® science courses and the NGSS Dimension 1 Practices. Your student’s preconceived notion about their skills can be as large a stumbling block as the lack of skill mastery itself. This short activity helps students identify their applied mathematics fears, strengths, and weaknesses.

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Teacher Notes
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Student Worksheet
Grade & Discipline
9-12

Life Science, Physical Science, Earth and Space Science
Recommended for grades 9-12.

Time Requirements
Prep10-15 min
Activity15-30 min

Teacher Prep time: 10-15 min
Student Activity: 15-30 min

Overview

It has often been said that mathematics is the language of science. Consequently, science teachers also play the role of mathematics teacher. Using mathematics and logic is a Science Practice common to all Advanced Placement® science courses and the NGSS Dimension 1 Practices. Your student’s preconceived notion about their skills can be as large a stumbling block as the lack of skill mastery itself. This short activity helps students identify their applied mathematics fears, strengths, and weaknesses.

Save & Print
Teacher Notes
Save & Print
Student Worksheet

Essential Question

What mathematical skills and fears do students have when applying math to science content?

Activity Objectives

  1. Determine math skills and weaknesses.
  2. Determine attitudes toward applied math.

Next Generation Science Standards* (NGSS)

PE HS-ESS1-4 Use mathematical or computational representations to predict the motion of orbiting objects in the solar system.

Science and Engineering Practices

Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking

  • Students will complete a skills and attitude self- assessment to inform teacher practice.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

DCI: Idea

  • Applies to data analysis in all core ideas.

Crosscutting Concepts

Scale, Proportion, and Quantity

  • Students will identify areas of strength and weakness in applied mathematics.

Procedures

This activity has 42 cards—38 have quotes conveying attitudes about math and science, and 4 require a written response. Have students sort the cards into 2 piles: agree (this is me) and disagree (this is not me). Consider adding a neutral pile (this doesn’t apply to me at all).

After students have sorted the cards, have them compile and summarize the quotes, then describe their attitudes, strengths, and weaknesses. Use the information to tailor your instruction involving math concepts.

Student Procedures

Teacher Preparation and Tips

  1. Student: Sort cards into piles:
    Agree (this is me)
    Disagree (this is not me)
  1. Teacher: You may also use a third category—neutral (this doesn’t apply to me at all).
  1. Compile and summarize the quotes.
  1. Write categories on the board.
  1. Describe math attitudes, strengths, weaknesses, and preconceptions.
  1. Discussion and journaling are ways students can reflect on the card sort results.
  1. Ask students what help they need from you. Ask what type of math instruction works for them.
  1. As a result, try grouping students with varying attitudes/ skills.
  1. Copy and laminate the cards for use with multiple classes.

Analysis and Discussion

Student answers will vary.

  1. My attitude toward using math in science is:

  2. My math strengths are:

  3. My math weaknesses are:

*Next Generation Science Standards® is a registered trademark of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of, and do not endorse, these products.