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Volume 2, 2022

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STEM Education

February 2022 , Volume 2 , Issue 1

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Beyond the compass: Exploring geometric constructions via a circle arc template and a straightedge
Christopher C. Tisdell and David Bee Olmedo
2022, 2(1): 1-36 doi: 10.3934/steme.2022001 +[Abstract](1033) +[HTML](221) +[PDF](2320.8KB)
Abstract:

For thousands of years, the compass-and-straightedge tools have dominated the learning and teaching of geometry. As such, these inherited, long-standing instruments have gained a lustre of naturalized pedagogical value. However, mounting evidence suggests that many learners and teachers struggle to efficiently, effectively and safely use compasses when constructing geometric figures. Compasses are difficult for learners to use, can lead to inaccurate drawings, and can be dangerous. Thus, there is value in reconsidering the role of the compass in the learning and teaching of geometric constructions and to offer better tools as alternatives. The purpose of this work is to address the aforementioned need by proposing an alternative tool to the compass that is safer, more efficient and more effective. We will argue that a circle arc template forms such an alternative tool, and we will illustrate how learners and teachers can add value to their classrooms by using it, in conjunction with a straightedge, to establish the well-known constructions seen in geometry curricula around the world.

Impact of participation in the World Robot Olympiad on K-12 robotics education from the coach's perspective
Yicong Zhang, Yanan Lu, Xianqing Bao and Feng-Kuang Chiang
2022, 2(1): 37-46 doi: 10.3934/steme.2022002 +[Abstract](374) +[HTML](130) +[PDF](466.44KB)
Abstract:

The integration of robotics education with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education has a great potential in future education. In recent years, numerous countries have hosted robotic competitions. This study uses a mixed research method to explore the coaches' views on student participation in the World Robot Olympiad (WRO) by incorporating the questionnaire surveys and interviews conducted at the 2019 WRO finals in Hungary. By quantitative and qualitative analyses, coaches generally agreed that participation in the WRO improved students' STEM learning skills and cultivated their patience and resilience in handling challenging tasks.

Conceptual knowledge in area measurement for primary school students: A systematic review
Hafiz Idrus, Suzieleez Syrene Abdul Rahim and Hutkemri Zulnaidi
2022, 2(1): 47-58 doi: 10.3934/steme.2022003 +[Abstract](310) +[HTML](132) +[PDF](413.11KB)
Abstract:

Discussions about teaching area measurement in primary school have been ongoing over some decades. However, investigations that thoroughly examine the current research on conceptual understanding in area measuring in elementary schools are still lacking. The objective of this paper is to review whether conceptual knowledge in area measurement may support students to obtain better results in primary schools. This study is to gain insight into how conceptual knowledge in area measurement has been portrayed for primary school students, and reveal possible omissions and gaps in the synthesized literature on the subject. To gather information, two databases were used: Scopus and Web of Science. Primary searches pulled up many studies on the subject of investigation. After analyzing abstracts and eliminating duplicates, our systematic review indicates that there seems a direct link between conceptual understanding and area measurement in primary school mathematics. Hence, teaching children the principle of area measurement rather than a procedure for solving problems seems to be the most effective way of improving problem-solving skills and conceptual understanding for primary students.

The New Zealand mathematics curriculum: A critical commentary
Neil Morrow, Elizabeth Rata and Tanya Evans
2022, 2(1): 59-72 doi: 10.3934/steme.2022004 +[Abstract](445) +[HTML](154) +[PDF](476.94KB)
Abstract:

The redesign of national curricula across the Anglophone world since the 1990s is demonstrably shaped by common policy trends. Focusing on the profound and uncritiqued changes that have been implemented in New Zealand education, this paper provides a critical commentary on the characterising features of the current New Zealand mathematics curriculum, describing a context within which mathematics education at schools is severely compromised. Drawing on the evidence available from large-scale international indicators, such as PISA and TIMSS, to benchmark associated curriculum changes implemented by the New Zealand government, we hypothesise that the ongoing decline of student mathematical achievement is the result of four main interdependent features which characterise the New Zealand curriculum. The features are (1) its highly generic non-prescriptive nature, (2) a commitment to teacher autonomy in curriculum knowledge selection, (3) competency-based outcomes approach, and (4) a commitment to localisation in curriculum selection. Recognising socio-political forces and ideological and intellectual ideas associated with those forces, we discuss each characterising feature, in turn, to show how they contribute to and draw from the others to create a 'curriculum without content'. We conclude with explicit recommendations and a call for future studies to establish the extent to which each of these four features contributes to the decline of student achievement.

Streamlining applications of integration by parts in teaching applied calculus
William Guo
2022, 2(1): 73-83 doi: 10.3934/steme.2022005 +[Abstract](240) +[HTML](142) +[PDF](470.47KB)
Abstract:

Integration by parts can be applied in various ways for obtaining solutions for different types of integrations and hence it is taught in all calculus courses in the world. However, the coverage and discourse of various applications of integration by parts in most textbooks, often packed into one section, lack a cohesion of progression for solving different types of integrals. Students may be confused by such incohesive presentation of the method and applications in the textbooks. Based on the author's experiences and practices in teaching applied calculus for undergraduate engineering and education students since 2013, a streamlined approach in teaching integration by parts has been gradually developed to the current state and ready to be shared with the mathematics teaching and learning communities. This streamlined approach allows integration by parts to be applied to solve complicated and integrated problems in a progressive way so that students can improve efficacy in their use of integration by parts gradually. This approach also makes communications easier with students on particular problems involving integration by parts.

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