Baylor Project Helps Teachers Tackle 'TAKS' Math Objectives

June 20, 2002

by Lori Scott Fogleman

More than 20 kindergarten through ninth grade math teachers from Midway and Robinson ISDs and First Woodway Christian School are taking part this week in the Baylor University Eisenhower Project -- "Problem Solving for the 21st Century 2002-2003" -- a 17-month-long training project funded by the Texas Higher Education Board Eisenhower Funds.

During this week's training sessions, teachers participate daily in hands-on, engaging mathematics that address content and teaching strategies. Activities include a math trail across the Baylor campus, calculator activities, use of manipulatives (color tiles, base ten blocks, algebra tiles, counters), in-depth discussions and analysis of student learning, experiments, use of motion detectors, integration of children's books, and investigations that involve bubble gum chewing, forensics and Hershey's chocolate.

This is the second Eisenhower Project for Baylor, Tarleton State University and several Central Texas area school districts, which experienced significant achievement in the TAAS math objectives after last year's training. The program provides training in the mathematical concepts of geometry, number relationships and operations, data analysis, algebraic thinking and their applications through a problem solving approach. Math teachers from kindergarten through ninth grade are included to help bridge the transition from elementary to middle grades to high school.

Teachers also learn how to align their math curriculum based on the high standards provided by TAKS, TEKS and the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

The project enables teachers to incorporate problem solving not only in their mathematics classes but also integrate it into other core subjects. With problem solving as the lowest level of mastery on the TAAS for every grade level, project directors hope the teacher training will provide guidance in instruction to meet the needs of all students and raise mastery level of the TAAS mathematics objectives for all students.

Contacts are Dr. Trena Wilkerson, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction at the School of Education and Eisenhower Project director, at 710-6162 (office), 710-3070 (math lab) or 717-4628 (mobile). Other instructors are Dr. Tommy Bryan, senior lecturer in Baylor's department of mathematics, at 710-4080, and Dr. Kathy Smith, a professor in Tarleton State University's department of curriculum and instruction.

Looking for more news from Baylor University?