29th September 16.30-17.30; 30th September 13.00-1400 (details TBA).

Engineering is Elementary

Christine Cunningham – Musem of Science, Boston, USA

The Engineering is Elementary: Engineering and Technology Lessons for Children (EiE) project aims to foster engineering and technological literacy among children. EiE is creating a research-based, standards-driven, and classroom-tested curriculum that integrates engineering and technology concepts and skills with elementary science topics. The EiE team is creating 20 units; each unit reinforces an elementary school science topic while focusing on a specific field of engineering. EiE lessons also connect with mathematics, language arts, and social studies.

A unit, composed of four lessons, includes teacher lesson plans, student worksheets, assessments, and background resources. Units begin with storybooks featuring children from a variety of cultures and backgrounds introduce students to an engineering problem. Students are then challenged to solve a problem similar to that faced by the storybook character. Development of a unit is intensive and includes pilot and field testing. Curricular materials that will occupy 7-9 hours of instruction take about 3000 hours of staff time to create. Collection of research and assessment data from both student and teachers is extensive. Statistical analysis of these data indicates that children who engage with EiE learn engineering, technology, and related science concepts better than a control group. This demonstration will begin by familiarizing the group with the curricular materials—their structure and some findings. Participants will then discuss current design attributes and brainstorm other possibilities that help make the materials inviting to a wide range of students, particularly those who are underserved in science and mathematics.

Mathematical Action/Consequence Documents on TI-Nspire (Texas Instruments)

Tom Dick – Oregon State University, USA

Mathematical ‘Action-Consequence’ interactive documents are essentially learning environments where students interact at the level of the device screen. The design principle guiding the authoring of these documents is the requirement that students be able to immediately take some mathematically meaningful action on an object with an immediately visual (and mathematically meaningful) consequence. There are many Java applets that fit this definition, as well as particular documents authored with software platforms. Our demonstration will be of the TI-Nspire platform, which crosses both computer software as well as a handheld device. TI-Nspire can be used as a mathematical ‘toolkit’ like a graphing calculator or computer algebra system, but it can also serve as an authoring platform for action-consequence documents. We will demonstrate several examples, including those that could be used in algebra, geometry, or calculus instruction.

Specific Mathematics Assessments that Reveal Thinking: Making Formative Assessment Practical.

Kaye Stacey – University of Melbourne, Australia

With Vicki Steinle, Helen Chick, Beth Price and Eugene Gvozdenko, we are creating an internet-delivered set of tests of conceptual understanding, initially for students aged about 11 – 15. A wide range of tests have been constructed and trialled, and the system is being trialled in 3 schools. The key feature is that the intention is to increase teacher’s understanding of student conceptual development as well as provide timely diagnosis which will help teachers match instruction to individual students’ needs. The smart-tests website is

Graph Maker (Grafiekenmaker)

Frans van Galen – Freudenthal Institute, Netherlands

In the project Mathematics education for the information society we are developing a computer tool that is meant to help students to go from an elementary understanding of measurement to understanding sophisticated representations such as line graphs.

At ISDDE 2008 I presented a paper describing the design of this tool. Since then new features have been added and new student activities have been developed.”