ASERA 52 – 2021 Conference


Linking Mathematics and Science Productively

2021 Conference

Russell Tytler1, Peta White1, Melinda Kirk1, Joanne Mulligan2
1Deakin University, 2Macquarie University

The Interdisciplinary Mathematics and Science (IMS) project has developed, trialed and refined learning sequences across years 1-6 that productively link mathematics with science in ways that enhance fundamental learning in each subject. The principles of this interdisciplinary linking include: there is fresh learning of foundational constructs in both subjects; each subject enhances learning in the other; and attention is given to progression of knowledge and skills. A central feature of the sequence design is attention to authentic disciplinary epistemic practices through students inventing, evaluating and refining representations. We will draw on a Grade 2 sequence in paper helicopter flight that involves mathematical constructs of measure, variation, and data modeling, to a). illustrate the interdisciplinary design principles and how they operate to enhance learning, and b). explore the challenges for teachers in implementing such interdisciplinary learning. These challenges relate to: teacher pedagogy, epistemology, and knowledge; the need to flexibly interpret and anticipate curriculum progression; and the lack of support in traditional mathematics curriculum practice for this epistemic vision. We will explore the variation in ways in which the mathematics and science interrelate in the different sequences.

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