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Welcome to AlgebraLAB, an online learning environment that focuses on topics and skills from high school mathematics that students must be able to draw upon in their introductory science courses. Since math is the language of science, science courses are often where students first realize “Oh, so this is why we learned that in algebra …”

In many cases students often discover that it is one or more math skills that initially block their ability to understand and internalize new science concepts. In science classes students must learn how to recognize when particular mathematics procedures are applicable so that they can select from their "mathematics toolboxes" the correct methods needed to solve new problems. And to make matters worse, these new problems are often "word problems" that require not only an ultimate solution but an understanding of how to interpret givens, relate cause-and-effect, and set up any initial conditional equations.

We have used successful research-based design models to drive the project’s design and implementation. AlgebraLAB focuses on building the connections between science and the basic mathematics required for its understanding by means of:
  • Lessons on each topic/skill combination
  • StudyAids or “Recipes for Success”
  • Practice pages for each topic/skill combination
  • Hands-on science activities to support the use of mathematics in science
  • Interactive glossary of math and science terms with pronunciation guides, definitions, and examples
  • Career profiles illustrating the connections between math and science in a myriad of occupations.
  • Technical reading passages, word-problem mini-lessons, and interpretations of science graphs that integrate reading and math skills
Follow this link to read our recommendations on how to use the website.

The project was developed during the years 2003-2005 in conjunction with a Florida Department of Education Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) Competitive Grant, a National Council of Teachers of Mathematics' Edward G. Begle Grant for classroom-based research in precollege mathematics, and Volusia County Schools.

Developing integrated math and physical science courses that include topics from Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Statistics, Trigonometry, Physics and Chemistry will enable students to see the practical applications of their mathematics skills and to understand the importance of math in discovering accurate, data-driven scientific conclusions. The online environment is critical because it allows students access to content both at school and at home. It also provides immediate diagnostic assessment to the teacher and feedback to students that reinforces understanding of content or to provide just-in-time remediation of the math skills that may be hindering the student’s learning in science.

The digital XML format used in AlgebraLAB's development allows teachers to organize not only their documents, but the data contained within them (questions, answers, topics, skills, standards, diagrams, lectures). Students that miss questions or realize that they need refreshing on a former topic of study can in real-time initiate queries to find explanations and additional practice problems to re-teach the desired skills.

Through this curriculum project, participating math, science, and reading teachers have effectively incorporated online curricular materials into their lessons, implemented new technology-based teaching strategies, and integrated active-learning environments that allow them to facilitate their students’ learning. In 2003, the following comments were contributed by county and school administrators who were on the grant's advisory committee.
Dr. Nicolene Junkins
Director of K-12 Curriculum and Program Accountability
Volusia County Schools
The curriculum that has been developed for AlgebraLAB will serve as a model of technology integration – particularly their focus on building lessons and practice pages to increase student skills in reading, mathematics, and science. Throughout the project, Mrs. Colwell maintained a strong dialogue with my office, which was in charge of overseeing their progress, as well as district technology and content specialists.

All aspects of the Volusia County Best Practices are incorporated into their plan. They are desiring to improve academic excellence through the development of a comprehensive, relational curriculum; through the involvement of family and community; through an internet approach that facilitates access and equality issued in our diverse student population; through the involvement of high performing instructional staff; and through the professional development of the teachers as they are introduced to new technologies in the delivery of Reading in the Content Area.

As Volusia County looks to the future, AlgebraLAB and LearningXchange, with its conprehensive, district-based standards database, will provide us with dynamic tools for the infusion of technology into the curriculum.
Mrs. Patricia Graham
Mainland High School
At Mainland, we are excited that the AlgebraLAB and LearningXchange projects will empower more teachers to follow in the technology footsteps pioneered by Mrs. Colwell through her online physics program that was initiated during the five years of the USDOE Technology Innovation Challenge Grant, Career Connection to Teaching with Technology. As we transition to our new facility, plans are already in place to partner the physics and mathematics curriculum through AlgebraLAB’s integrated online programming and by scheduling algebra and physics classes in adjoining classrooms. Teachers will be able to team both curriculum and daily activities. Students participating in the program will be able to collaborate in problem-solving and to extend their learning opportunities to any location with Internet access. We are eagerly anticipating a new level of enthusiasm as students are motivated to be more focused and productive as they achieve higher levels of understanding.
Mrs. Cheryl Salerno
Assistant Principal for Curriculum
Mainland High School
Our goal at Mainland High School is to continually improve the access and application of technology in education. By revising the curriculum to incorporate technology standards that address academic instruction, and by providing teachers with initial and sustained staff development that addresses classroom climate and the facilitative role of the teacher, we hope that the integration of technology with education will become as natural to students and teachers as using a chalkboard, whiteboard, or overhead projector.
The Entire Advisory Committee

  Return to STEM Sites AlgebraLAB
Project Manager
   Catharine H. Colwell
Application Programmers
   Jeremy R. Blawn
   Mark Acton
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