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MathStar Summer Institute benefits middle school math teachers

The MathStar Summer Institute at New Mexico State University will bring together 25 to 30 middle school math teachers from eight schools throughout the state July 9-13 to improve their mathematics teaching skills.


r New Mexico is the New Mexico portion of a $5 million, three-state, five-year federal grant in its second year, funded through the Star Schools Program at the U. S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement. California and Colorado are also participants.

Schools participating in New Mexico are Chaparral Middle School, Clayton Junior High, Des Moines Elementary, Gadsden Middle School, Harrison Middle School in Albuquerque, House Municipal Schools, Lynn Middle School in Las Cruces and Santa Teresa Middle School.

MathStar New Mexico director Karin Wiburg said the Summer Institute will show teachers appropriate use of graphing calculators, how to write better math lessons, how to use computer math programs and spreadsheets and how to use World Wide Web resources, among other things.

"The teachers feel like they're getting a lot out of this," Wiburg said. "After last year's institute, they began using more technology in the classroom and implementing new teaching strategies. We also chat weekly online with the teachers and visit the schools for one-day training sessions about every two months."

Greg Allison, professional development coordinator for MathStar New Mexico's Summer Institute 2000, said math reform in schools is important because the way math is being used in the real world is changing.

"In the world today we do most of our work in groups, we use calculators and computers for computation and communication, and we rely on data and statistics when making decisions. School mathematics is changing so that today's students will be able to work today and in the future," Allison said.

The five major goals of MathStar are the use of advanced technologies, professional development in mathematics and technology, improved student learning, systematic standards-based mathematics reform and replication, evaluation and dissemination.

"One of our goals is to make this program sustainable, so that even after the five years are up, it will continue to be a mathematics professional development program for the state of New Mexico," Wiburg said.

For more information about the MathStar program, visit http://mathstar.nmsu.edu.