The G-TEAMS extension, which builds on five years of G-TEAMS activities, is part of a vision for the future of graduate education, in which graduate students routinely engage in K-12 outreach and have the ability to effectively communicate the excitement of mathematical science to the public.
This project took shape during extended discussions with the 2013-14 cohort of G-TEAMS fellows, on possible ways of continuing G-TEAMS activities beyond the period of support from the National Science Foundation. The main objective was to formulate an approach conducive to long term sustainability and institutionalization.
The model that emerged is described below. It provides support for graduate students who spend the equivalent of one day per month in a K-12 school. The potential impact is significant: assuming a teacher teaches 5 classes of 25 students per day, one graduate student working with one teacher can impact more than 100 students every year!
- Elementary school fellows spend a whole day, or two half days in a K-12 environment. They develop and participate in activities that integrate mathematics and science, and that can easily be revisited or supplemented monthly or bimonthly. For instance a project combining biology, measurements, and elementary statistics could consist in planting seeds, measuring the height of the plants throughout the year, and reporting the results in the form of graphs showing the height of each plant as a function of time, as well as the distribution of sizes at a given time.
- Middle school fellows develop lessons and activities focused on specific concepts. Groups of fellows visit different schools and assist teachers with student-centered projects that expand on these concepts.
- High school fellows organize and/or participate in math clubs. They also provide support for capstone projects that go beyond topics developed in standard high school curricula.
- Fellows may also be paired with K-12 mathematics coaches. As content experts, fellows provide invaluable information on how mathematical ideas are connected with one another. They also have the ability to discuss how mathematics is used in advanced courses and in basic and applied research.
- K-12 students develop a broad understading of and appreciation for mathematics and its applications, through regular interactions with mathematical scientists.
- They witness firsthand implementation of the standards of mathematical practice.
- They realize that different mathematical concepts or ideas often need to be combined when solving real-world or abstract problems.
- They view mathematics as a subject that is alive, useful, and very creative.
- They understand how various problem solving techniques, such as intuition, experimentation, analysis, and computation, may be combined to solve non-trivial multi-step questions.
- They learn about the many careers available to Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) professionals.
- K-12 teachers enjoy working with STEM resident experts, who are available to develop special activities or capstone projects, and are willing to discuss research applications of mathematics with their students.
- Graduate students develop skills that are typically not catered to by regular graduate school training, and gain firsthand knowledge of the K-12 world.
- They learn how to communicate with learners whose knowledge of mathematics is far less advanced than theirs.
- They learn how to develop presentations that are tailored to a specific audience, and how to use assessment and feedback to achieve a predefined set of learning outcomes.
- They gain confidence in and reinforce their own knowledge of mathematics as a field of inquiry.
- They develop connections with the K-12 community, as well as the tools to continue outreach activities in the future.
This project relies on a solid network of teacher and school partners, which was formed during the 5 years of existence of the G-TEAMS program. Educational resources assembled for G-TEAMS participants are also available. But most importantly, the G-TEAMS Extension is a program developed for graduate students by graduate students.
- The program relies on the establishing of mentoring relationships between former, current, and future G-TEAMS Extension fellows.
- It also relies on the development of group sessions in which participants, as well as other graduate students interested in K-12 education, rehearse their classroom activities, share ideas, and provide feedback to one another.
We are working on institutionalizing funding for this program. It is expected that, as the G-TEAMS Extension grows and becomes well established, a diverse range of sources of support will become available to participants.
- K-12 mathematics teachers may indicate their interest in collaborating with one or more fellows by filling out a brief online application form. The following information is to be provided.
- Teacher and school information.
- Description and duration of the proposed collaboration.
- Mathematical sciences graduate students at the University of Arizona interested in this program should proceed as follows.
- Consult the list of proposed collaborations to idenfify activities you would like to participate in.
- Fill out the fellow application form. Your outreach plans will need to be approved by your advisor and graduate program chair.
Applications will be reviewed in April and November of each year for activities starting in the following Fall and Spring semesters.
Selected graduate students will receive a $5,000 stipend to participate in the G-TEAMS extension for one year. They should consult with their graduate chair and/or graduate advisor to decide how this funding should be incorporated into their support for that year.
Requests for collaborations that extend over many years, possibly with different fellows, are welcome.
If a fellow is interested in a proposed collaboration, we will ask the applicant for a statement indicating that he/she will host the fellow at his/her school and that the school principal is supportive of the proposed collaboration.
We are very grateful to the following entities for their support.
- College of Science (CoS), University of Arizona: 2 stipends per year for CoS students.
- Graduate College, University of Arizona: 2 stipends per year for GIDP students.
If you would like to contribute to our efforts, please fill out our online donation form and type "G-TEAMS Extension" in the Comments field. Donations will be used toward supporting graduate students, unless indicated otherwise by the donor. Thank you!