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Report: STEM Degrees Rise, but Disparities Remain

The U.S. News and World Report – Claire Hansen

“Despite modest gains in degree attainment in science, technology, engineering and math, women and minorities remain grossly underrepresented in the fields, according to a new report out Wednesday. Women are also less likely to enter STEM occupations after earning a STEM degree as are blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans, according to the report, which was prepared by the RAND corporation and commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute, a trade association with over 625 members in the oil and natural gas field. The report analyzes broad STEM degree attainment and employment trends, and pays specific attention those in the the oil and natural gas sector.”(more)

The Great Gingerbread House Project

Edutopia – Jeannie Curtis

“The weeks leading up to winter break can be a challenging time to keep kids motivated at school. It can feel like you lose precious teaching time because they’re distracted and anxious for the holidays to begin. A weeklong hands-on, cumulative math project may be just what you need to keep them engaged and thinking right up to the break. One project I love to do with fourth graders is the Great Gingerbread House Project, a mix of review and new content. It keeps kids’ minds active until the last day of the school term. The balance of old and new math works because the project is so hands on that students can see connections between previous understanding and new challenges.”(more)

Collaboration to Nowhere? Report Shows U.S. Teens Rank 13th Internationally in Team Problem-Solving — but Only 35th in Math

The 74 Million – Laura Fay

“Despite America’s international reputation for frontier individualism, U.S. teens turn out to be team players on a global scale, scoring well above the international average on a newly published assessment of collaborative skills. U.S. students ranked 13th out of 52 countries on a section that measured “collaborative problem solving” on the Programme for International Student Assessment, known as PISA, in 2015. The results were released last week. Cause for celebration? Not so fast.”(more)

Overcoming ‘Math Anxiety’

Business World – Manan Khurma

“Mathematics is a fundamentally logical and beautiful subject, but one that universally invokes a sense of anxiety and fear in students and adults. However, mathematics is in everything around us and it is more than just a subject, it is an essential life skill.”(more)

Encouraging students to make mistakes to improve math outcomes

Ed Source – Lizzy Hull Barnes

“Nearly two decades ago, international math and science tests revealed mathematics instruction in the United States as an inch deep and a mile wide. Since then, we have grappled with how to get depth over breadth in classrooms. This is confirmed every time I work with teachers or parents, most of whom remember the procedural, answer-based mathematics that they were taught, and the results of that approach. I often hear phrases like: I was really good at math, and then I just didn’t get it anymore; I was never good at math; I was dumb.”(more)

Math skills are essential for scientific learning

The John Hopkins News-Letter – Jonathan Patterson

“We need to talk about math. Now I know that not everyone loves math, and that’s okay. Math can be challenging, abstract, confusing and, for some of us, just painful. A Fields Medal is not in everyone’s future, and that’s fine. However, that shouldn’t stop people from acquiring a decent level of mathematical understanding. Ignorance of mathematics is yet another iteration of the scientific illiteracy that runs throughout our society today, particularly in America. What stands out about mathematical ignorance, though, is just how widespread and accepted it has become.”(more)