Spectrum Logo
A non-profit publication of the Office of the University Relations of Virginia Tech,
including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year

Conference promotes mathematics

By Sally Harris

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 03 - September 7, 1995

A conference on "Restructuring Mathematics and Science in Grades 9-14," designed to share with secondary mathematics and science teachers and college faculty members the results of a V-QUEST grant on Interdisciplinary Science and Mathematics Education Project, was held August 14-15 at the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center.

V-QUEST is an acronym for Virginia Quality Education in Sciences and Technology, a program admistered by the Virginia Department of Education and supported by the National Science Foundation under the state-wide systemic initiative program. One sponsor of the conference was the Dwight D. Eisenhower Mathematics and Science Education Act Program of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, and the project director was C. Wayne Patty, professor of mathematics at Virginia Tech.

The conference focused on hands-on workshops that emphasized six areas of concern: (1) the connection between mathematics and the sciences and among the sciences, (2) the use of technology (particularly the TI-graphics calculator and the Calculator Based Laboratory) as a tool in mathematics and science classes, (3) the new Standards of Learning in Mathematics and Science, (4) an interactive learning mode, (5) collaboration between faculty members across grade levels and disciplines, and (6) issues of equity and access.

The conference was the first of its kind held in the southwestern part of the state and was attended by math and science teachers from every region of the state. It included subjects ranging from "A Virtual Reality K-12 School" to "Making Connections Between Principles of Mathematics and Earth Science."

"We believe that the equity issues and the new standards of learning in mathematics and in science are major components of our work," Patty said. "When the participants take what they learned at the conference back to other teachers and the students at their schools, the results of our V-QUEST project will influence thousands."

One participant told Patty the conference "was by far the best I have had the privilege of working with in many years" and that Patty's "hard work will pave more walkways for our youth than time can count!"

The Interdisciplinary Science and Mathematics Education Project is supported by the New Pre-Service and In-Service Models component of V-QUEST. Project directors are Patty, Susan Eriksson, George Glasson, and Harold Mick, all of Virginia Tech; Ben Zirkle of Virginia Western Community College; and Julie Grady of Blacksburg High School.