William Floyd Middle School science teacher Dr. Luisa McHugh recently co-authored an article published in the September 2017 edition of Science Scope, “Teaching Thermal Energy Concepts in a Middle School Mathematics-Infused Science Curriculum,” which focuses on transforming the traditional science lab by adding relevant mathematics and engineering components to make the lesson multidisciplinary. Science Scope, published by the National Science Teachers Association, is an award-winning, peer-reviewed practitioners’ journal for middle school educators in grades six through eight, university faculty members responsible for teacher preparation and science supervisors and leaders in districts across the nation.
The article provides a model for middle school science teachers to emulate so that they can infuse mathematics into traditional sciences lessons resulting in interdisciplinary learning. “Increased exposure to infused lessons may encourage students to recognize the importance of cross-curricular concepts and build interest in the study of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)-related fields,” according to the article.
“In light of the new New York State Standards in science, it is necessary to teach in an interdisciplinary fashion and use student inquiry to guide lessons,” said Dr. McHugh. “In this way, teachers will prepare students for future state assessments in science as well as increase career and college readiness in the STEM disciplines.”
Co-collaborators on the article include Angela M. Kelly, Associate Director of Science Education at Stony Brook University and M.D. Burghardt, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Co-Director of the Center for STEM Research at Hofstra University.
Dr. McHugh is a New York State Master Teacher – one of five from William Floyd and among only 70 in the Long Island region – and a William Floyd Distinguished Educator. She has published two other peer-reviewed articles – one in School Science and Mathematics, which discussed how integrating math into a science class increased students’ confidence in their math skills and agreement toward the usefulness of math in other subjects; and another in The Journal of Science Teaching Education, which focused on the integration of math in science class resulting in increased aptitude on science assessments.