Collaborative Research: Promoting Productive Disciplinary Engagement and Learning with Open Problems and "Just-in-Time" Supports in Middle School Mathematics is a proposal for a Level II design-based iterative research project addressing research on the STEM learning environment strand of the EHR Core Research program. This project explores two broad hypotheses about how a new digital environment can improve middle school mathematics education:
1) Overall disciplinary engagement and learning in mathematics from diverse classroom settings is enhanced through the use of open problems with “just-in-time” supports, and
2) The “just-in-time” supports provide a mechanism to attend to the particular needs of students as they collaboratively engage in open problems, while maintaining integrity to the goals of the lesson aand the underlying learning progressions.
Representing a unique collaboration, the team consists of experts in mathematics and science curriculum development, educational research, and technology learning environments. The major goal of the proposed work is to study how use of open problems and “just-in-time” supports in a digital platform can promote an inquiry-based classroom environment where students are engaged in making sense of mathematics.
The project has exceptional potential for broad impact. It will build on problem-based curriculum that evolved from extensive development, field-testing and evaluation, and is among the most widely used and studied in the nation.This allows the project potential to contribute new knowledge about productive disciplinary engagement and learning in coherent and connected learning environments.