Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: B.S. Mathematics, M.P.E. Athletic Administration
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: 9-12 Mathematics primarily Precalculus, Algebra, and Geometry
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Master Teaching Fellow
Name of Noyce institution:
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Noyce Master Teaching Fellowship
Current academic or teaching status:
Secondary Math Coordinator, 30 years experience
School and school district:
Lincoln Public Schools
I attended Hutchinson (KS) Community College and received my A.A. degree. I earned a B.S. in Mathematics from Iowa State University where I also studied Athletic Training and earned my certification in athletic training. As a graduate assistant at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, I was responsible for coordinating health care for the freshman football team while earning my master’s degree. After graduation, I taught math at two different high schools and served as an athletic trainer for 27 years at Lincoln High School. I shifted from the role in athletics to an instructional math coach and have worked with teachers in the NebraskaMATH program for the past three years. I am currently working with math teachers in six high schools and four focus programs in Lincoln Public Schools.
Why do you want to teach:
I had developed a love of mathematics and athletic training during high school. Coming from a small rural Kansas high school, I had the same math teacher all four years and loved math. In the 1980s, athletic trainers had to teach in order to get jobs in high school. The two were a natural fit for me. Frequently athletes would bring their math homework into the training room before/after practice and we would set around a treatment table working math problems.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
While recording the video for my PAEMST application, I asked my precalculus students to predict the model of a height of a mass on a spring oscillating up and down above a motion detector after being pulled down 10 cm from its resting point and released. After deciding we needed to know the period of the spring and the height at rest, students collected the data and began working in groups to find the sinusoidal model. Two students got into an intense discussion about whether the spring would go as far above the resting point as it was below the resting point. They debated until I suggested they go up and try it out on their own. During the summary of their discussions and calculations as a group, we came to the determination of the phase shift. One student had provided their answer and an explanation of how they found the value. From the back row, a voice rang out saying “We got the same answer but did it in a completely different way!” After finishing the spring discussion, I moved to a second example. We were headed to an amusement park later in the year and I showed a video of a ride that would spin the rider in a circle and then rotate until the wheel was spinning vertically. After showing them a video of the ride, I provided them the data for the acceleration experienced by a person on the ride. The students engaged in a rich discussion of what the data meant as they modeled the function for the data. Talking about the class with my student teacher, I told him that if I were to have attempted to write a script for the students to follow, I couldn’t have developed the questions and comments that they used in their discussions.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
Noyce is an opportunity for me to develop skills needed in a time of changing curriculum and new assessment requirements. It is also an opportunity to continue to develop leadership skills while mentoring younger teachers and working with veteran teachers as we encounter a changing student population, increased availability of technology in the classroom, and assessments with increased rigor. I am particularly interested in opportunities to make mathematics visual to students. Much of the technology used today is merely a transformation of the chalk board, to white board, to document camera, to a recorded lesson. The content of the lesson hasn’t really changed. I am interested in looking at how we can use the technology to explore high level tasks which engage students in solving real world examples of mathematics. Just as the graphing calculator changed the learning environment of mathematics in the 1990s, I believe the expanding technologies of today provide another opportunity to engage students in the study of mathematics.