Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Editor's Corner

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Editor's Corner

Article excerpt

Math-Science Connections


"It is the union of science, mathematics, and technology that forms the scientific endeavor and that makes it so successful."--Science for All Americans (AAAS 1989, p. 1)

Reform movements have long championed aligning mathematics and science education. Over more than three decades, documents like Science for All Americans (AAAS 1989), Benchmarks for Science Literacy (AAAS 1993), and the National Science Education Standards (NRC 1996) have all extolled the potential synergy that can result when science investigations use mathematics.

The new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead States 2013) extend these important math-science connections by identifying crosscutting concepts, scientific and engineering practices, and disciplinary core ideas important to both science and mathematics. Crosscutting concepts--like patterns, scale, proportion and quantity, models, and stability and change, among others--link to both disciplines. Likewise, practices such as developing and using models, analyzing and interpreting data, and using mathematics and computational thinking clearly are important to both mathematicians and scientists.

Mathematical reasoning is essential across the science curriculum. For example, look at how the NGSS high school life science performance expectation dealing with ecosystems (HS-LS2-2) and the disciplinary core idea of interdependent relationships in ecosystems (LS2.A) connect to the practice of using mathematics and computational thinking and the crosscutting concept of scale, proportion, and quantity. This performance expectation requires students to "use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales" (NGSS Lead States 2013, p. …

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